SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter came up short?

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

While both the Maple Leafs and the Flames accomplished plenty in the seven-player trade involving Dion Phaneuf last week, obviously not every-one's happy about it.

Amongst those critical of the deal are a number of GMs around the league who were unaware Phaneuf was available and wished they'd been given a chance to offer up more than the Leafs did.

The general feeling amongst these executives is Flames GM Darryl Sutter didn't come close to maximizing his returns on a deal that brought four players to Calgary.

Either way, such criticism points to how quickly and quietly Sutter moved Phaneuf from untouchable status to logical trade bait.

Now more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering what Flames fans plan on doing now with the thousands of mounted Phaneuf prints given as season-ticket holder gifts last month.

AROUND THE HORN

Organizers warned fans last week strollers, frisbees, umbrellas and flags from non-participating countries are banned from Olympic venues. Spectators are, however, being asked to bring snow ... Best new nickname in sports today belongs to Saints QB Drew Brees, known better in New Orleans as 'Breesus' ... It's been eight years since Dave Dickenson and Brees were NFL rookies together with the San Diego Chargers, and the two golf buddies are still good friends who touch base regularly ... Don't expect to see LW Ales Kotalik scrapping any time soon like he did Saturday against Tampa Bay Lightning LW Stephane Veilleux. The only other time in his 527-game career the 6-foot-1, 227-lb. Flames winger fought was 2003, when a bout with Francis Bouillon was such a shocker to Kotalik he forget to drop both gloves ... Hands up all those who saw 'Mickelson' and 'cheater' in a headline and felt somehow let down to read a story involving wedges, not infidelity ... Given the disarray enveloping the franchise last week, how'd you like to be the Flames employee who had to write the note that went out to season ticket holders regarding the mailing of their playoff tickets. Here's what he came up with as an opener: "It's an exciting time of year as your Flames have recently made a number of roster changes to gain position in the Western Conference standings."

PARTING GIFTS

Hockey Night in Canada executives spared Albertans from Toronto's ongoing Dion Phaneuf love-in Saturday by showing the Flames-Lightning game here. However, the nationally-televised Toronto Maple Leafs-Ottawa Senators game featured close-ups of the word 'work' Phaneuf has started writing on the butt-end of his stick. The Air Canada Centre announcer also went out of his way several minutes after a Leafs goal to point out Phaneuf's first-period assist "was his first as a Leaf," prompting a roar from the crowd. Memo to Toronto: Calgary fell in love with Phaneuf at first, too ... David Letterman: "New Orleans Saints fans, they have waited a long, long time for their team to get into the Super Bowl. Not as long as they waited for FEMA, but still it's been a very long, long time." ... On behalf of the media, I apologize for "costing the Flames two points," as Olli Jokinen suggested after he had to play one last uninspired game in Calgary despite word of his trade to the New York Rangers had been leaked before the game. OK, now it's your turn, Olli, to apologize for all the points your disappointing play cost the club ... Las Vegas oddsmakers have typically been slow to react to slumping and surging hockey clubs, but to list the Flames as 10-1 favourites to win the Stanley Cup is laughable at best ... Interesting footnote to the Phaneuf trade: New teammate Mike Komisarek is an ex-boyfriend of Dion's girlfriend, Elisha Cuthbert ... Great headline on sportspickle.com after the NHL donated $100,000 to Haitian relief efforts while the NFL, NBA and MLB all donated US$1 million: "Haiti to donate $1 million to the NHL."

ERIC.FRANCIS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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