What’s wrong with Darryl? Ask Ken.

A few weeks ago, I was wrapping up the portion of an East Coast vacation that took me around the Cabot Trail. It was lovely, beyond so in fact. Extra-lovely in that I was out of mobile range, and thus out of touch, for two whole days.

Anyway, so there I am on the road, and I suppose some godforsaken cell tower caught wind of my presence, and my text-message tone goes off. It reads:

“dude … bertuzzi?”

And, thanks to walkinvisible, my day was ruined.

OK, so maybe I don’t care THAT much. But I did care. And it did take me two whole days to get over the thing.

I’m really late to the party here (and have been away a while from this place, sorry), so I’m unlikely to say anything here that hasn’t already been said more eloquently or better argued. But this is my personal take on Bertuzzi: It’s a bad signing not because I don’t like his demeanour (which I don’t), or his face (which I don’t), or his past affiliations (which I don’t), but because for all his qualities (which he has), he’s JUST DUMB. He takes stupid minor penalties at the worst times, all the time. He will cost the Flames at least five games this year just with that.

I want smart hockey players on my favourite team. Bertuzzi is not smart. Period.

Now, I’m afraid this also prompts a take on Darryl Sutter, whose personal demeanor has irked me ever since he took the GM reigns, and whose moves have often done the same. I am willing to analyze the Bertuzzi signing, along with every other move this summer, from a hockey perspective alone. What I couldn’t possibly abide by was his comparison of Bertuzzi’s Moore attack to his running of a red light, saying that both happened a while ago and it’s time to move on.

Darryl: What a dick.

What we’ve got going on now, fully and clearly, is a general manager who’s allowed to operate with impugnity, say what he wants, do what he wants, with no oversight. He’s just arrogant.

Ken King gets a pretty free ride in Calgary. He’s been in senior management roles at both major papers and has friends in both places. The Flames drive the media (and circulation, and profits) in that town, and you’d better bet your ass they won’t risk access or relationship — so the Flames can operate without much criticism, since you know they’re never going to get it from the rights-holder, Sportsnet, or the fluffball reporters at the other broadcast outlets.

Let’s be honest here: Ken King is not a hockey man. He’s a hockey fan with a reasonable record as a business executive, and he’s running the Calgary Flames as a business. He’s gone on record time and time again about the “genius” of Darryl Sutter being the ticket to the promised land. He’s not going to change his mind.

That’s how Darryl’s allowed to hire his brothers, trade for his favourite guys, sign over-the-hill assholes and coaches and have absolutely no instructions to treat fans of the team, or the guys who cover it, with respect. It’s despicable.

Is Darryl Sutter a good hockey coach? Yes. Has he shown he can be a capable general manager under the right circumstances? Sometimes. Is he the ticket to the promised land?

No.

Again, from a hockey perspective alone, Darryl Sutter has been the best general manager since the glory-days, pre-Finger Cliff Fletcher — he’s developed, acquired and retained key players that have allowed the team to succeed after eight years of horrific failure. But he’s also failed to deliver, with a core of incredible players, anything past a surprise Stanley Cup berth followed by three seasons of diminishing returns.

Darryl is smart. But he’s not as smart as he, or Ken King, thinks he is.

I don’t want Darryl gone. I want Darryl watched.

And Ken King doesn’t watch him.

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~ by duncan on July 29, 2008.

4 Responses to “What’s wrong with Darryl? Ask Ken.”

  1. Great stuff Duncan. I don’t think I disagree with anything here.

    You need to post way more often.

  2. Thanks dude. I’m going to try, believe me. After three months, there’s a geyser of opinion in here just waiting to burst.

  3. Hey, look who’s back! Good post.

  4. pre-Finger Cliff Fletcher

    is that still going over like a lead balloon in toronto ?

    could you imagine if finger had a breakout year and ol’ cliffy looked like a genius ??!

    anyhow. yeah. good post, dude. sorry i ruined your holiday….

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