SUN Hockey Pool

Flames react to Sutter leaving

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

Darryl Sutter was skewered for re-signing centre Olli Jokinen this past summer.

Only one still earns their paycheques at the Saddledome.

On Wednesday morning, the Flames announced the embattled general manager — and the man who inked Jokinen to a two-year deal with a no-trade clause just five months after, um, trading him away — had agreed to step aside.

“I think we all feel bad,” Jokinen said. “He did a lot here and as a player, we have to take the blame. If we would’ve got the job done on the ice, he would have been able to keep his job.

“In this business, it always comes down to the way the players are playing. They control the coaches’ fate. They control the GM’s future. Especially with me, he brought me back here and he’s been very supportive — he was very supportive early in the year when I wasn’t scoring — and it’s hard to see him go.”

Such is the business of pro sports.

While Sutter was not available after Wednesday’s announcement, some of his controversial acquisitions — and the good ones, too — were left to explain what went wrong and speculate about what comes next.

The Flames were informed of the move prior to Wednesday’s practice session and faced the media after the skate.

“As players, you take it to heart a bit and feel like you’re wishing you could have done something to help the situation,” said Flames defenceman Mark Giordano. “But, in the end, we still all know that he brought a lot of us in here and we can prove to turn it around.”

Of the current Flames, only three players — captain Jarome Iginla, Craig Conroy and Robyn Regehr — were on the roster when Sutter arrived eight years ago.

Even if Jay Feaster is now calling the shots, this is undoubtedly Darryl’s team. At least for now.

And the players know the best way to prevent future moves is to start climbing up the Western Conference standings.

“We’ve got a good hockey team in here — Darryl put together a good team — and we’ve gotta go out and prove we can win and get to where we want to be,” said Flames centre Matt Stajan. “We’ve got to start winning hockey games and prove to people that this group can do it.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WesGilbertson


Videos

Photos