Darryl Sutter was already destined for the Hockey Hall of Fame. But the Calgary Flames win over the Colorado Avalanche bumped him higher up that list.
Thursday’s 5-3 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champs was Sutter’s 700th in the regular season. It put the 64-year-old bench boss in a tie for 10th spot. But sharing the spotlight with former Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock will be fleeting. The Flames play their first of three regular-season Battle of Alberta games on Saturday in Edmonton, then host eight matchups at home before their first extended road trip in November.
Frequently short with words, Sutter clams up even more when asked about individual achievements. But when asked about whether or not he finds meaning in hitting 700, he offered a tiny nugget.
“Yep. It means a lot,” he said. “Means I coached four good teams.”
Immediately after his playing career ended with the Chicago Blackhawks, his coaching roles began. He started as an assistant coach with the Blackhawks in 1987-88 but took a head coaching spot with the Saginaw Hawks in the International Hockey League the next season. The one after that, he coached the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice to a league championship. It was back to the NHL for good then. He was associate coach with the Blackhawks for two years under Iron Mike Keenan before graduating to the Hawks’ top spot on the bench.
From there, he coached the San Jose Sharks to the playoffs in five straight seasons. He guided the Calgary Flames from perennial disappointment to the Cup final in 2004 and a Pacific Division title in 2006. Then he hoisted two Stanley Cups in seven years with the Los Angeles Kings (2011-2017).
In his second stint with the Flames, Sutter is intent on another trip to the Cup final. Last season, he hit the single-season 50-win milestone for the first time. He also earned the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. Another first. But perhaps not the last, either. He signed up for two more seasons after this one.
Next on the list of those within reach is Peter Laviolette at 717. Although the current coach of the Washington Capitals is going to win his fair share with Alex Ovechkin and company this season. Sutter should pass the inactive Alain Vigneault (722).