Darryl Sutter was tough as a player. He played for more than 400 games and was known for his high work ethic and aggressive and tough play style. Sutter was forced to retire at age 28, but he brought his attitude onto the bench. Sutter has built a reputation for being one of the most honest and toughest coaches in the NHL, and he always speaks his mind, no matter the subject.
When Sutter feels something is wrong, he says so, and it’s been several occasions where he publicly has slammed his own players. Sutter has roasted Matthew Tkachuk more than once this season after his move to the Florida Panthers, and this weekend showed another example of how harsh he can be.
Young Jakob Pelletier, just 21 years of age, played his first-ever NHL game Saturday for the Calgary Flames. After the game, many were curious about the young man, and especially what his coach, Darryl Sutter, thought of his performance. But Sutter didn’t seem very interested in talking about it. When he was asked about it, he said, ”Jakob Pelletier? What number is he?”
Although the city of Calgary was thrilled that a former first-round draft pick (29th overall) had made his first very shifts in the big league, Sutter didn’t even seem to have noticed he was playing. And the criticism against Sutter on social media has been harsh.
”A lot of respect for everything Darryl Sutter has accomplished in his coaching career BUT this is not one of his finer moments,” wrote Marinaro on Saturday. “Lack of respect for his player. His reply is unacceptable. Come on man!!!” Said Montreal radio host Tony Marinaro.
”Honestly, Darryl Sutter should be embarrassed about how he handled the post-game question asking for his thoughts on how Jakob Pelletier played in his debut. For a coach that values veterans, leadership, and the maturity of older players, it was an unnecessarily immature moment,” said journalist Darren Haynes, who covers the Flames for The Canadian Press.
Darren Haynes also points out that Sutter for sure knew what he was doing.
”Oh it was a shot at the media, for sure. But come on. He got his win. So with Pelletier’s family in the building, tons of supporters back in Quebec cheering him on, just take the softball question and give the kid a public tap on the back for all of them to cherish, then move on,” he said.