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.