VOICE OF THE NATION - IT'S FEAST'ER FAMINE

Vintage Flame
October 25 2011 08:47AM

 

 

No one likes to see their team or its GM pull the trigger on a move that is out of desperation or panic. Moves are supposed to be made to better the team and strengthen it when it's ready to take that next step... Or they are made with an effort to realize that they are moving in the wrong direction and they need a significant move to change the course of a sinking ship. Which category do the Flames belong in right now?

Unfortunately it's neither, and that's exactly what has fans frustrated and irate. The Flames have a laundry list of problems right now, including injuries, apathetic play from leaders and just an all out brutal power play. Top that off with two wins in seven games (only one of which was a legitimate 60 min effort) and this team seems to be stuck in limbo with management apparently not really interested in doing something about it.

Many of us have been of the opinion that it was going to be one of those seasons where you don't really know how the Flames were going to fare; it was going to be an up-and-down season, with probably more downs than ups. The beginning of this campaign though hasn't been disappointing in the terms of wins and losses; the frustration has come from how they lost. Saturday afternoon was a prime example of that, and frankly it has been a turning point in my thinking about what it is this team is trying to do.

We all realized that this year was one of transition and that the main changes to this organization were going to come in the background before they could begin to re-shape the on ice product. However, despite all my defence of this team, I sit here completely dumbfounded by what I watched on Saturday. My main role here at FlamesNation was to be the "Voice" of the people, to speak for the fans and be that optimistic backbone in this contentious season. Though lately I feel I haven't been that voice, rather instead of speaking for the fans, I have been defending this team to the fans.

 

 

I have been a Flames fan since October 9th, 1980. I was at the game, a 5-5 tie with the Quebec Nordiques. After the game, I was standing at ice level, wishing I could be on the other side of the glass, even for just a moment. I remember distinctly my father saying, "Should we go?" I looked at him and replied, "Just a little longer Dad." It was in the moment that he looked up with a smile on his face, knowing that his son was hooked on the game he loved so much, that the referee glanced over his shoulder and saw me standing there. Without disrupting his conversation with the linesmen, he reached up and back, and flipped the game puck over the glass, landing right in my hands. I quickly stashed it in my coat pocket and said, "Okay Dad, we can go now."

On the walk back to the car, I couldn't contain my excitement. When my dad asked me what had me all jumpy, I pulled the puck from my pocket and showed it to him. "Where did you get that?" I explained to him what had happened; he hadn't noticed because he was having his own proud moment at the same time. I still have that puck. I hope to have it proudly displayed in my son's room someday.

By now you are probably saying, "Nice story VF, but what's your point?" My point is, for as long as I have been a fan of this team, I have had a sense as to the direction they were going and what they wanted to accomplish in any given season. I don't have that sense right now, and so I turn back to the people!

THE PEOPLE

"There is a 100% disconnect between ALL levels of management, Feaster and Sutter obviously have a worse relationship that Sutter and Sutter do. How else do you explain the cluster mess that is Anton Babchuk? There is no one on the same page." - Colin

Is there a disconnect amongst management? On the surface, given what information has been spoon fed to us all summer, it doesn't seem like there is. Feaster told us that regardless of the contract, if a player wasn't performing, he would sit in favour of those that do. Babchuk hasn't looked all that impressive, but he hasn't played that much either. i could understand if the rest of the Flames D-men were playing well, and they didn't need the services of his $2.5 Mil contract. However, if this theory holds true then why do we see  Cory Sarich and his whopping $3.3 mil contract with a $3.6 Cap hit every night?

Now this is where the first sign of disconnect may lie. Babchuk may be a defensive liability, but Sarich has been that and more lately. He has taken stupid penalties, one after another. He has been caught out of position, which has usually led to a penalty or a goal, and has just looked old and tired out there; basically going through the motions. He has laid out a few nice hits, but at this point, I don't want to see him hit a guy against the boards that has just dished the puck to someone putting it in the back of the net. At least Babchuk has the cannon shot that could maybe be utilized on what is nothing short of a pathetic power play.

Ahh yes, the power play. Or more accurately, oh no, the power play! The Flames have pretty much defined the season thus far, with how they play on the PP. The team has really struggled in the faceoff circle which can be a PP killer; even when they did win the odd one, they showed a very lethargic breakout from their own zone. If they did manage to break out successfully, they demonstrated an uncoordinated or sloppy entrance into the offensive zone. We have seen what happens once they do enter the zone. Sloppy passing, where players are getting the puck in the mid-section, or having to try and glove it to their stick. This is with the man advantage. I can't understand how this happens. It's not like back during the Keenan reign of terror, where they didn't even practice the PP. These are basic mistakes that has fans in the live chat begging for the Flames to "decline" the penalty. Babchuk is no more of a liability than Sarich right now; my gawd Brent, Jay, whoever, put Anton back in a give it a try.

"I would be okay with this team is playing, if I knew which direction this team is heading. Are they rebuilding? Are they playing out the season until next year when all these contracts come off the books? Are they seriously considering going on a run for the playoffs this year? Feaster's rant about the Oilers at the fan forum this fall could turn out to be the biggest fauxpoo of the year. i look at the other supposedly brutal teams in the league and see young, speedy players fighting for jobs and actually having success (Col., Tor., ect.)."   - John Deere Green

This is my sentiment as well. I look once again to the Nashville game and am only left to wonder: again the Flames sat Babchuk, but this time joining him in the press box was Nik Hagman. Why? I'm not criticizing the decision to dress Roman Horak. On the contrary, I like Horak's game and I think Calgary should be dressing him on a nightly basis, if their plan is to go through this season without a significant roster move. But why sit Hagman over someone like Stajan? Nik has shown effort and determination to improve upon his, wait for it...less than "mediocre" play from last year. There, I used the "M" word for the first time.

