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Sutter and son enjoy last time as coach and player in Super Series

NHL.com @NHL

RED DEER, Alta. (CP) - Brandon Sutter has only two games left in which he can turn around and see his father standing behind his bench.

After two seasons together with the Western Hockey League's Red Deer Rebels and this current eight-game Super Series between Canada and Russia, Sutter and son are about to part ways as coach and player.

The eight-game Super Series concludes with games Friday in Red Deer (10 p.m. ET) and Sunday in Vancouver (8 p.m. ET).

Canada has won all six games so far, which puts Brent Sutter's coaching record with the country's junior team at 18-0. He coached Canada to back-to-back world junior championships in 2005 and 2006.

Next week, Brent heads to New Jersey, where he is the new head coach of the Devils, and 18-year-old Brandon will attend his first NHL camp.

The Carolina Hurricanes will give their first-round draft pick (11th overall) a long look and if he is returned to the Rebels, it will be Brandon's uncle Brian, a former NHL coach himself, behind Red Deer's bench.

So that's it for Brent coaching his own kid - at least until the Devils make a trade with the Hurricanes for Brandon, who chuckled at the idea.

"Obviously I'm perfect with Carolina, but this is kind of nice, the last hurrah for him to coach me," he said.

Brandon is a first-line centre on the Canadian team, an excellent two-way forward and penalty killer who has played a major role in holding Russia to just three power-play goals on almost 50 chances for a measly six per cent success rate.

The six-foot-three, 170-pound forward scored a short-handed goal and has two assists in the series. He's a warrior at both ends of the ice, which isn't surprising given that his father played the same way during his 17-year NHL career and has passed that work ethic on to his son.

It's not in the Sutters' nature to be sentimental about going their separate ways after this series, but Brent acknowledged the chance to coach your own son on a national team is rare.

"For him to be able to play for his country and myself being able to coach the team, that is pretty unique," Brent said. "Anytime that a dad gets to coach his son at a high level is special and I'm not going to deny that.

"Yet, Brandon and I are very businesslike. We've learned that through the process here in Red Deer and that's the way we need to treat it. He's a player and I'm the coach."

A father coaching his son doesn't always work as it's difficult not to take criticism personally coming from a coach who is also your parent.

But it has worked for Brandon as he was smart enough to see he had one of the best coaches in junior hockey.

"Sometimes it's a little different, but I just try and look at it like he's my coach and when I go home, there's nothing personal about it," Brandon said. "I think I handled it pretty well and he's a pretty good coach for me."

Brent and Brandon were able to maintain professional distance in Red Deer as Brandon stayed with a billet family in the city about a half hour's drive from their family farm.

"I just felt like another player on the team and even though he was my dad, he was just my coach at the rink," he said.

Brent agreed to coach this Canadian junior team a month before the players were chosen for it and says he had no say in which players were chosen.

Jim Hammett, Hockey Canada's head scout at the time, made that call with input from the coaching staff of the Canadian team for the 2008 world junior championship.

"I stayed out of the selection process of the team simply because of Brandon's situation," Brent explained.

Brent will remain the owner of the Rebels franchise he bought in 1999 and took to a Memorial Cup title in just his second season of owning, managing and coaching it.

A sellout of 7,000 is expected Friday at the Enmax Centrium to see him off to the NHL.

"It'll certainly be a different night than it's been the last seven years," Sutter said. "This means the world to me, this franchise.

"I purchased it in 1999 and everything I had to my name I put down on the franchise. I wasn't one of those players who made millions of dollars like these players make now in the NHL. Yet, I believed in it and the community here and that Central Alberta would support it if it was done right."

Jerry Van Someren, the team's vice-president of business operations, will serve as governor and Randy Peterson will handle day-to-day hockey operations in Brent's absence.

Brandon expects a seamless coaching transition from his father to his uncle Brian.

"He'll be awesome. He coached for a long time in the NHL and he's had success there, so I think he's the perfect fit for our hockey team," Brandon said.

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