New Word in Calgary - "Sutter-ization"
No more of the pillow-soft, irresponsible hockey of yesteryear. Darryl Sutter is helping mold the shape of the new Flames.
Darryl Sutter's influence on the Calgary hockey scene transcends his title as head coach.
More like assistant general manager to Brad Treliving whose track record puts him continent's away from the annual G.M. Award.
Treliving is the guy who hired Sutter for a playoff drive this past season. After an energetic start, the Flames motor sputtered and the team wound up outside, looking in once more.
Whether this was Darryl's fault or Brad's fault -- or both were culprits -- is less important than this fact: The Flames must be revived.
Think about it, now we're into eight seasons since the recent core group of Flames were established, dating back to 2013-14 when Mark Giordano was named captain.
Since then Calgary's favorite hockey team has accomplished a grand total of one series victory in four playoff appearances. Hence: The Flames must be revived. But how?
According to TSN's Flames beat man, Salim Vali, the new theme is "Sutter-ization," and I'm not making it up either. Translated, it goes as follows:
No more of the pillow-soft, irresponsible hockey of yesteryear. The new improved Flames will be physical, disciplined, defensively responsible, competitive and gritty.
And that's not meant to be an Alberta joke.
But Sutter-ization cannot be accomplished by Darryl magic alone. And that's where Treliving is The Man.
To produce a Sutter kind of tough-love, Brad has imported a number of meaningful additions, starting with the amazing Blake Coleman.
Although the once third-string Lightning left wing is turning 30, he was gifted with a six-year deal worth $29.4 million; and that's not Monopoly money either. In addition to liking the moolah, Blake also had this to say:
"There's a lot to like about Calgary and, as for me, I can slot up and down the lineup."
He's an honest hockey player and will be an asset, but he's not the only element in the "Sutter-ization."
Treleving also has added Trevor Lewis who won a pair of Cups under Sutter in Los Angeles. "Versatility," says Lewis, "is part of my game."
Which means that -- with the much-versatile Coleman, the Flames will be overflowing with versatility.
Ah, but that's not all. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov was imported from Chicago, goalie Dan Vlader from Boston and forward Tyler Pitlick out of Seattle.
The Sutter-type bodies will be there and, knowing Coleman from his Devils days, he'll be a help. What is to be under review later is whether the quantity equates with quality which equates with a playoff berth.
All Calgary has for the moment is a nifty buzzword "Sutter-ization."
Stan’s Java Jive
HEADLINE: A STARRY SKY IN DALLAS
THE JIVE: Stars general manager Jim Nill scored big with the signing of defenseman Ryan Suter. Check the Dallas lineup and you'll find the likes of John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen and Esa Lindell. Add Suter to that trio and you wind up with a quartet of the best D-men in the Western half of the continent. Then, add Nill's addition of a Cup-winning goalie, Braden Holtby, and you've got the makings of a playoff team.
HEADLINE: PETR MRAZEK -- IS HE THE ANSWER IN T.O.?
THE JIVE: I give Kyle Dubas points for trying. The Maple Leafs fixer-upper has identified one of his club's myriad problems and produced a quasi-solution. Toronto sorely needed an experienced goaltender and Czech-mate Mrazek has signed on saying, "I'm excited to be a Leaf." Although Petr's weakness has been his tendency to be erratic, I can see him being effective in Hogtown. But he may not be good enough to compensate for the Leafs other weaknesses. That said, good for Dubas on this one!
HEADLINE: NICE NOTE FROM THE USHL
THE JIVE: "The United States Hockey League (USHL) announced Wednesday the 2020-21 USHL Organization of the Year was awarded to all of its Member Clubs and the USHL as a whole after completing a whole season amid the COVID pandemic.
"The 2020-21 season saw the USHL as a league complete 98 percent of its originally scheduled games despite COVID causing games to be rescheduled throughout the course of the season.
“All of our Member Clubs made sacrifices last season to come together to complete our common goal: give our players a top-tier option to develop their hockey career and life both on and off the ice,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bill Robertson. “We are proud to honor all our Member Clubs this season and commend them for their commitment to doing what is best for all our athletes moving forward in their career.”
HEADLINE: BASEMENT OR NOT FOR OTTAWA?
THE JIVE: The Senators g.m. Pierre Dorion handed coach D.J. Smith a two-year contract extension even though Ottawa missed the playoffs. Yet, it all makes sense since the club from Canada's capital has successfully developed key, young players. Let's not forget that in the homestretch, the Sens were a handful to play against. Dorion has added a pair of experienced defensemen, Nick Holden and Michael Del Zotto.
I like the Holden move. As for D.Z., Dorion boasts that "He's mobile, experienced and a good pro." Frankly, I thought Mike would become an ace when he was a young Ranger. Turned out nix to that. He's played for so many teams that The Hockey News has had trouble locating him. But maybe experience will be Del Zotto's prime asset. For Ottawa's sake, I hope so.
HEADLINE: LIKING SEATTLE'S GOALTENDING
THE JIVE: With a lot less fuss and fanfare than George McPhee achieved as a freshman g.m. in Vegas, Ron Francis is subtly doing a commendable job with developing his new Kraken sextet. Specifically, I'm impressed with Seattle's goaltending duo now that Philipp Grubauer is now one-two between the pipes with Chris Driedger.
This is not to say that either will match the magic of Marc-Andre Fleury in the Knights opening season. But, then again, it could and -- I kid you not -- it might even be better. If Driedger's notices are to be believed, he could wind up as the Kraken's leading man between the pipes but that remains to be seen. What we now know is that Seattle is set in goal.