As we got to speculating in the chat room, many thought that maybe Hagman was being sat because the Flames were or had negotiated a trade. that would make sense, and it started to create more talk about where he might be going or who might be coming back this way.

Of course this was all on the back of rumours of Rene Bourque possibly being traded, as Darren Dreger had reported teams were interested. As the day went on, long after the game had ended, there was still no word on Hagman or any trade. At least not until the news broke about the Canucks acquiring David Booth from the Florida Panthers. I for one was flabbergasted at that point. As a fan, I was dismayed as to how the Canucks could offload some undesirables and pick up a player of Booth's quality, yet the Flames seemed more than content to leave $5.5 M in the press box and just go about their day?

 

 

Now of course, there is a flip side to all of this right? Right? Are the fans so afraid of what happened last year that we are hitting the panic button way to soon? After all, San Jose is sitting in 13th place in the West and the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, are 12th in the East.

"I'm sorry, but we're 7 games into the season. Seven! There's still 75 games left in the season. If this play continues after 30-40 games, fine, then you can blow it up. But any major trade right now would be extremely reactionary and in my opinion, stupid. So would firing Brent and/or Feaster. Give them a chance. it's not like we're 0-7. The Flames are a bounce away from being 3-3-1. Relax guys" - schevvy 'do you wanna?'

Right you are schevv! And yeah, there are dominant teams that have struggled out of the gate. The only difference is that these are much better teams and we all know that eventually...no, sooner rather than later, they are going to start filling the net.

Kent has stated, many times, that the Flames aren't as bad as they appear, and I agree with that whole heartedly. The problem I have is that while their skill level isn't as bad as it appears, their work ethic and complacency is. P-Stein said in one of his post game articles that the Flames have to keep pace with the rest of the Western Conference. They can't afford to fall too far back of the pack because they will not be as fortunate as last year and go on some magnificent run where they tear up the league. While I think it is still possible, it's definitely not probable.

Feaster needs to look hard and long at what this season's objective really is. If he is playing out this season to shed contracts and cap space next year, then he should be doing everything possible to let kids like Horak play as much as possible. If he is truly concerned about sitting contracts, then guys like Sarich and Stajan can sit, and guys like Babchuk and Horak should be in, so they have significant playing time under their belts come next year, for when the next wave of kids come up through the ranks.

If he is serious about making the playoffs this year, then he has to identify what changes need to be addressed immediately. If you are going to sit Hagman for no reason, then you had better have a trade in the works; your David Booth is out there somewhere. if you are getting calls about Rene Bourque, you better be listening at least. You may not like the offers coming in and that's fine, then you stick to what you have - but you should be exploring all options from all markets.

"...if this team isn't 5 games above .500 by Dec 1, visions of playoffs going in your head will be drug induced. everyone knows this team will be getting younger next year (ir)regardless if minor trades happen. If Feaster & King don't start getting the word out that they are willing to listen to significant offers on major assets at that point, then we truly do have the wrong people driving the ship. I truly do feel Feaster is making the players determine the decisions of how this is going to go, and him, Sutter & King have given a date of which the players need to prove they are truly that playoff calibre team they said they were in the exit interviews last April. Explains Sutters determination to play Karlsson more, we have to know what we have & that will only happen by seeing him play games. any major trading now will be fool hardy. many fans don't realize these are win, win times for us, if we do well, then I'll be thrilled for the players & the franchise will be winning & its exciting. if we suck, then this team has huge changes coming & that's a little scary but also exciting" - Kevin R

Bingo! It appears that Jay is content to let players determine their own fates, but in the meantime, the players are putting Feaster into a talent famine that is going to make it more difficult to receive these "significant offers". With 12 contracts coming off the books at the end of the year, I'm worried about the season long famine driving the Flames into a free agent feeding frenzy of the same old, same old... well mediocrity (Dammit, twice I've used that word now).

Better the Flames take a more progressive approach. Move pieces here and there. build the base for the new foundation that is undoubtedly coming. Feaster doesn't need to jump head first into the pool, but I'd like to know that he at lest knows the depth and temperature of the water. The Flames have struggled with their 'identity' for years now. you can't stand at the crossroads and try to peak down each path to see which is the better route. Pick a direction Jay, and you will find your identity once again.

E42f2ca09dfb26046c3060ff46473aff
Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 10:41AM
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@ Rain Dogs - banking on being able to sign Suter or Parise or some other UFA stud is pure folly and a poor way to plan to build a team. See Brad Richards for more details.

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#2 smtorsch
October 25 2011, 11:23AM
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Check out NHLNumbers or Capgeek right now and see how much cap space the Flames have available this offseason. They'll have just under $22M with 13 players signed. Sounds nice, right?

Now look at how much cap space everyone else will have. Did you know that 16 teams will have more cap space available than the Flames? Among those teams are the Oilers, Red Wings and Predators.

The Flames managed to find themselves in a position to make some noise with free agent signings in a year where everyone, including some good teams, have cap space. Everyone overpays UFAs every year and that's okay if the player is really good. I'm looking forward to the Flames overpaying for even middling talent next July.

Suter would make a fine addition to the Red Wings who will be looking to fill a hole on their defensive line when Lidstrom retires (and Stuart becomes a UFA). We should all cast aside any allusions that Suter is coming to Calgary. Likewise, if I'm the Oilers, I'm backing up the Brinks truck for Rinne (and probably taking a serious run at Suter too) to address the glaring weaknesses in that lineup. If those guys ever get serious about their defencemen and goalies, the rest of the league is going to have to sit up and take notice.

