(In response to our over-serious Ian White mock arbitration, the net’s most acerbic Flames fans over at Domebeers have presented Flamesnation with their version of a Sutter/White negotiation session – ed.)
Ian White enters Darryl Sutter’s office. There is very little light in the room, as the curtains are pulled tightly shut. Darryl Sutter’s head is face down on his desk. Ian White makes his way through a room that reeks of whiskey and milk. Darryl appears to be passed out, but as Ian pulls out a chair to sit down at the desk opposite him, his head rises abruptly.
DS: Welcome Ian. Please have a seat.
IW: Uh, hi Darryl. Are you ok?
DS: Fine, Ian, just fine. Why do you ask?
IW: No reason Darryl. Umm, are you drinking whiskey and milk?
DS: That’s right Ian, I’m drinking Milskey. Delicious. It puts grit on your chest. Here, let me pour you a glass.
IW: Oh, that’s ok Darryl. I’ll pass.
Darryl Sutter mutters something about how if Ian White drank Milskey as a kid, he wouldn’t be 5’8.
DS: Well Ian, what brings you down to the office?
IW: Um, well, the reason I came down to see is because I was talking to my agent, and…
DS: Agents are scum. Yours especially.
Ian White is taken back for a moment. Did Sutter just say a four syllable word?
IW: That’s the thing, Darryl. My agent said that when he told you what we would be expecting in a new contract, you flew into a fit of rage, screamed something about a ‘hometown discount’ and hung up on him. I’m here to try to close the gap.
Darryl Sutter opens up a drawer in his desk. The drawer contains a pile of horse manure. Darryl reaches into the desk and pulls out a pile of the manure, and rubs it on his cowboy boots. He cleans his hand on his jeans, like the bad ass cowboy he knows he is. Feeling like he is comfortably back on the farm, he begins negotiations.
DS: Ian, your agent told me you wanted 4 million dollars a year. What makes you think you are worth that kind of money?
IW: Well, to be perfectly honest, you are paying Matt Stajan 3.5, and I know I’m better than the ‘Delicate Little Princess’.
Darryl sips his Milskey.
IW: Look Darryl, let me be straight. I played in 83 games this year. 83 games for the Maple Leafs and the Flames. 83! They were not exactly 83 games of care free fun in the sun either, Darryl. And look how I responded. 13 goals, 25 assists, 38 points and a plus 8. Kris Letang got 3.5 million, and he scored 3 goals and was a plus one. I’m over 200% better than Kris Letang.
IW: And these are not all PP goals either, these babies are coming on even strength. Do you know who plays in front of me when I play, Darryl? Stajan and Iginla. Yeah. That means that I not only have to keep track of some of the better players in the league and play defence, I also have to move the puck through the neutral zone and score.
Darryl remains passive. Or he is passed out, Ian can’t quite tell.
IW: I’m playing 22 minutes a game, Darryl. And not against stiffs either. I play with Regehr, and he and I play much tougher minutes than Gio and Bouwmeester do. Hell, you pay Regehr 4 and Bouw 6.5, so you’re lucky I’m not asking you to split the difference at 5.25!
Darryl finishes his tall, warm glass of milk and whiskey. He then chases it with beer. You know, because he is country.
DS: Anything else?
IW: The moustache?
DS: These numbers are all impressive, Ian, but they are just that, numbers. I’m Darryl Sutter, Ian. I hate numbers. You didn’t hear about how the 08-09 regular season ended? No, what I am looking for in a hockey player goes beyond numbers. I’m looking for intangibles, like grit, gumption, tenacity, truculence, heart and hustle. You keep talking to me about things like scoring. Scoring doesn’t win games, son. Desperation does.
Ian Whites brain begins to hurt a little. Did Darryl just say being gritty is more important than scoring…
DS: No, Ian, you are a bit of a wild card, moving the puck and hitting the net with your shot from the point. That’s not hockey, not enough toughness in that. You gotta play meaner, Ian, like Staios, or Sarich. God, I love Staios. I could watch that guy lead all day. And his grit, Ian, his grit. You can literally see it seeping through his pores…
IW: Staios was a minus 27.
DS: Never mind that, Ian. Did you know that Staios can literally will his team to victories? Yeah, because he has so much heart. And grit. That’s the type of intangibles I’m talking about, Ian. I’m more than happy to part with a 3rd rounder and pay 2.7 million dollars for that.
IW: For minus 27? And you think I’m being unreasonable?
DS: Look, Ian, I’ll level with you. It’s gone, the money’s all gone. I spent it. On Europeans, heaven help me. I don’t know what I was thinking. Glen Sather is so popular, and he was actually talking to me, a boy from Viking. I lost my head. I thought he would be my best friend if I took Kotalik, but he hasn’t returned my call since. I can only offer you 3. Take it or leave it.
IW: Fine, I’ll take it, on one condition.
DS: What’s that?
IW: Could you get them to fire Peter Loubardias?
DS: I’ll see what I can do.
– Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.