Game No. 17: Adventures in Hilarious Asset Mismanagement

Yes, you might actually have to watch a loss on top of everything else.

Look, I understand that there has to be some attempt to color something as positive, because who wants to sit through 82 games’ worth of grumpiness?

But Darryl Sutter seems intent on making that pretty much impossible.

You have to hand it to Daz: every time you think things couldn’t get worse — and given the way the Flames have played since late October, there’s not much room to fall — they do, pretty much without fail. With today’s underwhelming, likely-meaningless trade, he effectively took the deck chairs and not only shuffled them in a thoroughly bewildering manner, but he also lost quite a few overboard.

We can all acknowledge that Brett Sutter pretty much had to stop being with the organization. We can also all acknowledge that Ian White has been playing like a typical player Darryl acquired as part of a deal for a well-regarded young defenseman who now captains the team to which he was traded, albeit ineffectively: pretty poorly. In this regard, and because he offloaded about $3.5 million in commitments for the remainder of the year, we can almost consider this a successful trade.

But because it’s Darryl Sutter, and he hasn’t been able to engineer a successful personnel move since the lockout, there were strings of razor wire attached, and by the bale. Anton Babchuk is a pretty decent offensive defenseman. He can absolutely bomb the puck. He also can’t defend worth a damn, which is troublesome for a team already burdened by a preponderance of defensemen who can’t defend worth a damn. He is so bad at defending, in fact, that the CAROLINA HURRICANES let him go to Russia the year after he scored 16 goals and finished plus-13.

But okay, sure, Babchuk. The power play needs a ton of help. Having a defenseman that can shoot it through a brick wall will certainly help to ameliorate that particular problem.

The problem, then, is really and truly in the acquisition of Tom Kostopulous. I say that because Tom Kostopulous is a guy who doesn’t do anything particularly well. He’s not especially tough, he’s not especially talented, he’s not especially anything. Except just about mediocre. He is especially just about mediocre. And he’s also a veteran forward making just under $1 million a year this season. And next. Yeah, next.

What is Darryl Sutter’s indomitable fascination with acquiring overpaid forwards who serve no readily apparent purpose? Ales Kotalik (who, by the way, is expected to be back in early December, so, y’know.. hooray) is a prime example of this. So too was Jamal Mayers last season. They’re players that short on usefulness, but long on being overpaid and redundant.

And to top it off, the move came not yesterday, when these newly-acquired players could have potentially been ready to play in the game tonight, which I’m pretty sure has been scheduled since the summer, but rather in the late afternoon today. Meaning that, even as the team was shorthanded in terms of reasonably useful defensemen when fielding a full roster, it is now short one of those as well. We might just see a pairing of Staios and Mikkelson for at least part of the game tonight as a result. And won’t that be fun?

Calgary is about to start a stretch of eight games in 11 days and while they say trades will energize a lifeless club, that effect doesn’t last eight games, and neither of the two newest Flames are enough of a difference-maker (to put it lightly) to turn this team around, certainly not at this crucial juncture of the season.

Oh and I guess the Coyotes are pretty good too.


    • Sounds like Pierre MCGuire on the canucks/penguins game in regards to Chris Conner… ” He’s a smaller player, but he’s got Pride!”

      “Hmmm, I need something positive to say about this player… i’ll just talk about his pride and courage, rather than anything tangible” (Insert any bumbling sportsnet/cbc/tsn announcer)

  • Get ready for them! Well we played real hard and deserved a better outcome; Their goaltender helped them with this win; We didn’t play a solid 60 minutes; We had a few mental mistakes that cost us but thought we deserved better. Same crap, different game.

    Just record the last 3 years worth of post game interviews and play them after every game from here on until something big happens.

    Just get it over with and get rid of the dead weight and high priced under-achievers and bring in some youngsters that will give some honest effort. Would rather watch speedy effort than slow ineffectivness. FRUSTRATING!

  • Positives: We scored a goal. We didn’t lose 5-0.

    Negatives: Jokenin’s brain. Staios/Mikkleson pairing. Staios being on the ice with under a minute to play. Perimeter hockey for most of the game.

  • BobB

    40 shots and 1 goal. crazy. I would have to try very hard to remember many ten-bell chances out of those 40 shots. It’s truly amazing.

    Lambert, you’re way off base on this one. Sutter jr. wasn’t helping this team. White wasn’t either. They ditched money and got a guy with a hard shot. If he doesn’t work out, sit him, he’s cheap enough.

    Name I’m hearing mentioned as a Kostopoulos-type is Yelle. If that’s true. I’m happy. If not, who cares?

    The Flames gave away nothing to get something with potential…let’s let the new guys play a game.

    White sucked since game 1.

  • everton fc

    This evening, after the second intermission, it finally dawned on me that I might be wasting valuable time on earth – time I’ll never get back – wondering if the Flames will ever score, will ever turn it around, will ever show signs of progress this season.

    I turned off the radio and folded laundry for my wife. Found it more pleasant.

    Mike Rogers hit it the nail on the head in the pre-game: “This team, winning or losing, over the past few years… doesn’t look like they enjoy playing the game. They are having no fun.”

    I think that suns it up. Not to mention, I’m not having fun, either. As a fan. Time can be better spent.

    How many fans feel this way, these days? Is Mr. King reading these words?

    The system our boys are being asked to buy into doesn’t appear to work. It, like the morale and focus of our entire team, appears broken.

    Rogers also talked about how much Playfair has accomplished with a group of youngsters, has-beens and career minor leaguers, down on the farm. He went on to mention how similar the Coyotes roster is to ours – no stars, some veterans, some youth – and how Dave Tippett has got ther buy-in. They believe in the system. In their coach…

    Hearing Aucoin interviewed, he sounded like a kid. He sounded like he was enjoying the game. Like he was really having fun playing with the Coyotes, in the NHL.

    That type of enthusiasm doesn’t seem to exist in our dressing room.

    Perhaps it’s time to give Playfair another chance. Right now, before another organization like the Islanders lures him away. Forever.

    I ask – what more do we have to lose?

  • everton fc

    Oh my. We are turning into the Leafs. Too much money and no will or desire or brains to win. And fun you say? Watch an interview with Butter or Dutter and tell me again about fun. Both have the doom and gloom of Eyeore when we win and Stephen Wright when we don’t. Please blow it up from the top. Get younger, riskier and faster. Let Jarome do whatever he wants (stay or go). He’s earned that right. It’s over Ken & Daryl. Face it.

  • the-wolf

    Pretty much agree with everything written here:

    And especially this:

    “If that happens and they are given the green light to start rebuilding in a proper way, then the trade of White Tuesday removes one valuable piece of the trading puzzle far too soon. It is one more example of the odd managing-by-the-seat-of-your pants style employed in Calgary, and probably a good reason for the mess the organization finds itself in at the moment.”