I was reluctant to ask Devils coach Brent Sutter about it again, but after the story in the National Post in Canada made it seem like he might be leaning toward leaving the Devils after this season, I brought it up to him again after today's morning skate.
"That's not the case," Sutter said when I asked him if some people's perception that he might be leaving was true. "I evaluate my situation at the end of each year and I always have. People have asked me, 'Is it hard being away from the hockey team (the Red Deer Rebels)? Is it hard being away from my family?' Yeah, it is. But it was hard last year and if I stay it will be hard next year. What I said is I'm going to re-evaluate at the end of the year, which I did last year and which I've done since 1999. That's how I approach it.
"I coach year to year and then evaluate my situation on the coaching side of it and evaluate my situation on the family side of it and decisions will be made at that point. Until then, there's nothing to talk about."
Sutter said that his approach of evaluating after every season is something general manager Lou Lamoriello knew about when he hired him. And the feelings that come with being far away from his family, obviously, are not something that took him by surprise.
"Lou knew this going in, that's the way I am," Sutter said. "Lou knows it and the organization knows it. That's the way I've been since 99 as a coach. I said the same thing when people asked me last year. Yes, I miss my family. I miss my 16-year-old daughter. I missed her last year and I'll miss her if I come back next year. Do I miss the ranch? Yes, I do. Do I miss the hockey team? Yeah, I do. I have employees back there. Burt I knew that going in.
"I knew that, but (the story) got started and it's taken on a life of its own now."
Sutter admits his situation is diffferent than other NHL coaches.
"I'm 2,800 miles away from my family, I'm 2,800 miles away from two busineses and I own a major junior hockey team that's a big business and have employees back there," Sutter said. "But to sit there and say, all the sudden he's home sick and he's leaving, I've never said that,"