Darryl Sutter: Canada’s newest oil sands ambassador

Tease the day: The coach of the LA Kings is determined to raise Keystone XL on a visit to the White House
Nick Taylor-Vaisey
Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter watches his team during NHL hockey practice in El Segundo, Calif., Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. The Kings host the Chicago Blackhawks in the season opener on Saturday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/AP

Darryl Sutter is probably as qualified as anyone else to play western Canadian diplomat on a trip to the White House. Sutter was born in Viking, Alta., a town of 1,000 souls about a 90-minute drive southeast of Edmonton—and still owns a ranch in the area. He was born into an eventual hockey dynasty of a family, as one of six brothers who would go on to play in the NHL. Sutter never won a Stanley Cup a player, but his stats were respectable. And, after coaching the Calgary Flames to the Cup final in a losing cause in 2004, Sutter guided the Los Angeles Kings on their championship run last spring. He embodies that hard-working, determined western spirit.

Now, Sutter’s off to the White House, The Globe and Mail reports, where U.S. President Barack Obama will entertain the Kings. And you’d better believe that Sutter, a supporter of Canada’s oil sands, will stick up for the Keystone XL pipeline. He told reporters that, even if it’s a short conversation between him and the president, Obama will hear some pipeline advocacy. “I’m gonna ask him about it,” said Sutter. “Damn rights I am.”

The lack of subtlety in that declaration, married with its blue-collar determination, is just about perfect.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with new anti-corruption rules governing the biggest roadwork contract in Quebec’s history. The National Post fronts the “horrible” conditions on the MV Sun Sea, the ship carrying Sri Lankan migrants to Canada in 2010. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Mayor Rob Ford’s apparent problems with alcohol abuse. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Ottawa Hospital’s many challenges to reduce C. difficile infection rates. iPolitics fronts NDP MP Paul Dewar’s effort to legislate “conflict minerals” out of Canadian products. leads with the U.S. Supreme Court’s examination of same-sex marriage this week. National Newswatch showcases the Star‘s story about Ford.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Free trade. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told an audience in Hong Kong that Canada is close to signing a free-trade deal with South Korea, an agreement that worries auto makers.2. Rae negotiates. The conflict-of-interest commissioner cleared Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae to negotiate on behalf of aboriginals when his term as party chief expires.
3. Charbonneau. A former party official with Union Montréal made fresh accusations that Bernard Trépanier kept millions of dollars in illegal political donations for himself.4. Nova Scotia. The legislature in Halifax will open for what will likely be the final time before the province heads to the polls and the NDP government hopes to win a new term.