King-sized call for calm

Flames president Ken King says he will never fire Darryl Sutter, even if people demand it. (QMI...

Flames president Ken King says he will never fire Darryl Sutter, even if people demand it. (QMI Agency/Darren Makowichuk)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Calgary Flames president Ken King clearly linked his fate to that of Darryl Sutter Monday, as if the two weren't already strapped together in a tandem bungee jump.

Both King and his GM spoke with the confidence of a duo that is safe atop the franchise hierarchy. Both could be gone in the coming weeks.

Given a vote of confidence from King, Sutter has not yet received the same from ownership.

"No," Sutter said with a shrug and a smirk. "I have not."

He seems to think it's coming. Interviews between players and coaches, management and coaches, players and management and maybe even ownership and players are coming in the next few weeks, and anything is possible after that.

Many around the city are calling for blood.

King is calling for calm.

He's also not sure there's proof the fans have turned on Sutter. Apparently, he didn't bother to browse the Calgary Sun's You Be The Boss results that clearly called for Sutter to be fired.

"We listen to our fans, OK," King said Monday during 45 minutes of confident answers that rarely addressed the question. "We are throwing no bodies out on the tarmac here. We're going to take a very close scrutiny of everyone -- from the president downward -- and go throughout the entire organization."

He said they'll look for issues and gaps to address. But what if the issues relate directly to the management team?

King straight up suggests he will never fire Sutter, even if people demand it. Even if ownership demands it.

"If it is necessary to sacrifice somebody to sell tickets, then they'll have to get somebody else to sell tickets," he said brazenly.

King even insults the fans -- probably unintentionally -- while announcing all that Sutter has done to help turn this franchise around since 2003.

He mentions the Sea of Red rising from the ashes of the library that existed before the Cup run of 2004.

"I think it got a little quieter this year," King said not long after the terrible home record was singled out by Sutter as the reason his team missed the playoffs. King wants the fans to propel the team as much as the team is expected to ignite the crowd.

Interesting logic.

But what do you expect from the duo that is unashamed to take full credit for creating the Sea of Red?

How does Sutter answer the question about the fans turning on him? He declares himself the biggest fan of them all.

"I'm a huge Calgary Flames fan. I think like a Flames fan. I think I'm a hockey fan, and so that's not really an issue," Sutter said.

"We're the ones who raise the expectation for everybody here, right? You don't have to look that far back, and there was, there were none. We're the ones that did that. We created that, so with that, they expect a lot.

"That's the way it should be. If you don't expect a lot of yourself, then there are problems."

There are problems, but if there's a plan in place to fix them, the public remains in the dark. And Sutter, his God complex, his atmosphere of fear, may contribute to it as much as anything.

It may take another season of stumbling, but it's up to ownership now to recognize it.


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