July 28 2009 03:43PM
Lately, it seems like Darryl Sutter is the smartest man in hockey. It doesn't appear as though he's made a bad deal since before the draft, and it's led many, like Tony Gallagher, to wonder how fair that is and/or how he can actually pull off these criminally brilliant deals again and again, and again and again and again.
Just have a gander at the Flames transaction list this summer. Ho hum, millions of dollars in bad contracts out, only a few hundred thousand dollars worth of marginally bad contracts in. The most sought-after free agent defenseman of the last few years wants to sign up so badly he doesn't even hit the market, no biggie. Ripping off several teams for high-quality prospects in exchange for albatross contracts via the trade market, whatever. Getting rid of a terrible coach and then just a few weeks later picking up another that will, it seems, help the team immensely, yawn.
Things come alarmingly easily to Sutter of late and some people — the latest being Maple Leafs fans — want to know why.
I have my theories.
First and most obvious: Darryl Sutter has compromising photos of high-ranking executives at the NHL and NHLPA, who in turn apply pressure on those in a position to help the Flames to do so. Why else do you think Jay Bouwmeester never even tested the market? Paul Kelly was on the horn with him, urging him to take whatever Sutter wanted, within seconds of being faxed a photo similar to this:
But that's just one theory. Darryl Sutter could also be some sort of James Bond supervillain, which would explain the Jim Vandermeer and Wayne Primeau trades. How could Don Maloney refuse such a trade offer while being slowly lowered into a vat of lava teeming with genetically engineered heat-resistant wolf-fish? Or how could Brian Burke not part with Anton Stralman when threatened with a dose of a special drug designed to make him shut up for once?
Perhaps his ranch is actually the island from Lost and, as such, Sutter can basically bend time and space to his malicious will. Is it any coincidence that all six of The Numbers (4 - Jay Bouwmeester; 8 - Staffan Kronwall; 15 - Nigel Dawes; 16 - Dustin Boyd; 23 - Eric Nystrom; and 42 - Brett Sutter) have been filled, many by signings from this offseason? Certainly it portends that Boyd's signing is imminent. And also that Craig Conroy is probably in control of the smoke monster.
"WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!"
Or maybe he really is just unbelievably good at his job. But that theory isn't nearly as fun as the others.