After yet another listless loss last night, this time at the hands of the lowly Detroit Red Wings, alarm bells are going off in Calgary Flames land.
This loss hit harder and deeper for the players, media, and fans alike. Chris Tanev, the team’s pseudo captain, was disgusted with his team’s effort, and fully shouldered the blame as any good leader would. However, this is not the first time a leader has attempted to shield the rest of his teammates and have it achieve exactly zero results.
With whispers about the future of head coach Darryl Sutter, GM Brad Treliving, and even newly signed core defenceman MacKenzie Weegar circulating amongst NHL insiders; harsh but warranted criticism over should-be superstar Jonathan Huberdeau‘s start as a Flame; and a litany of adversity including top defenceman Rasmus Andersson being hit by a car and Oliver Kylington unable to play due to personal reasons, this has been a dreadful season for the Flames.
Allan Walsh tweets at the Flames
Adding fuel to that fire last night was Huberdeau’s agent, Allan Walsh. Walsh is one of the best in the business, and is extremely calculated with how he handles his role as a player agent. He has publicly called out coaches and teams in the past, including the Flames when Michael Frolik was a member of the team, so this isn’t necessarily a surprising move. What was surprising, however, was what he said.
Walsh did not mince his words.
Calling Sutter insane and negative is a clear attack at the head coach and his approach to the team this season. Sutter has a reputation for being a tough coach, whose philosophy is to make every regular season game a lesson, regardless of whether they won or lost.
While that might work for some, it doesn’t appear to be working for the 2022–23 iteration of the Calgary Flames. They look disengaged, emotionless, and without belief.
Uncertainty looms over Calgary
Huberdeau is going to be part of the Flames franchise for much longer than Sutter or Treliving will be. The fact that his agent fired a shot at Sutter, especially with rumours of a strained relationship between the coach and the superstar, this is a big deal.
The Flames ultimately traded Frolik away after his role diminished and Walsh took a shot at Geoff Ward, but this time, Huberdeau isn’t going anywhere. What the Flames do in response to this bombshell remains to be seen. But make no mistake, things are a lot worse in Flames country than they looked just 24 hours ago.