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Sutter can be hazardous to team's health

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  • Sutter can be hazardous to team's health

    Sutter can be hazardous to team's health

    By Barry Rozner

    A hockey coach has a few beers in a bar, sees some of his players walking by and invites them in.

    Players and coaches know never to do this.

    Players, specifically, never walk into a bar where a coach has been sitting for a while. There's a strict separation of church and state, and the two sides don't need to know what the other is doing or saying.

    But on this night, Sunday night, Brian Sutter asked some players in, mostly because he wanted to corner one player: Tyler Arnason.

    What he really wanted was to fight Arnason, for Arnason to take the bait, so that Sutter could beat him senseless.

    And he probably would have. Sutter is not a guy you would have wanted to fight when he was 25, and you won't when he's 65.

    He still wakes up with the fire that made him one of the most admired and, at the same time, despised players of all time.

    He did more with less talent than just about any player in NHL history.

    And that's what makes him hate Arnason, because Arnason can't deliver that fire to his game. Of course, no player can, which is why Arnason, and nearly every one of his teammates, hates Sutter.

    He beats on his players and abuses them, and it works for only a few months before the players despise their coach, the game and coming to the rink.

    Right now, there are young players on the Hawks who want to quit, be traded or sent to the East Angola League. Anything, rather than spend another day with this nonsense.

    Of course, Sutter has denied he put his arm up under Arnason's chin, shoved him against a wall and cocked his other fist, ready to put a hole through Arnason's skull if Arnason fought back.

    But Arnason wouldn't take the bait.

    He knows his career would absolutely be in jeopardy if he struck his coach, and his time in Chicago would be done.

    And when you get traded because you tried to beat up your coach, good luck getting another team to ever take you seriously.

    Sutter will deny it all, despite the fact that two others witnessed it and that no less than six people were there and know what happened.

    And he will probably force Arnason to do the same, threatening him and terrorizing him until the kid does what the coach wants.

    Sorry, but you can't play hockey when you're petrified, and most of these kids on any given night are afraid for their own well being. Think maybe that's why they're so inconsistent, looking like all-stars one night and so lost the next?

    And don't fall for the notion that this is just Bobby Knight on skates. Even Knight, like him or not, teaches the game and teaches his players something about life.

    Sutter does neither.

    Even Mike Keenan, like him or not, teaches the game and gets the most he can from his players.

    Sutter does neither.

    He does not understand that this is not war. You can't dehumanize and torture grown men, hoping to break them down and build them back up to be trained killers.

    Sutter merely breaks them down. He has no idea how to build them back up.

    I love the old school as much as anyone. I watched guys do sideboards until they threw up. I loved Brian Sutter the player. And I understand his frustration with today's athlete.

    Problem is, it's not 1980, and no player today is going to play the game the way Sutter did.

    He can't accept that and so he treats players worse than you would ever treat a dog. Even a dog won't love you, trust you, care for you or respect you if you beat it, bully it and torture it.

    It might give you what you want for a short period of time without any emotion, like a four-legged robot, but eventually it will turn on you.

    That's why Sutter had only one good year in St. Louis before getting fired, one good year in Boston before getting fired, no good years in Calgary and one here in Chicago.

    But, of course, the Hawks think this is just fine. There's nothing wrong with Sutter's tactics, and today we'll find Sutter and the gang denying even the existence of Nashville, Tenn., on the map.

    Of the Arnason incident, Bob Pulford said, "It's like something that could happen sitting around the dinner table.''

    That must be some fun dinner table at the Pulford home.

    This is how Pulford wants young players to be treated? And he thinks free agents are going to want to come play here, when the GM thinks Sutter's actions are perfectly respectable and well-suited for the dinner table?

    This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened with Arnason, and he is not the only player suffering this sort of abuse, now or in the past.

    Why do you think Sutter got run out of St. Louis, where he was a god as a player and had a 105-point season as a coach? Ask Rod Brind'Amour sometime what he thinks of Sutter.

    Or ask the guys in Boston, where Sutter was fired 18 months after a 109-point season.

    Sutter will find the same fate here. It's always that way, because the only other option is to trade the roster.

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  • #2
    Sutter: players don't go for that crap anymore...this isn't like it was in your day....

    See ya Brian...

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy


    • #3
      Originally posted by steveInebriated@Mar 7 2004, 12:14 PM
      Even Mike Keenan, like him or not, teaches the game and gets the most he can from his players.

      He lost me on this one.

      "go get the puck" is hardly teaching the game.
      "You're my wife Margene, you can't be seeing the girl I'm dating." - Big Love


      • #4
        Guess we know where the nickname "Sudsy" originated...
        " Look, forget the myths the media's created about the White House--the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand."


        • #5
          Hated his dump and chase philosophy, but I loved his attitude.. Media hated him too, especially Kevin Slaten, which is one reason I probably liked Sudsy.. I'm just partial to him because I had just moved back from Columbus and boom we have thre 105 point season.. I enjoyed hockey in the nineties... Boring now...
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          "Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom. But I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control, and it didn't have any inherent wisdom.." --- Joe Strummer

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          • #6
            I idolized Sutter when he was a player, but that dude's got some issues.
            RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
            You'll never be forgotten.