Can we really hang this years early playoff exit on Sutter? The guy who has brought our beloved Flames to the post season for five straight seasons, and one of them to the Stanley Cup Finals? The guy who created what I think is one of the most talented teams we Calgarians has seen since the 80's? I say no. Here's why.
Our team was performing well up until February. We then got the injury bug. Badly! We lost our entire second line, and the injuries didn't stop there. We then lose Reggie at the end of March and then Sarich. Don't forget Dion was playing banged up for most of the season. How do you expect to win a division or series with those kinds of injuries?
Jump ahead to the playoffs. The second line is back, but playing at basically 65% at best. Reggie is still out. Sarich has a bone fracture in his foot, and Dion is still hurt. No one is their right mind can expect a team having their #1 shut down dman out, their #2 shut down guy basically hobbling around the ice and our trigger man on the PP playing hurt, to win a playoff series. I mean I was definitely hoping that they would, but with all those injuries it's tough.
Moving onto the trades. I think the trades you have sited have happend to any good GM. No one is perfect. Some of the trades you mentioned happend 2-3 years ago. We still made the playoffs in spite of those deals. The market for a number 1 centre is so inflated that I think Darryl had to bite when the Jokinen deal come about. I am sure that at the deadline when you heard we gave up Lombo (9 goals at the time) for a proven 30 goal scorer, you got a little warm fuzzy feeling inside. Lombo had his chance with us I believe, and it was time to get as much as we could him. I know that you will say he didn't get much ice time, but Moss played similar minutes or maybe even less, but managed to get 20 goals. That's with zero time on the top line. Lombo did get some time with Jarome and friends.
The Leopold trade was merely for depth at defense and I guess that trade proved to be important, because we had lost 1 dman for the first round and had gimps playing big minutes.
No onto the coaching. Our team was 1st in GA 2 years ago and now we were last among playoff teams this year. Is that coaching or personnel? Well we basically have the same players playing defense for us and we acquired guys at the forward position who are supposed to be good two way guys, so that leads me to believe that our coaching hasn't evolved with the game. Playfair should go.
The power play was okay all season, but never great. We were static. No movement makes it simple for the other teams box to never breakdown. Movement creates confusion, missed assignments, and that leads to goals. We have/had all the talent in the world this past year to have a great power play, but without some creativity and a green light to try new things, how can we be successful? Preston must go.
Well those are my two cents on this topic.