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#3 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 06:48PM
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I think it's just that Sutter is terrible. The guy has had over 2 years to figure this team out. His system is terrible, and he has no idea how to manage his players.

Please please please getting me a coaching change for Xmas?!?!

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#4 Colin
October 25 2011, 07:08PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

I think it's just that Sutter is terrible. The guy has had over 2 years to figure this team out. His system is terrible, and he has no idea how to manage his players.

Please please please getting me a coaching change for Xmas?!?!

The problem with that theory though is asuming that D. Sutter never interfered with the team, and taking Feaster et al. at their word is that pretty much happened all the time. Just as D. Sutter had his fingers all up the draft and the scouts were window dressing, just like coaching D. Sutter kinda told B. Sutter how things were gonna be. The thing is, I'm pretty sure B. Sutter had Lou in NJ telling him how things were gonna be as well. So now that B. Sutter can run things on his own(if thats truly happening) is this how his team is gonna be, cause if thats the case, Christmas may already be to late. If this is truly B. Sutters team and he gets to make ALL the decisions, then his personel decisions are baffeling at best and disturbing at worst, leaving out someone we all see(n) in Hagman out for pretty much scrubs, the defense is a rotating door suck, how do any of these guys expect to develop any chemisty or confidence if they are constantly getting thrown OUT of the lineup.

So whats the Over/Under on our record before B. Sutter sees the axe. Also whats the bet on if B. Sutter is the first coach fired.

Answer to 1st question: 7 games under .500; Answer to 2nd question: 2nd Coach to get fired

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#5 mslepp
October 25 2011, 09:07AM
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Excellent post. Lots to debate about.

It's too early to panic. But, it's never too early to make a trade. If something presents itself that will help the team, then do it. Plain and simple.

To add to that - it's also never too early to get rid of bad contracts. Trading Sarich, Hagman, Stajan, Babchuk and even Bourque isn't a panic move if a decent trade is made, ie. bringing in speed, youth and picks. But, if another Ian White trade is made where a spare part like Kostopolous is brought in instead of a draft pick then the team might as well just let the contracts expire. At this point, the team will get better with addition by subtraction. Derek Smith is a perfect example; at near the league minimum he's clearly outperforming Sarich and Babchuk. He's no world-beater, but right now there's a half-dozen players on the roster who could be replaced by league minimum signings or AHL call-ups.

I want the Flames to move contracts so bad but I'm so scared of Jay Feaster being the one making the deals. Good GMs will move bad contracts and still bring in assets, Feaster will move contracts just to move contracts AND will probably throw in picks to get it done a la Dale Tallon. *shudder*

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#6 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 09:08AM
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I can't believe your recurrent theme here is "play Babchuck more" - but with Sarich's play, I can't argue too vehemently against it. Sheesh. I will agree with you that no one is really showing ANY type of value on the trade market right now. You can't sell "gee, he tries really hard" Frankly, the best argument that I've heard lately is that Borque may be attractive to a contender looking for inconsistent secondary scoring.

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#7 Rain Dogs
October 25 2011, 09:42AM
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Step 1: Start interviewing for a GM for next year. Step 2: Instruct said GM that he is to clean house and put in "his" guys Step 3: Qualify our one RFA - Mikael Backlund.

Step 4: Spend the majority of the remaining ~20million dollars on one or two of:

A. Shea Weber (RFA in trade) B. Zach Parise (UFA) C. Ryan Suter (UFA)

Step 5: Re-sign David Moss

Step 6: FFS: Get rid of Stajan and Babchuk...somehow...ANY way.

Step 7: Keep the low cost/value depth we have. Fill roster with youth/speed (best of Bartschi, Brodie, Horak, Holland, Byron)

Step 8: If necessary for cash, trade Kipper, find a cheaper #1. (NMC ends this year)

We aren't winning the Stanley Cup. Best case is: lesser embarrassment/disappointment - first round exit. Worst: 12-14th

We have an opportunity to end the mistakes at the end of this year.

Feaster hasn't shown me anything: GONE, Butter I'm losing faith in: GONE

Enough is enough.... we have 20 million dollars+ in cap space, are a cap team, and ACTUALLY have a few prospects, Don't screw that up. And I worry about next year with the group we've got. Hell I worry about THIS year: Don't trade any ASSETS (ie. Backlund) unless it's for Weber/Parise/Suter or someone who fits with their acquisition.

Few teams next year have the combo of: Massive Cap Space, Few RFA's, and Financial backing for spending to the cap to enter the Weber/Parise/Suter sweepstakes. We need to come out with one of them at least. (But Det. Wash. and MTL do, unfortunately)

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#8 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 09:50AM
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Amen

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#9 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 09:52AM
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Step one: Trade Stajan/Bourque/Babchuk/hagman

Step two:????

Step three: Profit!!

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#10 Colin
October 25 2011, 10:12AM
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My comment was used, oh yeah!

But seriously, thats just one example, and it is not just between Feaster and Sutter, it is between King, Feaster, Sutter. The's guys all talk a big game but none of them follow through, they ALL have no clue what they are doing, they are all going in different directions.

Another Example, the Glenncross contract, that came shortly after Feasters big statement about no more NTC/NMC except for the big star players that have earned/deserve one. Well thats not what King thought, and pretty much put egg immediately on Feasters face. The contract is still good value, Glenncross has been great but still egg on face.

Another one, the mess that is our defence, are we suppose to be offensive on the back end? Are we suppose to be defensive. Cause it looks like a lot of the guys Feaster brought in are suppose to help us from the back end in(Wilson, Smith, Butler), and even a lot of the regulars are trying to be more "offensive"(I've seen sarich a couple times now, one ended up as a goal, Tanguays, but a lot of times have been laughable) but it looks like Sutter wants to play a more defensive style. No I don't know if this is Sutter trying to use what Feaster has been given him, Sutter trying somethig new, of the type of team Feaster wants, but it looks like a mess on the ice and our D doesn't know if its coming or going.

Last one, WHO THE HELL is deciding who sits in the press box? Mostly, why is Hagman sitting in there. I'll be honest, I REALLY dislike the guy, I thought he was a bum, but this year, he's got 3 points, tied for third on the team, tied for tops in +/- and has been acctually decent to watch, and they are sitting HIM for a bum like Kostopolous. Now who is making this decision, Sutter, Feaster or King? Cause if its Sutter he needs to be Fired NOW, cause its obvious between who is sitting, how this team is playing(uniterested) and our record that last year was a fluke and wave of emotion after the Sutter firing. I KNOW Feaster wants to bring in his own guy, but if bring in his own people is like picking up his own players, I fear that decision.

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#11 everton fc
October 25 2011, 10:37AM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Step 1: Start interviewing for a GM for next year. Step 2: Instruct said GM that he is to clean house and put in "his" guys Step 3: Qualify our one RFA - Mikael Backlund.

Step 4: Spend the majority of the remaining ~20million dollars on one or two of:

A. Shea Weber (RFA in trade) B. Zach Parise (UFA) C. Ryan Suter (UFA)

Step 5: Re-sign David Moss

Step 6: FFS: Get rid of Stajan and Babchuk...somehow...ANY way.

Step 7: Keep the low cost/value depth we have. Fill roster with youth/speed (best of Bartschi, Brodie, Horak, Holland, Byron)

Step 8: If necessary for cash, trade Kipper, find a cheaper #1. (NMC ends this year)

We aren't winning the Stanley Cup. Best case is: lesser embarrassment/disappointment - first round exit. Worst: 12-14th

We have an opportunity to end the mistakes at the end of this year.

Feaster hasn't shown me anything: GONE, Butter I'm losing faith in: GONE

Enough is enough.... we have 20 million dollars+ in cap space, are a cap team, and ACTUALLY have a few prospects, Don't screw that up. And I worry about next year with the group we've got. Hell I worry about THIS year: Don't trade any ASSETS (ie. Backlund) unless it's for Weber/Parise/Suter or someone who fits with their acquisition.

Few teams next year have the combo of: Massive Cap Space, Few RFA's, and Financial backing for spending to the cap to enter the Weber/Parise/Suter sweepstakes. We need to come out with one of them at least. (But Det. Wash. and MTL do, unfortunately)

The Flames and the Nordiques - my two favorite teams!

This is the direction we need to go. Again, I'll post my thoughts, which have no bearing of course, on what management does.

1. Fire King 2. Start interviewing for a new GM (agreed) 3. Sign Moss, Jackman, Backlund... Keep Jokinen... Moss should retire here. Read on. 4. Call up the kids next season, and put them as our first line, or have two first lines... Read on... 5. Tanguay/Backlund/Iginla - this is an awesome second line. Think about what they might do to similar competition. 6. Put Sven/Reinhard/Holland/the kids on the first line. Like the Oilers are doing. But limit the situations to those that focus on their strenghts (like Renny's doing) 7. Paul Byron is a career minor leaguer. Accept this now. Move on. 8. Keep Morrison in a front office role. I think he may be someone who can help us manage our cap issues down the road. Degree from U of Michigan in Business, I believe. Good person. 9. Move Kipper. He's aging and still effective. Agreed. 10. Hold onto Horak. Keep him up the whole season. 11. Determine this season what we have in Brodie. I still have some doubts. Hoping to be proven wrong quickly. 12. Perhaps hold on to Stempniak, but does he fit our long term plans? 13. Move Bourque/Babchuk/Bouwmeester/Stajan/Hagman/all dead wood. 14. Keep the OMG line together. As our third line. 15. Hannan is a 5-6 d-man with Butler. Gio stays. You have three defencive holes to fill, as well as a goalie, if you move Kipper. This is where our focus should be, even though we can't seem to score, and our power play is poor thus far. 16. Release Brent Sutter. 17. I wouldn't get into a high-contract situation on someone like Weber. My POV. What is Suter worth? 18. I'd take Parise or Zajac over the d-men, unless Suter can come in cheaper than J-Bo. 19. No more goons (like P3L)

Feaster's not the answer. Brent's simply in a bad situation. That's my rant! Good post, Vintage.

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#12 marcus
October 25 2011, 10:37AM
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I could see how the Dutter idea of having a bunch of 20 goal scorers that amount to a greater whole was accepted with management, because after the lockout, the best GM's would be the ones that knew what a successful organization looked like. unfortunately for all of us that strategy was wrong when you couple it with a heap of NMC's.

Feaster has a plan to turn this club into a perennial contender and we have to wait til al least next season to wait and see what the future may look like. This team is by and large Darryl's apathetic heap of ripe fertilizer. It's so hard to watch I have stopped going to games.

I have 3 tickets available to virtually any game at face value: $99 Each. info@poggenpohl.ca

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#13 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 10:38AM
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Good article VF, but I have to disagree on Horak. Just like Backlund should've been last season, Horak would be far better served being a #1 centre, playing 25 minutes/game, 1st pp and pk, 1st and last minute of each period, etc. in the minors. The goal is for him to be an offensive player at some point, not a 3rd or 4th liner. See Boyd, Kobasew, Lombardi and Saprykin for reference. The Flames are masters at turning players with potential into sub-standard grinders. Bouma would be a better choice to fill that spot right now. No need to rush the development curve of the few great prospects we do have. Speaking of which, Horak will hopefully make me eat my words over the Erixon deal.

Look, I hate to keep harping on Iggy, but when people talk about change I think it's time - in every aspect of the organization. His fault or not, outside of one miracle lightning-in-a-bottle run we have won nothing with him and he's getting old. We need to usher in a new era with a new leader and a fresh face.

Same goes for all Sutters. I can't believe that we've had 3 of them for coaches, 1 a GM and employed 6 of them I think (possibly at one time). We always seem off the board when it comes to coaches. Why can't we ever just hire a good, well-respected NHL veteran coach?

The more time that goes by the more I’m sure that Feaster was King’s choice, not Darryl’s. That idiot of a newspaperman probably was sitting there one day smoking a stogie and drinking a brandy when he thought, “gee, if Darryl can’t win anymore but got us to the final, then surely the guy who beat us in the final must be the solution!”

Really, is there anyone who thinks that the Jolly Rancher would hire some overweight nerd lawyer who beat him in the finals as his own potential replacement? Fairly obvious it was King.

I really don’t think Feaster has a clue what he’s doing and it goes back to what I've said before about all these hockey guys around him. It sounds good at first, but why would you want a non-hockey guy sorting through hockey guys’ opinions? Why not just put a hockey guy who knows how to play well with others in charge?

As far as King goes...........well, he knows how to sell jerseys and drum up corporate support and should stick to that, though I'd rather he'd just leave altogether.

Button and scouting...it's actually gotten somewhat better lately and I wouldn't can all of the scouts, but again, time for new leadership in that dept. as well.

So to sum up: new president, new GM, new head scout, new coach, new captain/face-of-the-franchise.

Unfortunately we can't change ownership whom I blame for a lot of this mess. They've become the modern Harold Ballard and only care about filling seats IMO. Just keeping the team competitive enough so that the fans don't go away isn't going to cut it forever.

Like I said before, if they’re going for it why get rid of Langkow and Regehr? Langkow was for this season the best centre we had. Langkow might’ve actually made Bourque a player again too. We have quantity in centers, not quality. And it’s easy to see that the team sorely misses what Regehr brought. Cap space is coming off at the end of the year anyways so I still don't get that trade. For what they might’ve had to pay in the minors for this year they could’ve made up in savings next year. And not having re-signed Babchuk at all would've been a real easy way to save money, no?

Face it, this team needs a massive overhaul and a new direction. From top to bottom and it should've been done last trade deadline, but it's not too late. Horak, Reinhart, Backlund and Nemisz have the potential to be top 9 players. Add to that what we could get for Iginla, Bourque, Tanguay, Moss, Kipper, Glencross, etc. plus finishing hopefully dead last and getting Nail in the draft and suddenly we have a future.

Right now this team's parts are worth more than its sum.

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#14 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 10:39AM
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btw, I think Brent and Jay were on the same page last year - when it was all about getting rid of Darryl and Jay getting himself promoted. When circumstances change so do relationships.

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#15 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 10:44AM
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@ Marcus - one thing Darryl was not was apathetic.

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#16 Colin
October 25 2011, 11:03AM
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Now Roger Millions is reporting that Butler might sit for Babchuk, LOL WUT!!?>! If that EVER happens EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE FIRED!

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#19 kbignell
October 25 2011, 11:09AM
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If the flames do pull the trigger and make a trade or 2 one person that should be sent away would be babchuk, someone with a 2.5 mil cap hit should not be a healthy scratch. If we were to send away bourque with babchuk and maybe a late draft pick we might be able to get a good centreman. with babchuk gone there wouldn't be much risk taken there but trading bourque is a big risk considering he is one of our top point getters. I'm sure feaster will be making a trade asap not sure who but if he does it will be a significant one.

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#20 negrilcowboy
October 25 2011, 11:11AM
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the flames current situation is remeniscent of the maple leafs of the late 80s. everyone on a different tangent. king has his agenda, feaster his and butter his own. its quite simple, the flames are over burdened by aging marginal talent. feaster and brent are oil and water. brent aint feasters boy, never will be. the dutter fallout is similar to chenobyl the effects are ugly and longlasting.

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#23 Emir
October 25 2011, 11:22AM
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Great article VF.

Its hard to not argue that the team is going into multiple directions with no real end goal in sight. Its becoming obvious that this team is destined for bad things this season.

I find it hard for this team to start so bad when in reality it is the same team as last year. The identity of the team is one of failure and tolerance coming out the gate, and for this reason I am losing faith in the organization.

Kent is accurate in showing that statistically the team is doing worse than it should be. My question is that the same group of guys should not be coming out of the gates this poorly.

The ownership of this organization needs to stop running this like its a friendship club. If my money was tied up in this team i'd be furious. But hey, its making money and we are selling product and people are willing to buy the product so who cares, let the good times role.

I have not made my mind up on feast yet, the guy has done a lot of things to make this team better by bringing in different people in different roles. Sutter? Well... its not looking so good.

So where is the disconnect? Is it Feaster & Sutter? I dont think so, I think its Feaster & King. Feaster listens to Sutter, but i'm putting my money on King telling the feast who to sign and how to sign. Why sign babs? He scores goals, fans like goals, goals sell tickets. How else do you explain a NMC for GlenX other than the infamous horseback ride and the contract the following week.

Bottom line King wants to run a profitable business and make money who cares how. Feast and Sutter get left the job of trying to force a square peg in a round hole.

Fire King and let this be a hockey club already. Oh and ownership, stop making calgary the joke of the NHL already.

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#25 Emir
October 25 2011, 11:28AM
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Oh and a second note, could somebody write a case study on the nashville predators and send it to the ownership group? There is an amazing way to spend little money and be successful on the ice. It starts with good scouting, good coaching, and most importantly good MANAGEMENT. Focus on the product on the ice already.

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#26 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 11:35AM
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You guys aren't considering the very real possibility (and IMO, probability) that there's zero interest in all the Flames middling flotsam. Maybe Feaster has made no moves because there are no moves to be had? We all want to get rid of Stajan, Hagman, Babchuck so badly - but at the same time, Feaster would probably have to take a total bath to move them.

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#27 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 11:38AM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

If you move out Stajan and someone else .. Say Hagman, you have room for Horak to play ample minutes, provided you move Morrison to the wing.

If the Flames manage to bring in a pretty good center then it becomes mathematical for Horak. But I did say that if the Flames stand pat with what they have more or less, Horak should stick.

LOL..I didnt realize it's as simple as just "Move Stajan out with someone else, say Hagman" - that would be the thing to do, but sadly close to impossible my friend.

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#28 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 11:42AM
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I think I'll put a little clarification on the whole Horak thing for those of you who assume Horak would insantly become the #1 center.

Ward does not work that way. If Horak went down, he would probably be playing a third line maybe only 4th line role down there as well. He has done nothing to prove he deserves a top line role down in Abby and I don't think Ward would put him in that position just because he played in Calgary for 7 games.

Walter and Byron are two proven top 6 centers in the AHL, it's their spots to lose and they have done nothing to lpse them. That is why Wahl is in the ECHL. Ward believes that Wahl is a top 6 centerman for the Heat, that is where he will succeed, since he is coming off a significant injury and isnt up to the same level as Byron and Walter at the moment, he is getting his top line time in the ECHl.

Just thought i would throw a little clarification oht there for some of you who think Horak would be playing 25+ mins in Abby. He is being better served in Calgary right now.

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#29 RexLibris
October 25 2011, 11:45AM
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I have long pictured the Flames as a declining hot-air ballon, a franchise that keeps throwing ballast overboard in the way of draft picks and players in a desperate attempt to maintain their current altitude/place in the standings. That always seemed to be Darryl Sutter's modus operandi.

Having watched Feaster I see his year thus far as being fairly reminiscent of, and I've mentioned this before, Tambellini's first year with the Oilers. It was: sit back, watch, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the team as well as the player assets that best fit with the organization and allow the team to do the work in narrowing your alternatives. Unfortunately for the Flames I suspect Feaster may let the team's performance do the decision-making on his behalf.

Several people have commented that the Flames aren't as bad as they look or are made out to be. In keeping with the coin-toss metaphor, though, the flip-side to that is that they aren't as good as many would like them to be. So the question becomes: of the following possible actions by Feaster which is the least unpalatable for fans... A. Trade a package of prospects, picks and a roster player of value (Backlund or Bourque) for an impact player with a difficult contract (Shea Weber, Zach Parise, Vincent Lecavalier). OR B. Allow the team to continue it's performance and risk either the hypocrisy of finishing in the bottom five and defaulting into a rebuild or have the team perform at or above expectations and draft 10th to 14th overall.

For the record, imo if Feaster is able to move two of Babchuk, Stajan, Hagman or Sarich by year's end he will deserve some credit.

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#30 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 11:46AM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

I think I'll put a little clarification on the whole Horak thing for those of you who assume Horak would insantly become the #1 center.

Ward does not work that way. If Horak went down, he would probably be playing a third line maybe only 4th line role down there as well. He has done nothing to prove he deserves a top line role down in Abby and I don't think Ward would put him in that position just because he played in Calgary for 7 games.

Walter and Byron are two proven top 6 centers in the AHL, it's their spots to lose and they have done nothing to lpse them. That is why Wahl is in the ECHL. Ward believes that Wahl is a top 6 centerman for the Heat, that is where he will succeed, since he is coming off a significant injury and isnt up to the same level as Byron and Walter at the moment, he is getting his top line time in the ECHl.

Just thought i would throw a little clarification oht there for some of you who think Horak would be playing 25+ mins in Abby. He is being better served in Calgary right now.

You are 100% bang on with this. Frankly we have no reason to ever project Horak or Reinhardt on a top line in either the AHL or NHL for that matter.

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#31 Rain Dogs
October 25 2011, 11:48AM
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@the-wolf

1. If you have 22million in free cap space and don't plan to use it on Free Agents, what do you propose they do with it?

2. How would you propose they build the team with that cap space? Not try to use it?

I understand that focusing on only UFA's is risky, and that building through free agency has it's flaws, but even if they don't get any of those guys, are you proposing the don't try and improve their team through free agency?

There are 3 ways to build a team: Draft, Trade, Free Agents. We don't enough in Draft/Prospects to make a big change, but we finally have some. We have 2, maybe 3 tradeable assets, but nothing that will turn the team around. We have almost every bad contract coming off next year. Let's replace them with value contracts. UFA's are nearly always over-pays...if we have to, then overpay on good young players, not old, reclamation projects, when we have the ability to do so. That money will be used... so I hope we use it right, and don't sign old players into another 4 years+ of futility.

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#32 gussey
October 25 2011, 11:57AM
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After that horrible game on Saturday I decided to cheer myself up and watch the game 6 game against detroit in the 04 playoffs. This is what I saw:

- hardwork - tight defence - grit - leadership (especially from Iggy)

That team had a clear identity, a solid leadership group. To watch those games (Saturdays vs 04 game) its almost comical the difference you can see. The players on this team put in no effort, glide around, don't hit when they can and don't go to the front of the net. Then they complain in the paper about how people here get on them too much, that they are gripping the stick too much. Its crap. You are payed millions to play hockey, go hard. Theo Fleury said it best in his book, in hockey, the team that works the hardest wins. This team wont, so it wont win.

I would say this team has more skill than that, but for some reason Sutter cannot get them going. It is an apathy that they can't shake. What do they do now? No idea. But I am not confident that Feaster will do a good job. This is a dangerous road we are going down and I think its only going to get worse.

Brutal

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#33 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 11:59AM
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@jeremy and icedawg - Wahl missed a year due to injury as you mentioned and so it made sense to send him to the ECHL and try to get that year back so to speak.

It's a matter of philosophy, it depends what you want Horak to be. If you want or expect that out of Horak (3rd liner) then fine, I agree with you.

If you think you've got a real player on your hands based on his junior numbers and scouting and play through training camp then it makes no sense to me that Byron would get more minutes then Horak does.

Frankly, I'd rather bring Byron up then in a 3rd line role. To me, that's his ceiling in the NHL. It'd be nice to see them all get minutes down there, but if there's a glut at the position then you have to prioritize.

It's a good thing for your affiliate to be a winner, but they're a development league for a reason and winning has to be balanced with development under the lens of what's best for the parent club.

In my eyes Horak has better potential to be a top 6 guy in the NHL then Byron does and should therefore be given the priority in terms of developmental ice time. If the coach prefers to win at all costs over development then that's just one more problem with this organization as a whole.

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#34 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 12:01PM
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@Rain Dogs

I think they have an opportunity for both here - go after a big fish or two at UFA time, and continue to build through the draft. Whatever you do here, dont package up the plugs with draft picks..there's no reason to do that, even though that's exactly what Dutter would be doing right now. I'm uneasy about the "big fish" part, as was mentioned before re: Brad Richards - there could well be no appetite to come to Calgary, especially if there are "sexier" bidders out there. In any case, the best thing to do may be to stand pat, and let the chips fall where they may. Changes are coming after this season..big changes. They HAVE to. Maybe that'll also feature a lottery pick (sorry about your 6th place finish Vintage)

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#35 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 12:03PM
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@the-wolf

I agree with that philosophy, but honestly I dont see Horak as a top 6 guy (that said, I'd be jazzed if he exceeded my expectations and slotted in top 6)

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#36 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 12:04PM
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@ rain dogs - hey, if we got Suter or Parise I'd be ecstatic. But the odds of getting those guys is very slim and so counting on that as a method to rebuild is foolish IMO. We gave up a superior D in Regehr (whose loss is hurting us IMO) for cap space to get Richards. That was Feaster's big plan and it didn't go so well. Winning teams are built through the draft.

Remember, every other team including the ones that already have those two will be after them too and a lot of the money we supposedly have available will be needed just to fill vacant roster spots.

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#37 mayhemsince1977
October 25 2011, 12:08PM
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Excellent post Vintage Flame. I pretty much agree with everything you said. There is one aspect of the team that is getting ignored. JBo and Butler are NOT first line defencemen. Fact is out PP sucks because of this. The flames have not had a 1-2 defenseman since the days of McInnis and Suter. Just because JBo can skate for 35 minutes a game, does not mean 35 quality minutes. Until his time gets backed off, he just doesn't have the gas to be an impact player.

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#38 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 12:08PM
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No. It isn't. That was the problem with Abby before. They were ruining these kids development by forcing them to play well above their heads with no legitimate support. Getting these kids into a winning culture and playing with vets developes them properly. Quickly does not mean better. Ask Patrik Stefan.

I like what Ward is doing. The Oilers/Islanders/Thrasher/Columbus way of throwing their kids in waaaaay over their heads is NOT a good path of development.

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#39 Rain Dogs
October 25 2011, 12:15PM
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@the-wolf

If we are to build solely through the draft, then we'd be best to not use that money at all. Tank for the next four years and finish last (like Deadmonton).

I hope that's not what you're suggesting? And Feaster was an idiot for the Richards thing. We GAVE up an asset (what I said not to do) AND Richards is OLD for building by UFA @ 31 (You need 4 years to turn it... he'd be 35 then). I hated that thinking. Feaster should be fired.

@icedawg_42

Do both is exactly what I'm suggesting. Use the money on younger (26-27), talented UFA's. Don't use it on old (31+), reclamations, or spinning our wheels-type players. Then in four years (your core is 31-32) and your youth has four seasons (22-26). The win in 4-6 years approach.

If you have no goal to build from then anything will do.

My Goal would be: Young, established UFA's (those names are three who fit the bill) and there aren't many teams who will be in the action. (Cap teams with space and few RFA's etc)

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#40 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 12:23PM
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@ Jeremy - yes, they really are a development league, hence the term 'farm team.' And I agree with giving them support. It's a balance is what I'm saying and since the organization seems to have high hopes (justified so far) for Horak then he should get the ice time over a career minor leaguer. Having him play the 3rd line here will just ensure he becomes a 3rd liner the same as Boyd, etc.

There's a reason Detroit and NJ are successful, becuase they let their top prospects develop in development leagues.

If you don't think he has that potential, that's different and I addressed that.

Abby's problems in the past stem from dearth of talent overall, not because they weren't filled with career minor league players.

And I never said anything about fast, I'm talking about slowing it down.

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#41 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 12:33PM
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@ Rain Dogs - yes, I am suggesting a full rebuild. Just read my original comment. Sorry, but IMO the time for patch jobs and tinkering with the perimeter or even one big trade to mix things up is long gone. This team is past that. They can see the cliff they’re about to drive off of, but they’re too scared to veer off the road.

I agree with what you say about Richards and Iginla is 3 years older so the same applies, but more so.

It made sense to build around Iggy when Darryl got here. Jarome was 25-ish. Now? It's 9 years later. Too many fans here are overvaluing their own players; we've become Toronto West.

Really good UFA signings may well make us a playoff team again, but they won't make us a Cup contender and if you look at the rosters of all the Cup finalists for the last 5 years they're full of players they've drafted and developed and have at least 3 or 4 legit star players in their 20's.

There's only one way to get that and that's the draft. Edmonton woke up and (was forced) realized it. Eventually Calgary will have to as well.

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#42 the-wolf
October 25 2011, 12:34PM
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http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2011/10/25/2512699/stupid-rumors-and-big-name-goaltending-or-why-other-teams-should-shut

Worth reading.

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#43 kbignell
October 25 2011, 01:17PM
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@Vintage Flame

i would love to see spezza come over but the cap is wat to high, I would say someone like stephen weiss.

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#44 John F
October 25 2011, 01:48PM
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I really am a bit miffed at how we could have missed getting David Booth. We have an excess of forwards who are aguably better than what was sent to Florida. They received a 3rd round pick along with Booth, a 26 year old coming into his prime and has scored over 30 goals.The forwards who we could have offered such as Hagman would have been a better package. Did we miss out-I think so.

I'm willing to give Feaster a chance but so far I give an F to the moves.

Regehr trade arguably to create cap spacesome of which we have and aren't using for a very questionable return.

Re-signing players (no new players brought in)that were here before but to more $ and NMC's.

Re-signing a Babchul to more $ but have him sit in the press box.

Signing and sending picks for 1 dimensional goon types who don't play.

Always willing to be patient and allow the guy some slack but so far I don't like the early returns-especially seeing a player like Booth go to a divisional opponent for spare parts and a pick.

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#45 Kevin R
October 25 2011, 01:54PM
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Wow I can hear the hammering of the gallows in front of the Dome all the way down in Canyon Meadows :):) Look what you started Vintage but the timing is good, a perfect Halloween scenario. I gotta say, I am a little baffled with some of the decisions coming from Feaster & Sutter. Especially if Butler is sitting for Babchuk. I am on the fence for Feaster, I think we need to let the guy have a chance but he scares me. He's smart enough but the party line doesnt jive with the actions. Is he the savvy GM to pull off the type of deals that will help this team rebound in a short period of time, I'm not so sure. I do agree any GM coming in after last years 2nd incredible half needed to allow the players to prove they are real in the 1st half of this year. Also, DSutter left a cluster mess of contracts and traded /unsigned draft picks, which made change next to impossible. The trades of Langkow & Regehr will only be worth it if it allows us to make a deal that will bring in a player with a higher salary but fits into a longterm youth movement.The only trades I see that Feaster can do now would be the likes of Bourque/JBO/Iginla that has the potential to bring backa valuable pieces for the future. The Hagmans, Sarich, Jokinens, Moss are more valuable at the trade deadline. Kipper & Stajan will have more value at next years draft because salary versus cap hit swings in our favor. For these reasons, there is very little Feaster can do now without publicly stating it's a firesale & we are pulling the plug on the season. That will never happen & King wont let it happen. So I stand by my previous post, direction of where this team is going will be obvious by December. Feaster is a smart guy, if he truly feels he doesnt want to be the lightening rod of change, then he will need to be replaced, which surely cant bode well for Ken Kings decision making & hiring of a GM last spring. If these guys didnt see this scenario happening, boy, then I'm really worried about the vision of this hockey team going forward. Otherwise, quit thinking we're stupid & come clean and what is the damn direction of this team. If you truly think we are a playoff cup contending team, then go sell some more future & get Iggy a Spezza & go for it.

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#46 Rain Dogs
October 25 2011, 01:55PM
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@the-wolf

Ok, so we disagree that's fair.

You see youth all the way.... I see "Young Guns"

You see Edmonton "waking up"... I see them having sucked for a decade and will suck/be fringe for many more years.... like the NYI, NASH, etc.

I see Boston with youth and Chara/Recchi, I see Pitt with youth and Gonchar, I see Chi with youth and Hossa, I see Ana with youth and Selanne.

I see 4-6 year windows in this day and age. That's my idea, not saying it's the only way or correct, but it fits with JBO, Gio, Backlund, Glen X, and maybe Moss (your '82-'86 birth years).

Add a few more 26-27 year old UFA's and we've got a core for 4-6 year window. Cup contenders in 2016-2018.

Just in time for what (little) youth/prospects we have. Complete rebuild in my mind = bad for a decade or likely more, cause what we've got isn't going to be good enough in 8 years when they're all 26 - 30, and everyone else is gone.

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#47 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 01:58PM
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1. I cant believe anyone thinks this team needs David Booth AT ALL.

2. Wahl could make his Heat debut on thr top line as Byron has been suspended 3 games.

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#48 jeremywilhelm
October 25 2011, 01:58PM
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Stupid double post

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#50 icedawg_42
October 25 2011, 02:15PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Its not that I ignored Jbo and Butler but that the D core is what it is. We have no wiggle room unless we trade someone. At least with the forwards we have room to shuffle and sit people. Our only option to sit a d man is Babchuk or Sarich.

I don't think Butler is 1-2 D man either but I think JBo is. If the Flames could use him better.. He'd be better.

Sounds like Butler's out in favor of Baboon tomorrow. Everyone join me "WTF??"

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