Tag: general managers on the hot seat


Are people asking for the wrong Sutter brother to be fired in Calgary?

The way things are going for the Flames, it’s tougher to find a reason for optimism in Calgary than it is to find a beaming smile on a Sutter brother’s face.

Yet when it comes to the typical need to find a scapegoat, it seems like media members are focusing on the wrong unsmiling countenance. While rumors fly that Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter might be shown the door, the truth is that his brother (general manager Darryl Sutter) is the architect of the shambling wreck that is this franchise’s roster.

Looking at the Flames roster, it’s tough to be chipper about any outlook – long or short term. In the present, the team is stocked with high-priced players who are getting long in the tooth (from aging captain Jarome Iginla to floating mass Olli Jokinen). The short and long-term future isn’t much better, as they’re low on prospects and only own one draft choice in the top 100 spots this year.

When you spend the kind of money Calgary does on a roster that sits at the bottom of the Western Conference, it’s reasonable to wonder what kind of job the coach is doing. Yet, when it comes down to it, George Johnson of the Calgary Herald is right in resting most of the blame on Darryl instead of Brent Sutter.

Should they be better? Given the geriatric makeup, yes. Somewhat. Is that partly Brent Sutter’s fault? Of course. He’ll admit as much.

Yet it’s utterly astonishing how many times this requires repeating: The downfall is in construction, not coaching.

They’re old, expensive, set in their ways. One pick in the Top 100 this draft year. Outside of Mikael Backlund, their top “young” players are 27 (Mark Giordano, Jay Bouwmeester), 29 (Rene Bourque) and soon-to-be 29 (David Moss). Yessiree, now THERE’s a boy band that’ll top the charts!

Geez, people, roll out of bed and sniff the dark roast already.

Yet the ground is littered with casualties (the unfortunate Jim Playfair, the not-so-unfortunate Mike Keenan, assorted assistants — it’s always, apparently, a coaching deficiency) and Darryl Sutter still stands defiant, apparently as bulletproof as Eliot Ness’ flak jacket. Why? How?

There is plenty of value in ownership showing some loyalty and patience. After all, there’s enough randomness in sports that an “off” season can happen. Yet it seems like the Flames organization is stubborn in its support of Darryl alone.

It doesn’t take long to notice that the team is not structured to succeed much past the next few seasons. And considering their current results, the present isn’t much prettier than the future.

So, the question is: do you think that Brent, Darryl or both Sutter brothers should go? Personally, I think that the awkward familial connection means that they’re a package deal. Brent’s in a tough spot, but it would be strange to seem him work with a different GM. So perhaps it’s all or nothing, then?

Personally speaking, I would clean house and probably see what kind of value the team could get for Iginla and some of the other team’s older assets. At some point, someone with clear eyes will need to come forward and assess the clear reality of the situation: this is a team that should be in rebuild mode.

Darryl Sutter doesn’t seem like he’s that man.

Poll results: PHT readers think that Brian Burke and Ron Wilson should be fired

Dion Phaneuf, Ron Wilson, Brian Burke

Coming off the Toronto Maple Leafs’ embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers – and considering the widespread hand wringing that ensued – it seemed like a good time to ask if Brian Burke and/or Ron Wilson should get canned on Friday.

Similarly enough, tonight seems like a solid one to publish the results. After all, Burke and Wilson’s Leafs are currently playing the Boston Bruins (the game is tied 1-1 after the first period as of this writing), one of the teams associated with Burke’s biggest moves.

(In case you need a refresher, Burke gambled big on a trade with Boston for Phil Kessel in a deal that included highly valuable draft picks, most notably one that gave them the chance to select Tyler Seguin.)

Honestly, this seems like a situation in which a volatile, please-the-masses firing would do more harm than good. Aside from the expiring contract of fledgling backup J.S. Giguere, Burke locked the Leafs into Kessel and Dion Phaneuf being their big money guys. Cleaning house would be a difficult thing right now and would simply hit the “Reset” button on a rebuilding process that’s gone on since (at least) the lockout.

Now, don’t get me wrong; that’s not my way of saying that either Burke or Wilson is excelling at their jobs. It just seems like they Leafs would be better off sticking with an ugly marriage rather than dealing with a crippling divorce.

Enough of my thoughts, though, let’s take a look at who PHT readers would fire if they were in charge.

(click to enlarge)

As you can see from the poll, an overwhelming majority (46.2 percent or 73 of 158 votes) believe that both Burke and Wilson should be fired. The next largest group of readers wanted Wilson to go (42 votes or 26.58 percent) while almost as many readers voted for neither (36 votes or 22.78 percent). A remarkably scant amount of voters thought that Burke should be the only one to go (7 votes or 4.43 percent), although then again, it is difficult to imagine Burke going and Wilson staying.

Again, contextually, I think it’s a bad time for a house cleaning with the ownership situation in the air and very little flexibility to make big moves before next summer. If it were based on job performance alone, though, it would be pretty hard to argue that either Burke or Wilson deserve to keep their jobs.

(At least in a league in which firings are extremely commonplace outside of Buffalo and Nashville.)