For Brian Sutter, Saturday night's game against the Calgary Flames, his second game as the Blackhawks' coach, was a bummer of a business trip and not a sentimental journey.
The 4-0 loss came in his home province of Alberta and against the team that fired him after the 1999-2000 season, but he wasn't fired up more for this game than any other.
NHL. "Once the game starts you don't really care.
"There's no significance in this game other than this is where the Lord put me on earth. This is home."
Following a scoreless first period, the game was lost during the first two minutes of the second period when Craig Conroy scored on a deflection and Dave Lowry knocked a power-play rebound shot past Hawks goaltender Jocelyn Thibault.
"We let down for about three minutes and that was the hockey game," said Steve Sullivan. "They did a great job in the neutral zone and they were able to get some traffic in front of the net."
It was the second shutout in as many games for Roman Turek, the goaltender Calgary acquired in a summer trade with St. Louis. Turek faced 23 shots, two fewer than Thibault.
After the Hawks fell behind by two goals, they tried to rally in the middle period. Sullivan and Mark Bell had excellent short-range scoring chances, but their shots were wide.
In the third period, goals by Marc Savard and Craig Berube gave Turek a cushion.
"They played well," said Sutter. "They did more little things than we did. They got the puck on the net and they went to the net. They scored three goals like that.
"Turek was good. Give him credit."
Sutter received an indifferent reception from the partisan crowd of 14,038 in the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"Honest to goodness, if there were 50,000 people there I couldn't have heard it," he said. "I was involved in the game."
After the Flames' former president, Ron Bremmer, fired Sutter at the end of his third season with the team, the unemployed coach did what he does every summer. He went back to work on his farm outside Sylvan Lake, about 90 minutes from Calgary.
During that summer Flames general manager Craig Button had serious discussions with Sutter about going back to work behind the Calgary bench. But the Flames' owners had reservations about bringing back the coach who'd just been fired, so Sutter's summer job on the farm became his year-around vocation.
"I'm pulling for them," Sutter said of his former club, "but not when they play us."
Saturday's game also was a homecoming for Phil Housley, the 37-year-old defenseman who scored two goals for the Hawks in Thursday's season opener after being picked up from Calgary in the waiver draft a week ago.
Captions: PHOTO: Hawks goalie Jocelyn Thibault tries to see around a screen by the Flames' Dave Lowry. AP photo by Jeff McIntosh.
FLAMES 4, BLACKHAWKS 0
Sutter loses `home' game
Alberta native watches Turek post 2nd shutout
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