February 03 2010 09:49AM
"Ignorance is bliss" and "What you don't know won't hurt you" -- ah yes, the foundation on which every successful National Hockey League franchise is built.
At least, that's what ex-Flame Olli Jokinen would have you believe and, if you believe Jokinen, it's also what Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter says he believes. Amidst all the babbling following the Finnish centreman's dispatch to the New York Rangers, Jokinen asserted that media reports about the swap, which broke 24 hours before what would be Jokinen's and Brandon Prust's swan songs in Flames colours, cost the team two points.
So if we're getting this right, it's not the fact someone involved in negotiations spilled the beans or that Jokinen and Prust were put in the unusual situation of playing one last lame-duck game for Calgary before riding off into the sunset that was detrimental to the team, it's the fact media outlets found out about the holding-pattern deal and reported it that actually did the Flames in.
That's quite a broadsword the media machine wields then because Monday's applesauce-weak performance against the Flyers was one for the ages. Maybe the hub-bub also had a retroactive effect on the Flames' nine defeats in the previous 10 outings as well?
It would be too easy to ask if all the discussion about the swap was too much of a distraction, why not insert Mikael Backlund and Brian McGrattan in Monday's lineup rather than Jokinen and Prust?
Or heck, maybe we've got this all wrong. Maybe Sunday night's disrupting reports were completely off-base in reality but so good in theory that Sutter and Glen Sather both agreed they should go ahead and make the deal exactly as fictionalized in the media.
But let's assume what Jokinen said is true -- that the media's piranha-like feeding on the matter paralyzed the Flames into a poor performance and two lost points against Philadelphia. Do we have any volunteers to calculate how many past and future points the Flames lost by committing more than five million dollars, premium ice-time, Matthew Lombardi and a first-round pick for a player who scored 11 goals in his final 69 games for Calgary, was minus-5 and won less than half of his faceoffs?