SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter: Everyone needs to take responsibility

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Refusing to throw anyone under the bus, Brent Sutter says everyone in the organization needs to take responsibility for the team’s elimination from the playoff race.

“We got into this situation together and we have to get out of it together,” said the Flames coach Wednesday.

Ah, but there’s the rub.

How many of the club’s key cogs on and off the ice will be back to start the process of righting a listing ship?

To follow is a pocket guide to who is in the line of fire and their chances of survival:

DARRYL SUTTER, GM

Nobody should shoulder a bigger part of the blame for the club’s lost season than the man who failed to replace the scoring it lost last summer.

Chasing Olli Jokinen for years, paying too much for his services and then taking on more dead weight (Ales Kotalik) to get rid of him may be a microcosm of his mismanagement the last two years. Hindsight being 20/20, it was Mike Cammalleri he should have kept instead as the team’s downfall was its lack of scoring touch.

Few can debate Sutter panicked before the trade deadline and didn’t shop Dion Phaneuf around enough before making the deal with Toronto.

He has no first or second rounders at the draft, the AHL cupboards are bare and the team is aging, slow and has failed to advance past the first round since 2004.

He’s done well to keep the team competitive through trades since he got here but the future isn’t very bright. The former saviour’s popularity is at an all-time low.

Chances of getting fired: 50%

KEN KING,

President and CEO

King was the one who took the franchise off life support, made the right hire in Darryl Sutter seven years ago and helped turn it into one of the NHL’s model franchises.

The owners love the fact King has made the club an extremely profitable endeavour that continues to be classy and community-minded.

Highly respected in the business community where he is active on so many fronts, the eloquent spokesman is an instrumental part in trying to land the team a new rink. Under his watch being a Flames fan became cool again, leading to six years of sellouts.

Chances of getting fired: 5%

BRENT SUTTER, coach

How many coaches can you fire before realizing it’s the inmates who can’t continue to run the asylum? Brent Sutter arrived with a stunning coaching resume that saw him elevate the New Jersey Devils to a record number of wins in year two. He should get that same chance here.

No, the players did not wholeheartedly buy into his philosophy and look where it landed them.

And no, he is in no way tied to the fate of brother Darryl.

Chances of getting fired: 25%

JAROME IGINLA, captain

If there is a new GM, he’d have to have a brass set to trade the most popular and prolific Flame of all time.

The face of the franchise and the seller of millions of dollars in merchandise, Iginla was still amongst NHL scoring leaders (ninth in goals) despite an admittedly off year.

No, he’s not the player he was two years ago when he scored 50, but, at age 32, he’s still got several productive seasons ahead of him, especially if he’s finally paired up with a suitable linemate or two.

The owners are too community-minded to trade away a local icon and family man who recently moved into his custom dream home and isn’t likely to waive his no-trade clause. That said, he needs to lead by example and find a way to adapt more to Brent Sutter’s style and, in turn, a changing game.

Chances of getting traded: 20%

TOD BUTTON,

scouting director

The success the franchise has had under Darryl Sutter is based almost entirely on trades as the scouting staff has done little to augment the core Sutter inherited or traded for.

No, the staff has never had a chance to select a player higher than the No.-9 spot Dion Phaneuf went in 2003, but their draft day record is abysmal. Kris Chucko, Matt Pelech, Leland Irving and Chuck Kobasew have been fruitless first rounders, to say the least. Mikael Backlund (24th in ’07) has shown recent signs of being a solid centre but when Matthew Lombardi (90th in ’02) is one of the only other feathers in your cap, obviously the group has failed.

Either that or Sutter has simply ignored all their hard work and wasted a potential resource.

Chances of getting fired: 75%

HARVEY, The Hound

Given how few goals the Flames scored and how poorly they performed at home, Harvey had huge pressure to provide fans with entertainment and welcome distractions.

The old dog came up with new tricks.

Chances he’s pooched: 1%

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos