July 26 2010 12:18PM
According to Rob Kerr, the Flames have added a head shrinker to the club's subtely changing front office this week. Doctor Dave Paskevich was previously an associate professor of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. You can bet the Flames have interest in Paskevich thanks to the first item in the "current work" section of his bio: examining collective efficacy in sport.
The addition is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it's another subtle alteration to the Flames organization. While the team didn't see fit to fire Darryl Sutter this off-season, there's obviously been some recognition that things just weren't right in the org and some level of change was needed. Calgary has released scouts, hired an assistent GM and now added a psychologist to the staff this summer. If the entire coaching staff weren't merely a season old we would probably expect to see all of them axed to I think...
Secondly, adding a psychologist specializing in group efficacy in sport as well as applied social psychology lends further weight to the suggestion that the management thinks a non-trivial degree of the clubs issues are, for lack of a better term, all in the players heads. The bizarre actions of Sutter post-January last season hinted at issues that extended beyond the on-ice stuff. His Staios acquisition in particular was perhaps only ever understandable when viewed as a "character and leadership" acquisition, ostensbily to somehow calm or cure whatever psychological issues the decision makers perceived to be inhibiting their club's performance.
Personally, I have my doubts that the Flames are underachieving because of some dressing room issue. I'm open to being convinced however, so I'll wait and see what difference this makes in the coming season.