"You don't have to worry about that. He's not going down there to get confidence. But he's an awesome kid. He's a farm kid, and you know clearly what direction he's going.”
-- Darryl Sutter’s comments regarding TJ Brodie and his demotion to the AHL.
The question I pose is this: What is it that makes farm kids such good hockey players? Are they seemingly tougher from growing up on a farm, or has all the time herding cattle and riding horseback made their hockey sense super innate? Does Sutter know every farmer in the world? Is he possibly stereotyping ALL farm kids?
Any follower of the team would know that this has been common theme with the Flames ever since Sutter took over the team. Now I understand that his reasoning behind getting “Western Canadian boys” or “farm kids” playing for this team is because he figures they will enjoy playing in Calgary -- being that it’s close to home and/or has a lot of Cowboy flare to it.
The thing that makes me fume is that Sutter has stuck with this trend despite having little to no success the last FIVE seasons. Sure, they have made the playoffs five of the last six seasons, but take away the 04’ run and what do you have? The answer is four first round exits and a missed playoff berth coupled with fans slowly becoming disgruntled at the make-up of this team.
Sure, back when Sutter showed up in the earlier part of the decade Calgary wasn’t exactly a ‘hot-spot’ for players to play. But, and I give Sutter credit for this, times have changed and players seem to not hate coming to Calgary now. Maybe it’s time that Sutter steers away from the Rodeo finalists and goes after talented hockey players with skill and actually play making ability.
How many players can you name, besides goalies, which have come to Calgary, been outside the Sutter mould, and made a significant impact on this team in the last seven years? I’ll give you a head start: Cammalleri and Tanguay the first time around. These are two players that posses an un-canning amount of offensive skill, yet we decide to let Cammy leave despite having a career year playing alongside Jarome.
My point is, and yes I do have a point, is that the league is better fit for the Cammalleri type player and less for the grinding farm boy. Grinding farm boys work really hard but when it comes to scoring goals, it seems that skill is able to do that on a more consistent basis.
I just want to see a change -- a change in mindset and a change in direction. Sure the Flames are 3-2, but how long can they keep it up scoring 1.8 goals per game? Will Kipper have to set a ridiculous shutout record for the Flames to even have a faint whisper of making the playoffs?
It’s not good when fans are shocked to see their own team score a goal. And it’s really sad when you would almost rather want to watch an Oiler’s game than a Flames game because you know something will happen.
Back to Brodie, and the funny thing about it all is that didn’t play like your average farm boy. He played with some offensive flare and had some excitement – something this team lacks a lot of.
And it’s not that I disagree with the demotion, as I realize players need time to mature, it’s that I disagree with what they kept or picked up in his stead. Why pick up Mikkleson? Why keep Staios? Despite Sarich’s play of late, why is he still here? And for that matter why pick up Morrison when you had the opportunity to let Backlund break out of his shell? Why have not one but two tough guys on your team? I could go on, but I digress.
As you can tell the 1-0 shutout victory over the Preds didn’t exactly prove to me that the Flames are better than they are. What if it had been the other way around? A lot of Flames fans would have a different outlook if the team had been shutout for the third time in its first five games – which was a very near reality.
The same problems are plaguing this team over and over again (Eight goals in five games). Some players may different, but one thing remains constant: the man upstairs.