VOICE OF THE NATION - FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Vintage Flame
November 10 2011 02:52PM

 

Unfortunately this is a story that is becoming all too familiar. The Flames tendency to take one step forward and then one, or even two, steps back is starting to take its toll on many people. There are more questions arising each day than answers can be provided. What has me scratching my head is that if the fans, players, coaches and management are all asking the same thing... then why the hell isn't something being done about it? The buck stops somewhere eventually and when it does, the sounds of the death knell may not be too far behind.

Before we all get too excited and up in arms, or before icedawg goes and punches jeremywilhelm's cat, let's slow down and take a look at what it is everyone is saying. Is everyone just throwing out cliches and lip service, or are they saying the right things, and we're just not listening? The other night I was really trying to listen to Feaster, in his 1-on-1 with Roger Millions. Not because the volume was too low, but because I wanted to listen for something written between the lines, that I had somehow missed up until now.

S#!T FLOWS DOWN HILL

 

 

So that should take care of the trade rumours... for now. What struck me as funny was when Feaster started talking about patience wearing thin. I wonder to whom he is referring to specifically? I'm wondering if there is not some dissension building between the coaching staff and management. I have to believe that all levels of this organization are feeling frustrated. What was going to be the reaction of Sutter and the players to what Jay had said publicly? Well when Sutter was asked to comment on the statements made by the GM, he turned it around on the media.

"What was our record in the last six games? 4 and 2? That's positive. I'm not answering that question." - Brent Sutter

Interesting? i thought we were all on the same page here and especially Jay and Brent was spoon feeding the media from the same soup bowl. However, that may not be the case anymore, After all, Brent has been facing major criticism from the fan base, not that we as fans carry any decision making weight to begin with, but Brent has to be feeling just as much pressure from above as the players, if not more. What really made me think there might be a crack in the armor of this united front was what Brent had to say later in the scrum.

"What's being said elsewhere is, it has no bearing on how we have to go about our business downstairs here."

This statement really caught me off guard because although this is a fairly generic statement made by coaches all over the league, Brent made this one just a little more targeted at the end by adding in "our  business downstairs here." I may be reading too much into that, and I hope I am, but what this tells me is Sutter is feeling the heat from high upon Mount Olympus and perhaps is just as frustrated with management's reluctance to make a deal, as he is with the players lackluster play. He is obviously doing his part to communicate this sentiment to Jay, as he has no problem putting over $7.7 Mil in the press box, between Morrison, Hagman and Sarich. The team philosophy of 'Meritocracy' seems to be hit and miss and only apply to some players. For the record, despite what some have said around Flames \Nation and on Overtime, the Flames are not going to bench Jarome Iginla. It may not seem fair to some or even right to most, but let's face it, it's just not going to happen, nor should it.

For the life of me, I will never know what merit PL3 has that warrants him being put into the line-up over Nik Hagman. In talking with Steinberg on overtime, he said he hasn't been that overly impressed with the play of Hagman. Fine, he may not be playing good to great hockey, but he is sure a hell of a lot better option than Lablond. Especially given that Clutterbuck was a scratch from the Wild's line-up. Even if Kyle did dress, Jackman is more than capable enough to square off against him if needed. Add to the fact that when we did see two fights ensue, it was Jackman dancing with Staubitz, and Iginla to drop the gloves with Johnson. PL3 was nowhere to be seen. Its decisions and moves like this that adds to the frustration that comes from what is deemed the 'effort' that is being displayed on... oh let's say the power play?

The recent game against Minnesota, had to be evidence of that. The Flames came out like gang busters and were all over the Wild but couldn't manage to put themselves into the driver's seat. Once again it was special teams that beat the home team, not the opposition. In the comments made after the game by both players and coach, the power play was the topic. Sutter was so infuriated that he didn't even want to discuss the matter. Rather, he focused his comments not on the play of the team, but how certain players play on special teams. One of his targets was Alex Tanguay. Sutter was so bold as to say Alex was an "easy" player to play against on the PP, because the opposition knows he is always looking to pass off to Jarome. It makes it very easy to play against him in that situation. Can't argue with that! Tanguay has a great shot and the bottom line is, he needs to use it more. He may be the Flames top scorer, but let's face it, he should have more. According to Brent, Tanguay can shoot the puck just as good as anyone on the team. There is no doubt that Iginla is solely a trigger man; his bread and butter is the one-timer from the top of the circle. However, if that play isn't there, then the other four guys have to realize that they can't just stand in the same spot and expect him to eventually get open.

