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“Don’t ask,” he won’t tell: Sutter Lays Down Law on Injury Talk

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The Battle of Alberta started with some ground rules from the Calgary Flames coach.

Don’t ask about injuries.

Playing coy about his lineup has produced some entertaining quotes through the first round of the NHL playoffs. His lineup was a “very fluid situation that would evolve over the course of the day” when choosing between seven defencemen or 12 forwards. Then he suggested he might play Game 7 himself, telling reporters that “everyone that didn’t skate” was an option, “including myself.”

But as the page turned to Round Two, Sutter made a point of telling the growing field of media members not to bother trying to dig up nuggets about his roster at this time of year.

“Don’t ask about injuries or who’s playing anymore,” announced the Flames bench boss after saying he was “happy to see everybody out there’ when asked about defenceman Chris Tanev. The Calgary Flames defensive backbone missed Game 7 with an undisclosed injury but skated with the group on Tuesday.

“The league should have a policy on it because, during the regular season, you’re day-to-day, you’re on IR for work, or you’re LTIR, which is long-term. So why would that open up during the playoffs?” Sutter continued. “Nobody should have to answer questions. Nobody should have to say it. Why should a coach come up and talk about someone who’s injured? It’s like, it’s not right. That’s like saying, ‘here’s another cookie.’ “

Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft has been enjoying the crumbs. He was asked on Tuesday about the Oilers missing Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Evander Kane at practice ahead of Wednesday’s Game 1.

“The other day I paid attention to the way Darryl had talked about the people who weren’t skating before Game 7 and he put it really eloquently,” Woodcroft replied. “He said that everyone who didn’t skate was available.”

The Oilers coach stopped short of suggesting he might also suit up. But reporters pressed, asking if Woodcroft would offer more details if they could get Sutter to open up.

“Well I like reading the other coach’s comments so I’ll take it under consideration,” he said.

There’s a better chance of Red Deer landing an NHL team.

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