There is a growing sentiment among Flames fans, the media covering the Flames, and the Flames blogosphere that Darryl Sutter aka Daz in KingJafi lingo has been wronged. It is amazing how quickly memories fade, especially in the mind of those that follow the Flaming C. Its become mind boggling to me that Daz apologists are appearing more and more as the Flames fight for a playoff spot. It appeared to hit a crescendo around the Heritage Classic but the movement appears to still be alive and well today. I anticipate the amount of apologists dying down tonight, depending on the outcome of the Flames/Kings game, but the fact remains that it is preposterous that they even existed in the first place. The fact they did really scares me...it says something about Flames Nation. I'll remain optimistic about that and attribute it mostly to a jilted following that has been on a rollercoaster since 2004 and of which the last year was equivalent to a 100 foot bungee jump. In other words, I see where they're coming from...but I don't agree...am kind of annoyed by it all and find it necessary to refresh everyone's memory today.
This current Flames team is not good enough to be a legitimate playoff team. They simply aren't good and when looked at in a 5 year window, there's been a steady decline from division champions to fringe team...at least it wasn't to cellar dweller (that way the seasons have been bearable to watch) but irrelevant in the big picture nonetheless. And while a team's performance is based in part on the the players, Daz' guidance got the team here. When examining this issue, it is important not to be blinded by the post-Daz pop (ie. the Flames' record from late December 2010 to the present). So this leads me to believe that the fact there are even Daz apologists is solely based on this pop, which under the same line of reasoning we should start mailing petitions to Naheed Nenshi's office in support of renaming streets in Calgary after Jay Feaster then. Apologist crowd, all together now: that's ridiculous though, bah! you're crazy KingJafi!!, we all know Feaster turned on some music and actually made an effort to speak in audible sentences to the press...and he still has the "acting" tag in front of his title...this is the team Darryl Sutter built! But alas, its the same flawed logic...this anomaly of a midseason surge should simply be chalked up to that...an anomaly. Yes this post-Daz Flames team is more resilient and has a fighting spirit they didn't have in years past, but they are still not a Stanley Cup contender anytime soon nor are they even close to the 2005-2006 Flames. That's the truth, and that my loyal Flames brethren is the team Darryl Sutter built (there's that phrase again).
So here's my attempt in bringing up things in the past that Flames Nation appeared to collectively fume about in calling for Daz' firing. Raitis Ivanans. Brian McGrattan. McBackup, and the persistence in never actually finding a serviceable backup for Kipper. Daz' press conferences which made you feel like the biggest idiot in the world for caring about the Flames. Resigning as head coach with no apparent plan on what came next and then embarking on a coaching carousel that included Iron Mike Keenan of all people. Ales. Kris Chucko and anyone drafted by the Flames from 2005 to 2008 (excluding Pelech, Backlund, and Aulie but including Daz' son, Gord Baldwin, and Aaron Marvin). Andre Roy. Incestual hirings galore. Ference and Kobasew for Stuart and Primeau. Raitis Ivanans (had to bring that one back up). Lombo, Prust, and a 1st rounder for the Joker. Trading the Joker and then playing him that night. The Joker part deux. All free agent moves in the summer of 2010. Forcing Gio to self impose a banishment to the KHL. The end of season cap space debacle of 2009.
I honestly don't feel like dropping anymore but I have to lay out the best of all...and if none of what I just listed elicited any frustration or anger on your part this should:
Not adequately shopping Phaneuf for a substantial return and instead pawning him off with Aulie to the one team in the NHL that couldn't put together a trade for a bag of pucks and a spare Zamboni tire.
So there you go. I'm sorry to be so direct about all of this, but someone had to say it. Here's to finishing this season strong and an end to the Daz apologies.