Firstly, let me say: Our hearts have never left your side either, Hakan. And you'd be a better GM than Darryl Sutter, starting tomorrow. For one thing, you wouldn't sit down to speak to the media, the conduit to your fans, some four days after firing your coach, and declare that, basically, you're awesome. (Even though, Loober, you most certainly are awesome.)
It would be a surprise, at this point, if Darryl Sutter isn't the next head coach of the Flames. And, if that was a fact in and of itself, I'd be fine with it. I have no reason to think he can't still be a great head coach in the NHL, and of this group of players. (Especially with Ryan McGill, whom I'm very positive about, by his side as an assistant — which he says he'd like.)
But the sheer audacity of the way he declared himself the top candidate — and that he could do both jobs "easily" as though it's crazy that nobody else does it — is, once again, evidence of a manager run amok, allowed by ownership and a team president to say, do and act however he might like, regardless of consequences.
Those consequences, in recent years, have amounted to four consecutive first-round playoff exits. But as time goes by, let's not kid ourselves: It could very, very easily get worse. Nobody thought in the '80s that the Flames would be anything but a moneymaking hot-ticket amongst the best of NHL franchises. Then the 90s arrived, and the team sucked for eight years and almost left town.
And you'll say, "until Darryl got there," and you'd be right. But last I checked, jobs are retained on a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately policy, and particularly in the NHL. And what has Darryl done lately, other than show a significant amount of old-boys-club loyalty and judgment shown to be increasingly poor?
Of course, he's also shown to still be a very smart hockey man when he keeps his head on straight. And I suspect he might keep that head on, you know, straighter, if there was another real hockey man at the helm instead of the guy who is, Ken King, a businessman from the media world who's damn good in the community but, damn, not so good at overseeing the hockey part of the hockey club. (There's a reason Brian Burke became president AND GM of the Leafs.)
So, for the third or fourth time, let me point out: The important part here is being overlooked, and that's the guy in the corner office, not the press box. And, I suspect, nothing will change with this team's fortunes until that guy is changed.