After spending a week talking about whether Man U could really win the premiership this year or whether the England victory over Australia will really shake the foundation of the rugby world, I am back in North America to talk about the sport we all know and love: ice hockey (or at least that’s what everyone kept calling it over in jolly old England).
Every time I mentioned hockey some guy would say, “Oh yeah, I just came from the pitch from a great hockey game.” And I would respond, “Field hockey?” and he would say, “Yeah, what in the bloody hell are you talking about?”
Well, it’s time to talk some ice hockey. I’m tired of waiting in this damn queue.
Ian White and Brett “I’m a Patrick Kane Wannabe” Sutter were dealt for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos. The trade was made for these reasons according to the Flames.
1. Once the Flames committed their money to Giordano a couple of weeks ago, it meant there was little to no room for White under the salary cap, if they planned on resigning him after this season.
2. Sutter needed a fresh start as he wasn’t really cracking the big squad and his father thought it best if he spread his wings elsewhere. Where better than with his cousin in Carolina?
3. This move frees up a little bit of room for the team this year. Babchuk/Kosto brings back roughly $2.3 million in salary while White/Sutter were taking up $3.5 million when Sutter was in the NHL.
Do I like the deal? Well I do and I don’t.
The writing was on the wall for White once Gio was signed and his play thus far this year hasn’t been all that inspiring: 2G, 4A, -10. In return the Flames get Babchuk (3G, 5A, -4). He brings in a CANON of a shot and a lot of size. This is a guy who could really help the powerplay and be that threat from the point that the team has lacked since Dion departed. Funny how Calgary traded Dion for White, then trade White for the next version of Dion. Well maybe that’s a little bullish in saying that “Babs” is the next Dion but he will definitely get a chance to fill that void left vacant on the powerplay.
In the other part the of the deal the Flames dealt the disgruntled son of Darryl Sutter, Brett Sutter, 23, for a journeyman forward in Tom Kostopoulos, 31. This part of the deal bothers me. The Flames get rid of yet another young guy prospect before he has been given a chance to blossom and in return get a ‘run-of-the-mill’ 3rd line plug. Don’t you have enough of these already Sutter?
Now, understandably, it could be debated whether Brett Sutter was ever going to get a fair shot in this city with his dad running the team and his uncle coaching it, but it’s the principle of the whole deal that makes me mad.
Why do it? For the benefit of your son? And if this is the case, then is Darryl Sutter hurting the Flames as a result? He has stated numerous times that his personal feelings have never got in the way of his dealings with the club yet I find it hard to believe that sending his son to play with his nephew wasn’t sort of, a mini plan from the outset.
So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things for this ever worsening team?
Well, not much to tell you truth. This doesn’t really shake the foundation of anything. It rids the Flames of a marketable asset in White a little too early, and it trades one prospect for a grinder that won’t really have a big enough impact on the team to make a difference.
The team has lost seven of eight games. It sits 14th in the conference, nine points back of division leading Vancouver and seven points back of the eighth spot in the West. Not the stats the team was hoping for approaching the quarter mark of the season.
This is a fragile hockey team as was evident in last night’s game when the Coyotes tallied their first goal the Flames wilted like a flower in a snow storm.
And if the Flames weren’t in enough pain, here comes the Chicago Blackhawks to celebrate the one year anniversary of the 7-1 thrashing they handed the Flames last November 19th.
Should be fun...for Hawks fans.