Wednesday, October 08, 2008



"The reason we sent Dusty down today is because with Warrener injured, we're over the salary cap." - Darryl Sutter on the radio this afternoon (I quote from memory)

So, +1 to Sutter for being relatively straightforward about it.

Minus 1 -- and counting, quickly, backwards, depending on how long Boyd's gone -- for being in this position in the first place AND for not sending out one of the several inferior forwards instead.

And minus a goddamn lot for, well, ... let me go backwards here for a minute. Anyone remember this charming interview from 13 months ago?
"Those two players that appear to have opted not to try and play on our team this year?" the Calgary Flames general manager said Tuesday afternoon. "Obviously, they felt they couldn't."

Sutter never winked, but he didn't have to. The remark came across as intended - as a shot.

Defenceman Mark Giordano and centre Andrei Taratukhin, who both recently decided to skate in the Russian Super League, have damaged themselves significantly in the eyes of Sutter. [...]

Giordano, a restricted free agent with 55 NHL games on his resume, had demanded a one-way deal. The Flames balked. The 23-year-old signed with Moscow Dynamo.

"I think he made a big mistake," said Sutter. "[...] Basically, by the player not agreeing to terms with us ... it's saying that he didn't think he could play in the NHL this year."

In retrospect (actually not in retrospect, but whatever), maybe what he was saying was, "You have 7 defensemen with 1-way contracts, and there is no way in holy hell that I am making this team out of training camp."

I don't mean this literally, but Sutter owes some apologies; not just to Giordano for that BS character assassination last fall, but to every Flames prospect who was told that they had a chance to make this team. Because it was obviously bologna. Great comment from Nathan, at FHF:
Is it reasonable to say that this post is documentation of the exact moment all of the goodwill garnered in 2004 ran out?

Probably. I'm trying to decide what the most appalling cause of this Boyd demotion is. The fact that he gave Brandon Prust a one-way contract this summer, even though he's eligible for the Calder Trophy this season? His belief that there's a chance in hell Prust gets claimed on waivers, even on recall (NHL stats: 10GP, 0-0-0)? Or is it that he got himself into a position where he could be blindsided by an injury to Rhett Warrener? (btw, if the answer is "His belief that Boyd could benefit from some more time in the minors", that wins.)

Look, it's no good getting too freaked out here. The Flames' season didn't, and doesn't, hinge on Dustin Boyd, although I think most NW Champion scenarios involve Boyd blossoming into a quality NHL player this season. However, this is clearly cause to question the GM's competence (his #1 job is still to put the best possible roster together, yes?), and it is also clearly cause to question everything that ever comes out of his mouth -- which is irrelevant with respect to me, but I don't think he's going to appreciate it when the average hockey media guy starts doing it.

Is it reasonable to say that Darryl Sutter's job security, going forward, is irrevocably (annually) tied to the on-ice performance of the team, including playoffs? I think it probably is. Like Nate says, from the fan's end, this probably does it for any blind faith out there. And from the owner/org end, well, f*ck -- they're paying Warrener, Eriksson, and Nilson nearly $5M to not play for them this year, and they still aren't icing their best possible roster on Opening Night. I sincerely doubt there's much blind faith at the board meetings either.


Boyd sent down! It's like Christmas came early.

Well, at least a mighty fine stocking stuffer.

Next up, Calgary announces it's time to demolish landmark bobsleigh runs at C.O.P.

Didn't Nilson head to the KHL? If so, he's off the payroll.

I suppose one could argue that the fact that Flames fans are making such a stink about all of this is a bad sign to begin with. Boyd is obviously a player with potential, but he's probably not a huge impact guy right now. How angry would, for example, Wild fans be if a comparable prospect were sent down to their farm system?

Also, what is more ridiculous? Rhett staying up, or Dustin heading back down? I vote the former.

James, I'm not clear on exactly what happened there... I understood that there was some kind of negotiation there (cost-sharing?).

When it first came up, I thought the same thing -- hey, if he goes there, he's in breach and blah blah. But he isn't suspended as far as I know, which also means (as far as I know) that his contract is still a factor. He's not wiped off the books in the Radulov sense.

(As far as I know.)

Muhly, Warrener's cap status (at the moment) is non-negotiable, or rather, non-manageable. Can't bust someone down when they're injured; can't get cap relief unless they're "long-term" injured.

If only someone could have anticipated the ramifications of this shocking development...

Soon enough cap space will exist to bring Boyd back, even if 44 doesn't go on LTIR (and even if they don't do what they should have done today and send out Prust to keep Boyd). But it's an indictment of Sutter, no doubt about it. This isn't a consequence of paying the top players too much money; it's a consequence of having given guaranteed money to (at least) 3 inferior players since July 1.

This isn't a consequence of paying the top players too much money; it's a consequence of having given guaranteed money to (at least) 3 inferior players since July 1.

And, I would add, not buying out Warrener in July.

Thank you for this tirade. I may still have to write my own, but you cover all the bases here.

And carrying three goaltenders is effective cap management?

.... and in breaking news: Dustin Boyd has been recalled from Quad City of the American Hockey League.

And carrying three goaltenders is effective cap management?

Uhh, yeah. Having the financial flexibility to carry three goaltenders in order to avoid the (IMO imaginary) risk of losing one on waivers IS effective cap management.

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