Domebeer-aholics, you may know we spent a good portion of our September in temple. It turns out pious devotion is indeed rewarded; Matt Stajan is out indefinitely with a seperated shoulder.
Dear Reader, what does Matt Stajan represent to the Flames organization? Pudgy Leaf-ness? Darryl Sutter's complete and utter panic? The soft bigotry of lowered expectations?
Good guesses, all of them, but wrong nonetheless. Matt Stajan represents depth to the Calgary Flames, and because he represents depth, the Calgary Flames can afford to lose him. Ergo, who cares?
Now, the loss isn't ideal, but that's because injuries are not ideal. But injuries indeed happen, and all things being equal, it's probably best that the injury bug, real or imagined, has bitten the team now.
Olli Jokinen was slotted to be the first line centre. That's still on check. And call us crazy, but as fans, in all honesty, we don't really care that Backlund will now be getting reps on the second line. The kid has to grow up sometime, so throw him into the deep end of the pool and let's see if he can swim. Who knows, all he has ever been advertised to be is an offensive threat. Now we will all get to see it (hopefully), and we, at least, are excited.
What, you thought we were going to talk about how that affects the clubs chance to, you know, actually win hockey games in 10-11? We're glad you asked, because we were going to talk about that, albeit tangentially. If the Flames get out to a bad start, this city is not going to be very happy. Fire Sutter was quite a popular chant over the offseason, and we were in the choir ourselves*. A slow start to the season could, we stress could, as in maybe, might, possibly, spell the end to the Sutter reign.
Does Stajan's injury, coupled with Langkow's, buy Sutter more time than he might have otherwise received if the slow start scenario actually goes from the stuff of dreams into concrete reality? It's an interesting question, we think. Unanswerable in the definitive as we lack all sorts of time machines, but still worth pondering. Reflexively you might think that it would, but we are not so sure. This city has the knives out for it's 4.5 million dollar 37 point centre. It isn't too thrilled about Matt Stajan. He certainly isn't viewed as the saviour. If anything, his injury could be viewed as a good thing in some quarters; getting rid of a Leaf from your team is almost certainly a good thing. The sympathy may have existed if the injury had occurred to a Jarome Iginla, but we are not quite so sure it extends to Stajan.
Still, as we have written before, we think the promotion to Executive Vice President on a 10th place finish doesn't exactly spell Sutter's job is in trouble. We believe some of the people who manage to live in that...thing they call an 'Edmonton' call it 'getting Lowe-ed'.
But to the original point, yes losing Stajan on paper hurts this clubs chances to win, based alone on the fact that Stajan has been a regular cast member on the NHL show for 6+ seasons now, and Backlund is still auditioning. But as to whether or not we should move the terror alert level up another colour, we are rather cool. Again, Sutter went out and added depth (and expensive, long term contracts) at the trade deadline and during the offseason...
You know what gang? Hold that thought. Darryl Sutter did indeed go out to acquire depth. And we are still left with Olli Jokinen as the number one centre, and the choice of some rookie, or some 75 year old to play on the second line. Holy snickees Batman. Human beings are born with nothing but hope, and spend their whole lives living off it, but this is just too much. Everybody better go out and raid the nearest nunnery they can find; how many virgins are we going to have to sacrifice to make David Moss a viable option at centre in the NHL?
In parting, we will leave you with this final thought. You know the cap has been mismanaged when the team can't afford to bring in Kyle Wellwood to replace an injured Matt Stajan.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.
*Still are, if only because we think threat of death has a certain way of sharpening the senses and getting the best out of people, at least short term. And sports is all about short term; most plans are in the 5 year variety, not 25.