The 2022-23 season was a drama-filled one for the Calgary Flames.
Despite having Stanley Cup aspirations heading into the season, the Flames fell short of even making the playoffs. A number of players were also reportedly butting heads with now-former head coach Darryl Sutter. Among those said to be displeased with Sutter’s coaching style were Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, and it appears another name can be added to that list.
In an interview with the Missin’ Curfew podcast, Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar was asked about his bench boss from this past season. The 29-year-old admitted that a coaching change was needed, and gave an interesting answer when asked if there were any players in particular that were at odds with Sutter.
“I would say [Mikael] Backlund, he would get it pretty good,” Weegar said when asked if there were any players Sutter tended to single out. “But Backlund, he would fight back for sure. He would have a couple f*ck you matches.”
While it sounds like Sutter and Backlund may not have seen eye to eye throughout the season, the tough-love approach may have benefitted the veteran forward, as he had a career year with 56 points in 82 games. The two have a lengthy history, as Sutter was serving as Calgary’s general manager when the organization selected Backlund with the 24th overall pick in the 2007 draft.
Weegar, who joined the Flames from the Florida Panthers during the 2022 offseason, made it clear that he was in favour of a coaching change.
“Personally, I’ll be the first one to say that I thought we also needed a coaching change,” Weegar said. “I’m excited to see what happens in the future here.”
Clearly, it was time for a change in Calgary, and the players appear to have gotten their wish. Despite what was a very disappointing 2022-23 season, this Flames roster remains very talented and could be in store for a big 2023-24 campaign with a new voice behind the bench.