Holding the puck too long on the point, compounded with the lack of movement from the forwards down low, and there should be little surprise as to why the Flames went 0 for 7 and blew 17 min in PP time last night. I've seen quicker movements on a chess board.

"We know what's at stake..."

I certainly hope Alex believes in what he is saying; that the team does know what's at stake. I'm no PP specialist but from what I saw, the problems the Flames have on the power play are not special teams issues; they are basic hockey issues. Making more than two consecutive passes in a row, knowing that when you are on the right point, you  probably shouldn't bounce a pass to the bottom left corner; I'm looking at you Olli Jokinen. This seems like a pretty basic issue, and the players should know better... then again, if they did, they probably wouldn't be 2 for 35 at home.

StanBERG?

 

I would be remiss if in my role as "Voice of the Nation" if I didn't mention the events following the Colorado game, Saturday night at Schanks. We all know the popularity and what a great job our own Pat Steinberg does with Overtime. I think Pat and Rob, and now Bryn deserve all the credit in the world for the work they put into the Flames broadcasts and I think they deserve even more credit when you take into account that for all road games, they put themselves out in the open at Schanks, where let's be clear, anyone has open access to them!

That brings me to our good friend Ryan. To say that Ryan is a fan does not even begin to scratch the surface. He was at Schanks for the game, with a buddy that had flown in from Winnipeg to catch the Stamps - Bombers game. They were in fine form by the time Mr. Steinberg had started Overtime.

When Ryan walked by the Fan960 booth and saw Steinberg doing overtime, live AND in colour... well this was like Christmas just came early to the young lad. He was up and over the glass, getting my attention, as not to disturb "P-Stein". He asked if Pat was actually doing OT live from the bar and when I said yes, I swear to God he squealed. He asked who I was, to which I replied, "no one special".. but he was already on cloud nine and asked if he could buy Pat and I a drink. I told him I would talk to Pat during the next break, but it would have to wait till after the show. From that moment on, this dude let me know whenever he so much as moved 10 ft from his last check-in point. He would walk by with friends, yelling Pat "effing" Steinberg... Oh and the dude from Flames Nation.

When the show had come to a close, I'm sure Pat was anxious to get out and go home... Ummm .. Nope. This guy had eagle eyes on Pat as he walked to his car, promising every 5 steps, that he was coming back. "Don't you "effing" leave P-Stein. Then he would turn to his friends.. "Do you know who THAT is? That's Pat 'effing' Steinberg! P-Stein!!" I swear he said that like 20 times over the course of us being there.

Pat asked me if I had time for a drink. Being the good friend I am, there was no way I was leaving him there alone. Having flashes of that movie Misery going through my head. In the end, we both made it out unscathed, and with that, and without further ado.. I give you, P-Stein's mancrush... Stan err.. Ryan!

 

 

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 Domebeers.com
November 10 2011, 03:17PM
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Wait, you think Bryn is doing a good job?

Good article besides that, but I think the 'frustration' out of the front office is a bunch of BS. As we have said a million times, most people would have pegged this as a bubble team, it's playing at a bubble team level. The front office shouldn't be frustrated a poorly built team is on the bubble. If they are, that means they screwed up by overestimating their club.

Sutter is gone at the end of this year regardless of what happens, but if they get rid of him as a scapegoat for their (Ken Kings) inability to put a good team together in the offseason, it will be a shame.

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#2 JL
November 10 2011, 03:20PM
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Trade someone, youth movement, or stay the course. Either way, I still Hate the Oilers.

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#3 jeremywilhelm
November 10 2011, 03:21PM
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Yes!!!! Name dropped!!

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#4 schevvy
November 10 2011, 03:26PM
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HAHAHAHA that Ryan guy looks like he had a good time! Who's all in the picture?

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#7 schevvy
November 10 2011, 03:31PM
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@Vintage Flame

Haha, that guy is making me laugh. Hey, it's Pat "effing" Steinberg. Too good, too good.

Also VF: Voice of TEH Nation

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#8 icedawg_42
November 10 2011, 04:00PM
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was this after I puked all over your laptop?

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#10 Emir
November 10 2011, 04:19PM
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For me, the jury is still out of Bryn, he has started to sound better but I find that I like him most when he has a co-host. Overall I like him more than a month ago so that's a good sign.

Hey, who can blame the guy for being excited about seeing Pat? Pat does a good job everywhere, and sometimes listening to overtime I swear people call in just to talk to him more than anything. Also, if my memory serves me right, didn't part start out on the bottom and work his way up through the fan? Gotta respect that. I think he used to produce overtime with Kerr if i'm not mistaken.

