Darryl Sutter returns to Flames with ‘unfinished business’

Darryl Sutter will officially begin his second stint as head coach of the Calgary Flames early next week and the veteran wants this tenure to be different from last.

"For me, it's unfinished business," Sutter said during media availability on Friday, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.

Following a 7-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night, Geoff Ward was fired as head coach. Sutter, 62, was immediately named successor.

While it's Sutter's job, the bench boss will have to go through protocol and will not be eligible to coach until practice on Tuesday, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Assistant coach Ryan Huska will run the bench this weekend against the Edmonton Oilers and Senators.

Sutter originally became head coach of the Flames in the midst of the 2002-03 campaign. The next year, while also acting as the team's general manager, he helped lead the club to a Stanley Cup Final, which they lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After the lockout the following season, Sutter's Flames won the Northwest Division with a 46-25-11 record but ultimately lost in the opening round of the playoffs. Sutter stepped down as head coach at the end of the campaign, citing difficulties handling both roles.

From 2002-06, Sutter managed the Flames to a 107-73 record with 15 ties and 15 overtime losses. Since then, Sutter head coached the Los Angeles Kings from 2011-17, winning two Stanley Cups and boasting a 225-147-53 record.

The Flames are currently fifth in the North Division with an 11-11-2 record and minus-7 goal differential.

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Report: Sabres GM ‘aggressively’ trying to make trade

Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams wants to make a deal to improve his lackluster club.

"Adams is trying. He's working aggressively looking for a trade," TSN's Darren Dreger said Friday on WGR 550. "He's looking to upgrade in every possible scenario, it's just like every other (general) manager that's struggled."

Dreger added that while Adams is extensively working the phones seeking a move, that effort isn't leading to any serious discussions.

"Lots of conversations, but really no substance to the conversations for a myriad of reasons," Dreger said.

One hurdle to any trade is the quarantine players would potentially be required to enter upon switching squads. There are also restrictions prohibiting non-essential travel at the border between Canada and the United States.

The Sabres were expected to take a step forward in 2021 after Adams signed prized free agent Taylor Hall to a one-year contract and acquired veteran center Eric Staal in a trade with the Minnesota Wild during the offseason. However, Buffalo has struggled mightily this campaign, ranking third-last in the NHL in points percentage while going 6-12-3 through 21 games.

Last month, the Sabres were forced to remain idle for two weeks amid a COVID-19 outbreak that followed two games against the New Jersey Devils, who had just experienced their own outbreak.

Nevertheless, several key Buffalo players have underachieved in 2021. Captain Jack Eichel has produced only two goals in 19 games, despite amassing a team-high 14 assists. Hall has collected only two markers in 21 contests. And Jeff Skinner, who carries a $9-million cap hit through 2026-27, has managed just one point (an assist) in 18 games, and he's repeatedly been a healthy scratch.

Making matters worse, Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark - who had played well this season considering how poorly the club is performing - will be out for a month after suffering an injury last week.

Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs since 2011 when it lost in the first round for the second straight season.

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Seabrook ends 15-year career due to injury

Brent Seabrook can no longer play as a result of injuries he sustained throughout his career, the longtime Chicago Blackhawks defenseman announced Friday.

"After several surgeries, countless hours of rehab, and training to get back on the ice at the level of my expectations, it will not be possible for me to continue playing hockey," Seabrook said in a statement. "This is what is best for me and my family."

Seabrook has a long-term issue with his right hip, team physician Dr. Michael Terry confirmed.

The 35-year-old played his entire 15-year career with the Blackhawks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013, and 2015. He ranks third on the franchise's all-time games played list behind the legendary Stan Mikita and current Chicago blue-liner Duncan Keith.

Seabrook was unable to play a single game in 2021 as he attempted to recover from surgery to both hips and his right shoulder. He underwent those procedures over a three-month span from December 2019 to February 2020, and couldn't return to play for the Blackhawks upon the NHL's resumption of the 2019-20 season over the summer.

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said last month that the team was "very concerned" for Seabrook. The GM effusively praised the now-former rearguard Friday, stating the Blackhawks wouldn't have won the three aforementioned titles without him while calling him one of the best players the team has ever had.

"Brent embodied all the qualities of a true leader," Bowman added. "Serving as an alternate captain, Brent's presence was consistently felt in the locker room. He embraced the role of mentor to young players, taking them under his wing and making them feel important. His voice was a constant in the room and he brought so much more than just his on-ice skills."

Seabrook collected 103 goals and 361 assists in 1,114 regular-season games, adding 20 markers and 39 helpers across 123 playoff contests. He scored three postseason overtime winners, including the one that eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference semifinals and the one that gave the Blackhawks a 6-5 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Seabrook also succeeded internationally, helping Canada win gold at both the 2010 Olympics and the World Junior Championship in 2005. Chicago drafted Seabrook 14th overall in 2003.

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Flames fire Ward, hire Darryl Sutter as new head coach

The Calgary Flames fired head coach Geoff Ward and hired former Flames bench boss Darryl Sutter as his replacement, the team announced following Thursday's 7-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Calgary replaced former bench boss Bill Peters with Ward in November 2019 on an interim basis. He led the club to a 24-15-3 record last season before being made permanent head coach in September.

The Flames struggled to carry over that momentum to this season, however and have won three of their last nine games while ranking 23rd overall with 2.71 goals for per game.

Sutter served as Flames head coach from 2002-2006 and led the club to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004. He last coached in the NHL with Los Angeles in 2016-17 and won a pair of Cups with the Kings.

Ward is the second head coach to be fired this season. The Montreal Canadiens dismissed Claude Julien on Feb. 24.

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Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky died Thursday at the age of 82 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and other health issues, his son Wayne announced.

"For me, he was the reason I fell in love with the game of hockey. He inspired me to be the best I could be not just in the game of hockey, but in life," Gretzky tweeted. "We will miss him so much, but know that he's back with our Mom and that brings me and my family peace."

Walter was born in 1938 in Canning, Ontario. He showed a keen interest in hockey from a young age, but his smaller size never allowed him to progress beyond the junior level. He eventually became an installer and repairman for Bell Canada for 34 years.

Wayne consistently credited Walter's coaching and support in the early years of his life as the foundation that enabled him to become the game's greatest player of all time. Walter was often referred to as Canada's hockey dad.

"He taught me the basics of life as far as schooling, as far as how I treated people," Wayne said in a 1996 interview with CBC-TV. "I don't think there's any question in my mind I wouldn't be playing professional hockey if it wasn't for him."

Walter was a major contributor to minor hockey in Canada and multiple charities throughout his life and was named to the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest honors, in 2007 for his work and dedication.

Walter's wife of 45 years, Phyllis, died in 2005 after a battle with lung cancer. He is survived by his children Wayne, Kim, Keith, Glen, and Brent, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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Hockey world remembers Walter Gretzky

Walter Gretzky, the father of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, passed away Thursday at the age of 82. The hockey world came together following the news to share their condolences and memories of Canada's No. 1 hockey dad.

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Canes’ Pesce avoids suspension for dangerous trip on Red Wings’ Fabbri

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce was fined $5,000 for a dangerous trip on Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri during Thursday's contest, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced.

Pesce, 26, was assessed a two-minute minor for tripping on the play, while Fabbri avoided injury.

The 6-foot-4 blue-liner had never received supplemental discipline over 371 prior NHL games.

Pesce has contributed three goals and 13 points over 18 games this season while ranking second on the Hurricanes in blocked shots (28) and third in average ice time (22:32).

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