Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter responded on Friday to a tweet posted by Allan Walsh, the agent of Jonathan Huberdeau, calling out the team’s culture.
“Social media and what anyone says doesn’t affect a locker room ever,” Sutter told reporters on Friday. “When you’ve got a tight group, you keep it tight.”
Huberdeau also told reporters that he had no involvement in his agent’s decision to criticize the team.
“I wouldn’t be here right now, talking to you guys,” Huberdeau said when asked if he wished his agent hadn’t made those comments. “I’d be on my way home.”
Teammate Jacob Markstrom also shrugged off the comments, calling them “irrelevant.”
“The guys don’t really care.”
Walsh was critical of the ‘negativity’ surrounding the team following the Flames’ 5-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” he wrote. “Also, negativity sucks the joy right out of players.”
The tweet came after the Flames dropped to 1-2-2 in five games following the all-star break and 25-19-11 on the season. With 61 points, the Flames are tied with the Wild for the final wild-card spot in the West but Minnesota holds the tiebreaker by having a game in hand.
The Flames acquired Huberdeau — who tied for second in league-scoring last season with 115 points — in a blockbuster trade that sent Matthew Tkachuk back to the Florida Panthers. But while Tkachuk has found his footing with his new team, leading the Panthers in scoring with 75 points, Huberdeau has not had the same success in Calgary — netting only 10 goals and 36 points in 52 games.
Before the season, the Flames signed Huberdeau to the richest contract in franchise history, an eight-year, $84-million pact that begins next season. So while frustrations may be boiling over now, the two sides have no choice but to try to find a way through their struggles.