The key to getting a good quote is patience. While all the other boobs with microphones are asking about the game plan for the third period when the team is trailing 9-1 (let me guess, “we need to pinch?”) you just have to be calm and wait it out. Eventually your subject will honestly answer your questions simply because he has little else left to say or, in this case, he wants me to leave his house and let him get to sleep (It is 3 a.m., after all. Where has the time gone?).
Calgary GM Darryl Sutter has taken a lot of heat lately for his recent – some would say “panicked” – flurry of trades. In the past two days he’s moved more people than Allied Van Lines or Leonard Cohen and the natives are restless. Some say he gave up way too much. Some say he got very little in return. Some say Jamal Mayers was “a real steal” (a direct quote from Jamal’s mom).
When all the dust had settled, I had a chance to get Sutter’s real reaction to the trades and the people involved and to gauge what he had really managed to accomplish in the past few days (other than running up an impressive phone bill).
Here are some highlights of our candid little convo (note: Darryl will claim none of this ever happened and that he was wildly misquoted, but then if this never happened how can he be misquoted?).
On dealing Olli Jokinen:
“How can you honestly expect the troops to fully commit themselves to an Iggy and an Olli? Sounds like professors at a clown college. Someone had to go.”
On the claims these trades were done in a panic mode:
“A real leader has to know when to down the cyanide pill. Wait, strike that quote, it doesn’t sound right. You did scratch that out, didn’t you? Where are you going? Stop running. I need to see your notes!”
On the surplus of players now on Calgary’s roster:
“Having a solid sixth line is invaluable come playoff time. Plus the guy who fills our water bottles bummed up his wrist a little so we think Stajan has what it takes to fill that role.”
On trading Dion Phaneuf:
“Twenty-four is ancient in today’s NHL. Dion’s got these crow’s feet forming and I swear his hearing is starting to go. Plus that sneering thing is getting old.”
On Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik:
“I don’t know much about them, actually, other than to say Chris is evidently American and with Ales’ name you pronounce the last part like there’s an ‘H’ in it. For our fans I think that translates to added value.”
On whether the Flames are better than they were before the trades were made:
“We’re heavier and more culturally diverse.”
On whether the Flames can now make the playoffs:
“As a GM, all I can do is give my team a chance to win every night and with 97 players on the roster, that’s a lot of chances.”
On whether he’s done trading players:
“Hagman and White have done nothing since they got here and Higgins spent the last week in New York City, so it may be time for a shakeup.”
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you the humor column Loose Change every Tuesday. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
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