SUN Hockey Pool

No sign surly GM will be let go soon

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Darryl Sutter isn't going anywhere, which is fitting given neither is the team.

That said, those who want the GM canned can take solace in the fact -- at the very least -- it appears a chunk of his power will be taken away.

Despite a weekend report in the Calgary Sun in which a Flames staffer confirmed the GM is barely on speaking terms with his brother/coach Brent, there's mounting belief the club architect will survive his pending review.

Instead of being let go for a 10th-place conference finish that also cost the club several prospects, draft picks and hope for the near future, Sutter is likely to stay on.

Flames president Ken King confirmed another Sunday Sun report the team had 97% of its season-ticket base renew, along with more than 300 additions to its list of 4,000 on the waiting list.

So, despite growing frustration, fan support is the last thing the Flames need to worry about.

Instead, finding support for Sutter seemed to be the flavour of the day yesterday, as King spoke of the possibility of finding a body or two to assist the GM as he works his club out of the hole he dug.

"I'd be thrilled to provide Darryl with help -- there's no impediment to that," said King, alluding to the possible addition of an assistant GM as most teams already have.

"We've discussed that at length before, and we'll take a good look at that," added Sutter, as if setting up a scenario that would buy him yet another year at the helm.

Just as Sutter is disinterested in anything the fans or media have to say about his team or performance, a team staffer told the Sun on the weekend Sutter listens to no one, calling it a "reign of terror."

Instead of meeting regularly with Brent as part of the type of open exchange of ideas most successful organizations insist upon, Darryl and Brent barely spoke to one another due to their difference of opinion and approach.

It's totally dysfunctional but indicative of how much the team has been run as a dictatorship.

Whether that would change with an assistant GM around is predictable.

Asked if he felt he used Brent as a sounding board enough or whether he didn't think that was important, Darryl was curt.

"I look at my role with Brent as an assistant coach in terms of input," Darryl said.

"I think there's a fine line because as coach you can isolate yourself and you need good input."

Asked how he thought it was for his co-workers to work with him, Darryl said, "I think fair is a good way of putting it. Honest."

Based largely on the fact he turned the franchise around shortly after being hired seven years ago, King has long said Sutter has a contract "in perpetuity."

"Darryl has a different kind of arrangement -- he does not have a term contract," reiterated King, who was sharp when it was suggested NHL GMs need to have fixed contract terms registered with the league.

"Then, I am in violation of the rules."

King insisted everyone will be under review the next few weeks before he and Sutter take their findings to ownership.

Asked if told he was guaranteed employment next year, Sutter said, "No, I have not."

Well aware 64% of Sun readers said in a survey they want Sutter to be the one to take the fall for a lost season, King will be under the gun to shake things up.

Adding an assistant GM won't stave off the wolves nor will it prompt Darryl to start doing the one thing that got him into this mess: Listen.

Yet, you get the feeling that's the direction this is heading.


Videos

Photos