We don't even know were to begin.
Ales Kotalik, the Flames toughest, most physical forward, was put on waivers. Shockingly, the living, breathing epitome of softness (wasn't that Stajan?) was not claimed by anybody. Not even by Tampa Bay, who are awful.
Listen, nothing we have to say is earth shattering or new. Ales Kotalik is a garbage player. Everybody in the league knew this at the trade deadline...well, almost everybody. At least all the non Milskey drinking GM's knew.
And now, it appears that every GM knows. And all it cost Darryl to learn this little lesson was the respect of the fanbase. Not that he cares. It also cost the owners a little bit of change, but with some of the multi-year contracts that Darryl has handed out over the years (Eriksson? Nilson? Sarich?) we doubt he has much respect for them, anyways.
Oh yeah, it also cost the Flames cap space. The only reason Kotalik plays on this team is because Olli Jokinen doesn't. Olli Jokinen had an expiring contract, worth about 5.25 million dollars in cap space, which was traded to the Rangers. In return, the Flames received the negotiation rights to Chris Higgins and the privilege to watch Kotalik stink up the 'Dome. For the next 2 years, at a cap hit of 3 million dollars.
Now we find out that Darryl is scrambling to find cap space. How is he going about doing it? He is trying to get rid of one Ales Kotalik. The Ales Kotalik he traded cap relief to get. In the real world, we would call this a 'fireable offense'. As it concerns the current Flames administration, it is called 'business as usual'.
Before we go further, let us get the following out of the way: We, on a certain level, commend Darryl. Darryl is a proud man, and it is hard for proud men to admit mistakes. Trading for Kotalik was a mistake that is quickly turning into an unmitigated disaster. But at least he can acknowledge it. Some GM's can't do that. Case in point: Jeff Finger still has a roster spot.
But while we are happy Darryl will revisit his decisions and try to fix mistakes, we are getting a little tired of the mistakes being made in the first place.
Back to the story: Ales Kotalik was put on waivers. Except he was put on the wrong waivers! The Flames still can't buy this wet dog out, even if they wanted too! For the sake of our sanity, we are going to assume that Sutter meant to do this, and wasn't confused by the whole waiver wire process.
As it stands, the Flames are doing to Kotalik what the Rangers negotiation team should have: playing hardball. Nobody claimed Kotalik, which means he can be sent down to the minors. To avoid getting sent to the minors on the first day of the 10-11 season, Kotalik could probably be persuaded that the weather in Siberia is perfect for his disposition.
If Darryl can convince some pound in Russia to take this dog, muzel tuv. But that doesn't change the fact that this whole scenario was completely avoidable in the first place. We know Higgins is a popular player with some portions of the fanbase, but let's get real: his negotiation rights aren't worth anything, let alone taking on the Kotalik contract, because he has almost played his way out of the NHL. And we don't care how bad a man Olli was. We don't care if he had sex with Conroy's wife, daughter, son, dog, or gardener. His cap hit was going away.
And unless Darryl can convince Kotalik to go away, his cap hit is going to handcuff us come July 1st. The Flames can't send Kotalik down to the minors until the season starts. Which means we have this guys cap hit on the books throughout the free agent period. Which means this team, which wasn't good enough to compete last year, is going to have a hard time getting better.
Honestly, do you know how good the Chicago Blackhawks had to be to win a Stanley Cup? How the hell are we getting that good anytime soon?
It begs the question: If Darryl knew there was no place on the roster for Kotalik, why did he keep Kotalik on the roster? Kotalik could have been, and should have been, sent to the minors with Backlund and the young Sutter at the end of the season. That would have given Darryl his cap space, the fans a bone, and the owners a bill. Folks, two outta three aignt bad.
It begs another question: Why stop with Kotalik? There are plenty of players on this roster that Darryl has awarded with terrible contracts, or traded for. Why not put Sarich and Staios on waivers? They don't have protection. Is it because they aren't from Europe? We can only hope a trade is coming.
This had better be one hell of an offseason for the Flames. Mediocrity is staring this franchise right in the face, and it is largely because of the moves (or non moves) of one Darryl Sutter. We hope that changes.
Actually, it begs yet another question: Why is Darryl still employed?
We will be asking Murray Edwards this, and more, in our 'exclusive' Domebeers interview with him.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.