Friday, February 03, 2006

 

Yes sir, Mr. Sutter sir!

As "feared", today's bevy of print stories on the Flames-Coyotes trade contain absolutely no challenges to Darryl Sutter's stated reasoning for trading Phillipe Sauve ("we wanted a more experienced guy"), not to mention any questioning of why the Flames need a seasoned backup in February, but they didn't in August. It's not like the March schedule has changed since then.

Duhatschek comes the closest, by at least pointing out that "...it becomes clear that the Flames simply didn't trust back-up goaltender Phillipe Sauve to play anymore, which is why starter Miikka Kiprusoff was getting all the work lately and was looking a little tired to boot."

Plainly true. But would it be so hard for a single reporter to ask something like, "Darryl, would you say now that acquiring Sauve this summer was a mistake?" I have no idea how he'd respond (actually I do), but the true answer is obviously yes. Sauve didn't get his first start until the 12th game of the season, Calgary's 3rd back-to-back. Based on the evidence, they never trusted him. (The only alternative, again, is that Sutter is uncomfortable with any backup, and that all the stuff about Sauve not preparing well enough etc. is Sutter covering his ass after an ill-advised rant).

Whatever. On the whole, I'm glad my team's media isn't the kind that finds incompetence underlying every management decision; it's tiresome to read (right Leafs fans?). But a little deeper analysis wouldn't hurt. Jeez, Eric Francis is the only guy I can name who has ever truly criticized Darryl Sutter in print (devil's advocacy doesn't count, guys). Sutter's not perfect; I know he's intimidating, but people shouldn't be afraid to say as much.

Comments:

Who's got the bigger homer media do you think? I know zip about the Calgary media, other than I quite enjoy Duhatschek on HNIC but I've got a hard time imagining that the Flames owners can match the control that EIG has over the Edmonton media (in some instances, going so far as to be one and the same.

At least in Calgary, I've got some faith that guys like Duhatschek are willing to hold the organization's feet to the fire on non-hockey issues. In Edmonton, you've got the Sun that simply refuses to do so (Terry Jones' column on the cancellation of the season was a celebration of it) and the Journal who are smart enough to realize that it's not in their interest to point out things like "The Oilers are a mid revenue team" and "For 20 years, this organization drafted piece of shit after piece of shit, despite the fact that the CBA did not require them too." I've no doubt that when Cal Nichols decides it's time to get the city of Edmonton to write a cheque for a rink, no one is going to ask any hard questions. Although, given that you guys are apparently well off enough to just mail $400 cheques to anyone, that's not a problem.
 


I oughtta defer to someone like Cosh for a definitive answer there, but I certainly get the impression that Edmonton is probably worse. Even absent the Journal's ownership issues, they all have too many years invested in the "poor, tiny, underdog Edmonton" narrative, going back as far as even the Coffey trade.

Just looking at the Lowe years, you find me an item critical of Lowe, and I'll find you ten containing the phrase "Lowe's hand was forced" or thereabouts.

Even this season: has there the slightest suggestion from anyone that Michael Peca maybe isn't the best use of $4M? Good on Peca for cranking it up a bit, and working himself into the fans' good graces (I really don't want to get into this whole discussion again), but he has 7 goals, 12 assists, and a +/- of zero. More relevantly, that's just about a reasonable expectation for where he should be, based on the past 5 years.

To focus entirely on his intangibles, or to say that "he hasn't quite lived up to expectations on offense", is nothing but Lowe apologia. If the Oil performs exactly like they used to (i.e. 7th to 9th) in this Brave New World, then Lowe should have to answer for that. Shouldn't he?
 


Even this season: has there the slightest suggestion from anyone that Michael Peca maybe isn't the best use of $4M?

I've seen it from some of the more astute message board types, although I'll admit to being somewhat agnostic on the issue myself. Now that I'm in the process of actually taking a stab at asking myself how valuable one player can be defensively, I'm definitely more open to the idea that there are better uses of $4MM.

Really though, there are easier stories out there for the media to write. I find it interesting that you reference this yourself-there's an interesting article in the Globe today about this in the context of the election and how the media wasn't out to screw the Liberals but they love the easy story and the Liberals blowing up was the easy story. Maybe that explains what goes on in Edmonton, although there really does seem to be an even bigger aspect of "EIG can do no wrong" that goes even beyond writing the easy story. The failure to jump on the revenue thing during the lockout really mystified me-tons of hockey writers desperate for columns I'd assume, the NHLPA hands them a gift and no one writes about it. It's weird.
 


Related: newer readers should check out this thread from a year ago with comments from Cosh, Tyler, Mirtle, Jamie Fitzpatrick, and others
 


The Flames media is pretty sycophantic. Tought questions need to be asked about the Sauve deal for sure. I may have missed it, but very few have questioned moving reinprecht. I am dissapointed that Reinprecht never came around in Calgary, but to trade him for Leclerc? Was that a pot sweetener for Boucher?

And what did the whole debacle around Sauve clearing wavers do to sauve's value in a trade? He played some good games before christmas, he could have been traded then and we might have gotten something better.

I am confused.
 


Good point! There's Q. #2: "Do you think your comments about Sauve's work habits reduced his trade value, or did other GMs just assume you were irritable after a big loss?"

I'd pay to see that in person.
 

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