Back to the flames... yeah... seems like there is a growing divide between coach and GM. And I kinda side with the feast. If there isn't a deal to be had, then dont make the deal. This team has made far too many bad deals. I'm sure Feaster is surprised with Horaks play, I bet he did not expect to come out looking like that.

Overall I want to see this team win, but they just aren't going to. Its time to rebuild this thing. This team has no identity, no consistency, no heart, and from the dressing room it seems like no leadership. I know that this is tough on them, the players since they live this 24/7, but its not working out. Sadly, its time to blow it up.

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#11 Domebeers.com
November 10 2011, 04:20PM
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On the coach, again, I dont think it matters how he performs, Cup or not.

Team didn't extend him, and he didn't seem that upset about it. I think he was going to be gone at some point this year regardless. I think he wasn't fired in the offseason because they don't want to pay two coaches.

But what I think I see them doing is they are setting up Brent to take all the blame for Feasters stupid decision to gaurantee a playoff spot with an iffy team.

I dont think Sutter is the cats meow when it comes to coaching, but he certianly deserves better than being scapegoated for King/Feasters actions.

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#13 Kevin R
November 10 2011, 05:28PM
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@Vintage Flame

Hey VF! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was sure that some time in May or June I heard that Feaster wanted to extend B Sutters contract but Brent didnt feel he warranted an extension & wanted this year to get to the playoffs & earn that extension. I basically thought he wanted to roll the dice, have a good year & playoff & leverage himself to a better payday. You think things have changed that dramatically or is this just a bunch of lipstick? I do find it interesting that with Morrison going on the Injury Reserve there was any need to recall Byron & place Hagman on waivers. So, are you telling a team like Colorado or Ottawa or Dallas wouldnt pick a less than 1 year left contract on a player with a good upside for not even a 5th rounder??? That our only recourse here is hope someone grabs him now & probability he gets plucked at 1/2 price when he's recalled at some point in the very near future. Because that's what I see the purpose of Byron. Let him play a couple of games, send him down & recall Hagman & see if he gets plucked at that time. I really dont get it. I cant believe Hagman has absolutely zero value.

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#14 OilFan
November 10 2011, 08:13PM
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@Kevin R

Believe it Hagman has no vaule. Sorry bud

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#15 ChinookArch
November 10 2011, 08:33PM
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@Kevin R

I'm with you here. Unless there is some other move in play, and this will somehow flush itself out soon I don't see how the team can cast off Hagman and keep P3L. Granted Hagman's results have been lackluster, compared to P3L, he is a scoring machine. I doubt Lablond is even capable of scoring 5 points let alone 5 goals this year.

All the talk of firing coaches, GMs and team executives is generally boring, but I have to admit I'm getting pretty tired of all the questionable moves. On the bright side I'd like to see what kind of spark Brodie and Byron give the team. Well at least, we can hope they'll provide a spark.

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#16 everton fc
November 10 2011, 08:46PM
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The interviews and comments give me these impressions:

1. There is a battle brewing between Brent and the Feaster. Brent won't win this. He may be gone before Christmas, if the Flames skid.

2. Feaster is feeling some pressure too. And it's not from eating too much. He has made bold statements and bland moves. The fan base may not be patient w/Brent, but are they patient w/Feaster? And if so, why??

3. I get this strange sense the players side w/Brent. Or will.

4. To hear Feaster talk "hockey"... He does so like a true businessman.

5. King needs to go. He missed the boat this summer signing Feaster instead of some young up-and-coming GM. An absolute missed opportunity to change the culture and direction of the organization.

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#17 everton fc
November 10 2011, 08:50PM
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I'll get hammered for saying this... But I'd like to see Kolanos get a look if he keeps scoring at the current clip. I know he's doing this against kids and has-beens... But he's doing it.

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#19 Kevin R
November 10 2011, 09:41PM
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@Vintage Flame

How sad & what does that say about the rest of the team? So like William Wallace said in Braveheart "Burn it" (with that fake Scottish accent)

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#21 Kent Wilson
November 10 2011, 10:17PM
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@everton fc

Kolanos isn't Flames property. He was signed to an AHL only deal.

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#23 SmellOfVictory
November 10 2011, 10:19PM
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@Vintage Flame

Hagman cleared waivers last year when he had another full year left on his contract. At this point teams know what they've got for cap space on the season and he's a low risk acquisition.

