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Look for Brian Sutter to coach Calgary King could move to Maple Leafs


It's only speculation, but don't bet against this daily double.

The best guess is Brian Sutter will end up coaching the Calgary Flames not far from the family homestead in Viking, Alberta, and Dave King will be named coach in Toronto where Cliff Fletcher can tutor him to succeed him as the next Maple Leafs general manager in a few years.

Flames general manager Doug Risebrough returns tomorrow from the World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and has scheduled a meeting later this week with Sutter, whom St. Louis fired after losing this year to the Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sutter's intensity and character is just what the Flames need at the moment after that organization failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the fledgling years in Atlanta in the early 1970s. Risebrough also is considering King, for years the Canadian national team coach, and Guy Charron for the position.

But sources in Calgary say Charron was turned off at a recent meeting with Risebrough. He took over behind the bench mid-season in 1991-92 when Risebrough, under fire, moved from the coaching hot seat into his general manager's role. But Charron apparently now is being told his only chance to get the job is if everybody else turns it down. That's not likely.

Why does it seem more likely King will accept the Toronto job over Calgary? Risebrough is a 38-year-old just starting out at GM. While Leafs GM Fletcher is 56 and probably would settle for a president's position in a few years, giving King the added responsibility he wants as the club's general manager.

If King isn't hired in Toronto, they say Leafs assistant Mike Murphy is the logical choice to follow fired coach Tom Watt. Murphy coached Vancouver's minor-league club in Milwaukee two years ago.


Lack of vision: How do NHL writers choose the best defenseman the NHL? Easy. Look at their offensive statistics.

If you think thats a strange way to do it, you're not alone. Hawks coach Mike Keenan would like to see either the criteria altered for the Norris Trophy or the selectors changed.

The three nominees for best defenseman this season were Ranger Brian Leetch, Winnipeg Jet Phil Housley and Boston Bruin Ray Bourque. They finished 1-2-3 in most points scored by defensemen. Everyone expects Leetch to win, primarily because he topped the trio with 102 points and played on the best team in the regular season.

Keenan's contention is Chris Chelios should be one of the three nominees and perhaps the winner. Why? Because defensively he belongs there. In fact, Keenan argues Chelios could be the best defensive defenseman in the NHL. But that isn't statistically supportable, so some writers opt to go strictly on goals and assists.

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