Connect with us


Kadri Downplays Rumblings of Rift With Flames Coach Sutter

Nazem Kadri has had his ice time cut. Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said he has to earn it back. Both played down a reported rift between coach and players.



Darryl Sutter says Nazem Kadri's ice time is the only communication tool he needs, while the Calgary Flames centre suggested his relationship with the bench boss was "fine."

Amid speculation that Kadri was one of potentially many members of a disappointing Flames squad who isn't very happy with Sutter's locker-room approach, the free-agent signing admitted it hasn't been smooth sailing all season but also alluded there is much less to the story than all the attention it's received from the outside. 

A report from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman suggested things "boiled over" last weekend, when Kadri suited up for 12 or 13 minutes in three straight games because of a lengthy stretch of subpar performances. 

“It’s been fine. Obviously throughout an 82-game season, you’re going to have rough patches," Kadri told reporters at the Saddledome on Thursday ahead of the Calgary Flames' divisional game against the Vegas Golden Knights. "Not everything’s going to go your way though eight months of playing. It’s about how you bounce back and how you fight that adversity. 

"That’s something I’ve been pretty good at in my career."

With just two goals in his last 24 outings and 16 straight without a score, he'll need that bounce back soon for the Flames to keep their slim NHL playoff hopes alive. The coach says look at the minutes if you want to know how he feels about Kadri's performance. 

“The only thing a coach has got on a player now is ice time,” Sutter said, clearly aware of the scrutiny over his own performance in recent weeks. “So anybody who talks about that shouldn’t be talking about the coaches, or a deep analysis, they should be looking at the performance of the player. It’s very simple.”

Asked if it's up to the player to figure out what he has to do to get his trust back, Sutter quickly agreed.

“One hundred percent," Sutter said. "Especially if it’s a veteran player."

Kadri is certainly that. And having played in Toronto Maple Leafs system, he's used to the intensity of the media. 

“Honestly, it’s just about winning the next game,” he said, changing the subject. “That’s what we’ve got to focus on. 

"I think there’s a lot of speculation that happens in Canadian markets. That’s understandable. For us, these games are huge and this is really all that matters.”