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#25 Kevin R
November 10 2011, 10:33PM
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@Vintage Flame

Yeah I know. I've been preaching the no panic sell off for awhile now. I think Hagman getting waived just hit a nerve from the absolute complete garbage we got back in that Dion/Aulie deal.It even looks like Stajan will get the same return as well. You have to wonder how 3 players that were having good seasons & were not fly by nighters fail that miserably here. How toxic is that dressing room. Ohy well, lets hope Feaster can win a trade this year.

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#26 negrilcowboy
November 11 2011, 07:16AM
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dion and aulie for stajan and babs wow what a turn about for the franchise.

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#27 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 11 2011, 10:07AM
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everton fc wrote:

The interviews and comments give me these impressions:

1. There is a battle brewing between Brent and the Feaster. Brent won't win this. He may be gone before Christmas, if the Flames skid.

2. Feaster is feeling some pressure too. And it's not from eating too much. He has made bold statements and bland moves. The fan base may not be patient w/Brent, but are they patient w/Feaster? And if so, why??

3. I get this strange sense the players side w/Brent. Or will.

4. To hear Feaster talk "hockey"... He does so like a true businessman.

5. King needs to go. He missed the boat this summer signing Feaster instead of some young up-and-coming GM. An absolute missed opportunity to change the culture and direction of the organization.

Pat,

I thought flames nation called a moratorium on all the juvenile ‘fat jokes' and comments?

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#29 RexLibris
November 11 2011, 12:52PM
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Just a few points:

First, the diminishing value of the assets returned from the Phaneuf/Aulie deal must hurt. I know watching the tires spin on the Oilers returns from the Pronger deal was painful, so I speak here with as much sympathy as I can muster for the Flames.

Second, it seems easy to say that Ken King ought to have replaced Feaster in the off-season with a young up-and-coming GM, but how many of those are there that you could reasonably expect to be better qualified for the job? Too often fans (and this goes for any team) offer vague solutions to more complex problems such as "lure Steve Yzerman out of Tampa because he must always have wanted to work in a Canadian market". I don't think Steve is one to be lured like a donkey, it just isn't that easy. Maybe finding a GM in the WHL would be a better bet, but it seems trite to suggest it without being able to at least name a few potential candidates. If anyone can suggest some, great, it would certainly make an interesting conversation and debate, and for the record, I don't think I could name more than two WHL GMs so I'm not trying to be pompous here.

Third, I think what the fans need right now is another game. Preferably a win, but something at least to make them feel that the team does have, somewhere inside it, some pieces worth cheering for.

Finally, VF, sorry to say this but it looks like the Flames Meritocracy is slipping into becoming a Mediocracy hovering around that .500 mark.

P.S. Kent, I think last night's Oil-Boston game was the kind of mathematical truth you'd been waiting to see from us. I had guessed that it was going to be a bad one for us, I was just surprised we managed three goals of our own.

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#30 Pat Steinberg
November 11 2011, 07:21PM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

Party foul...even though I don't moderate the comments, weight and appearance jokes need not be part of the regular chat.

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#31 RexLibris
November 11 2011, 07:37PM
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Pat Steinberg wrote:

Party foul...even though I don't moderate the comments, weight and appearance jokes need not be part of the regular chat.

Thank goodness this discussion wasn't about Mike Ricci or Dustin Penner.

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#33 RexLibris
November 12 2011, 09:59AM
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@Vintage Flame

Yeah, when I first saw the trade I thought it might not be an entirely bad one for you guys, then I saw Aulie in there and the the first thing out of my mouth was definitely NSFW. That pretty much won the trade for Burke, in my view, at that point because he was able to ditch four contracts and could have always flipped Phaneuf later.

The Rome metaphor is fitting as it could also be extended to Darryl's tenure with "fiddle while Rome burned".

I remember those names being mentioned, and I was using Steve Yzerman as a sort of placeholder for a few different candidates. Ron Hextall and Paul Fenton I could see as possibilities, but I just don't see Jim Nill leaving Detroit to go to Calgary. If there were more on the table to offer him in terms of franchise depth, maybe, but with the mess that needs to be cleaned up and an impatient fanbase, I just don't see someone with that much clout taking that job.

Yeah, too bad about Chicago, but look on the brightside, you scored one more goal than the Oilers did last night. The effort last night for the Flames was better too. Good scoring chances from what I saw, and guys were looking to take the shot themselves rather than just scan for where Iginla was whenever the puck was on their stick.

I like the work harder, not smarter. On that note, if Brent Sutter is fired around Christmas my leading candidate for coaching the Flames, again this if from Feaster's claims of wanting to steer a veteran team to the playoffs, would be none other than... MacT. I know, but stranger things have happened. And think of the photo op when they announce him, he could pose with Harvey the Hound!

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