It’s eight years to the day when Darryl Sutter started his tenure with the Calgary Flames and he is finally gone.
While I give major credit to Sutter for reviving a corpse of an organization (trust me, I was attending games during those dreaded playoff-less years), it was time for him to go.
Actually, it was time for him to go in the summer.
Now that Gollum's reign over his “preeeecious” Calgary Flames has ended, what’s going to happen? To put it simply, the Flames are a mess. Just how big of a mess? Well, think of it like Barack Obama becoming President and having no major changes happen. Why? Um, where do you begin?
Mainly, the Flames are out of date. The deals made in the summer put them even further out of date with contracts that are virtually untradeable.
New GM Jay Feaster has a jigsaw puzzle to deal with, and he has got to come up with a reasonable plan. As he stated today, at the moment, he’s not interested in rebuilding. Unlike Darryl though, his mind isn't completely closed off to the idea. As far as I believe, I don’t think that Jarome Iginla is back on the market, and it probably won’t be until the end of the season before such decisions are made.
As for Feaster, he has shown that he knows how to build a Stanley Cup Champion team. For Flames fans, this is far more reassuring, but it will be a while before a significant improvement happens.
There is bad money all over the roster, so the Flames probably have a few years of waiting before some of that is cleared. Ultimately, there just isn't enough talent, and that may have to be accepted for a while.
As far as Brent Sutter goes, a person who I haven’t really blamed for the Flames’ problems, it’ll be interesting to see how he operates without his brother hanging over his shoulder. Two great regular seasons with the New Jersey Devils (including one where Martin Brodeur was gone for most of the season) means something, and hopefully he can start contributing some of that coaching to the Flames. As Feaster said, he would like to start a more positive atmosphere around the team, and I agree it’s about time. Hopefully Brent will start with that.
Ultimately, this is the right change to start with for the Flames. But us Flames fans just have to hang on; it’s going to be a long ride.