With the Flames latest foray into futility, the listless loss to the Wild at home, concluded, and the season with it, the question becomes: How does Darryl Sutter and his junior coach brother still have gainful employment?
It's an honest question. With Darryl turning the team into a punchline, and becoming a punchline himself amongst his peers in the industry, it doesn't seem plausible that Murray Edwards would continue to suffer the embarrassment employing him and his tactically challenged bother entails. So how come the Sutter's are still employed?
Obviously, Murray is going to fire them on Christmas, salvaging the season, and giving the fans a wonderful present for the holidays.
And while the pink slipping of the Sutter's would be a terrific present in and of itself, it wouldn't be a complete one in and of itself. Sutter cannot be fired for nobody. He will need to be replaced, in the interim basis and permanently, for the present to be completed. To that end, we offer some suggestions for Murray Edwards when he goes Christmas shopping.
1) McDonald + Goulet
Lanny McDonald is brought in to replace Ken King, who seems to have a bizarre man-crush on Darryl, and who reportedly kept the Jolly Rancher in his job this year by threatening to quit if they fired Sutter.
Mike Goulet is promoted from his position of scout to the office of the General Manager. Goulet is allowed to hire whoever he wants as coach, even if he is a francophone. Goulet is also allowed to draft who he wants, even if they never played a game in the WHL and actually have hands.
The entire scouting staff is to be gutted. Everyone who has been involved in scouting under the Sutter regime gets the ax, and Lanny and Goulet get to re-staff it, preferably with former Flames alumni. Or, barring that, people who know what a goal scorer looks like, as opposed to the fourth line plugs Sutter has been apt to draft (who are we kidding, Sutter can't even draft pluggers).
Craig Conroy is retired and brought into the booth, to work alongside Theo Fleury, and they will do colour. Peter Loubardias would be fired in a humiliating fashion, and replaced by Jamie 'Gold Medal' Campbell, if for no other reason than to prove once and for all that anybody can do play by play better than Loubardias.
2) Super Agent
Much like Vancouver, the Flames could put the organization into the hands of someone who actually operates in the business of hockey. Ken King can stay on as President if he pleases, or he can be replaced by anybody, because it isn't hard to sell Flames swag in this city.
The super agent allows the team to tap into his extensive Rolodex of clients, and because the agent has to operate in the cap environment, he may actually know how to manage a contract negotiation without having to give away NMC/NTC like they were condoms at a pedophile party in Thailand.
The super agent can keep Brent or he can get rid of Brent, it's his call. The booth, however, will still have to go. Loubardias and Simmer can be replaced by an electric fan and a ticking clock at this point, and it will be more entertaining.
The agent that immediately comes to mind? No, not Don Meehan. Drew Rosenhaus.
The GM is to be fired and replaced with an accountant. The accountant can hire or fire Brent at his discretion.
By bringing in a professional to be the GM, as opposed to a 'hockey guy', the office will be run in a manner more consistent with how a business is run. This means, for one, that dumb as shit moves like trading for Ales Kotalik are never even contemplated, let alone considered, or God forbid given the green light. It wouldn't be, because an accountant would be able to, and understand that he has to, forecast the salaries into next year, a skill Darryl seems unwilling to learn, or simply doesn't appreciate. Addition and subtraction are not hard for an accountant, but these concepts have proven to tough for Darryl to wrap his head around in the past.
Furthermore, because evaluations are a big part of what an accountant does, we may finally see some sane contracts handed out. An accountant could quantify certain skills, like goal scoring, and be able to have grasp on what a player should earn, before entering negotiations. Value contracts would be more possible because the GM would understand value.
4) Bob Nicholson
Nicholson was reportedly close to accepting a job here last summer, and if that was the case, the organization should reach out to him again. Bob could become the President of the team, and hire his own GM and coach, guys he is comfortable with.
Nicholson is accomplished, having run Hockey Canada since 1998. He shouldn't be overwhelmed with any of the duties tasked to him, and in fact probably has more experience running a hockey organization than anyone currently involved in the Flames save Brent, who runs the Rebels. On top of this, he has been involved with some of the best people in hockey, so should be aware of the best practices of the best players and organizations, which he would be able to bring to the Flames. Add to this the fact that Bob is an aerospace engineer by trade, which means he is fucking smart, and we are pretty sure Sutter doesn't even know how to spell 'A-E-R-O-S-P-A-C-E'.
5) Oil Company CEO
Calgary is home to many head offices of Oil and Gas companies, and this is something that should be embraced. The Flames could dive deep into the available talent that exists in this city and hire a CEO from one of the big firms to run the Flames. Murray Edwards is in the Oil and Gas business himself, and may be able to supply one.
The advantage with the oil company CEO is that the guy is presumably a serious person, who can run a high risk operation. This should allow for better decision making (no more Dion panic trades) in the heat of battle. Also, because of the nature of the oil business, the CEO would be aware of the importance of long term planning, and would be able to bring that discipline to the Flames. We wouldn't see salary gridlock of the type that Sutter has created for next year.
Again, the front office would become more professionalized, which should lead to better decision making, both in the short and long term.
As with all the plans, the booth gets fired and we never have to listen to Loubardias and Simmer make boring hockey sound so...boring, ever again.
6) Sutter Switch
The least dramatic of the options. This involves making Darryl the coach again and promoting Brent to the position of GM. Brent actually runs a hockey team, so is probably more familiar with that side of the business than Darryl is. And Darryl may be a lot of things, but a shitty coach isn't one of them. Now this isn't an option we are in love with, because we want them both fired, but it is one that makes some sense and allows Murray to at least save some money.
7) Harvey The Hound
Because if we are going to employ a clown as GM, we might as well employ Harvey.
There you go, folks. Some ideas for you to kick around the water coolers when you discuss who should be brought into fix the team. Also, some direction for the ink stained as to who they should start writing about as a replacement for Sutter. You will notice Fat Feaster is not on that list. That's because Fat Feaster didn't draft Vincent Lecavalier. In fact, Feaster was employed from 2002 - 2008 as the GM of the Lighting, and during that time the Lighting drafted shit, which would imply to us that Feaster doesn't know what a hockey player looks like. You can check out his draft record yourselves if you don't believe us.
Anyways, we are awaiting Santa Claus and the pink slips he is surely to bring with baited breathe. No way Murray Edwards allows Darryl or Brent Sutter to continue in their posts past Christmas...right? No, that would be too irresponsible, even for an absentee owner like Edwards. So thanks for firing the Sutter's in advance, Mr. Edwards.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.