Contrarian Corner: Just get it over with

Ryan Lambert
April 30 2011 05:37PM

  

(Hi, I'm starting a new column here at FlamesNation. It won't always be on Saturdays. Bye.)

Ah, to be Jay Feaster.

At this point, all signs point to — and logic pretty much dictates — that Feaster will be named the team's full-time real live general manager within the next little while.

But the thing I'm wondering is, y'know, when, and why?

Being in the right place at the right time has its advantages, I suppose. That Feaster was taken on as the Flames' assistant GM just months before Darryl Sutter, ahem, "stepped down," was not unlike the captain of the Titanic naming a new first mate about halfway across the Atlantic.

AHEM INDEED

Sutter was never not going to get fired, as you could have expected it either this season or this summer given the team he assembled. Whatever Feaster's role was under him (one assumes it had a lot to do with hand-holding), it only made sense that he serve as acting GM. After all, he'd won a Stanley Cup. 

But, of course, that's because he has a history of being the guy behind the guy who gets the guillotine. He was given the keys to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the winter of 2002, and led them to a Cup just over two seasons later. Impressive stuff, right? Not so much when you consider that the 2001-02 Lightning already had 18 of the players from the Cup-winning team in place, including the starting goalie and eight of what would become its top 10 scorers (Cory Stillman and Ruslan Fedotenko were the only notable additions in the intervening time, unless you want to count the '04 deadline acquisition of Darryl Sydor, and I don't).

So in theory at least, it made sense to let him have the reins for a few months and then reassess once the team inevitably missed the playoffs. But now the weeks since the season ended has stretched to nearly a month, and you'd have thought that, by now, we'd have heard something.

Hell, anything.

But the only ghost of a hint we've heard came in a Calgary Herald interview on April 19: "[W]e’ll make our ultimate and final decision . . . I would say probably in the next two or three weeks." So, as I write this on April 30, the sands in top of the hourglass are really starting to run out.

This is a Canadian team, after all. And there's nothing the hyper-investigative media like the good folks at TSN and the various local media outlets enjoy more than ferretting out coaching and front office changes for Canadian teams. And have you heard ONE name besides Feaster's even casually mentioned as a possibility from anyone reliable? Hell, even anyone unreliable? There's been absolutely nothing in the way of talk that some front office wonk from a franchise with a strong history of player evaluation — the Penguins or Predators or Red Wings, for example — being considered.

So maybe they're waiting for Feaster to issue his final report on the state of the franchise. But it's pretty easy to guess that, in general, the report will read, "The core is old, the contracts are awful and the cupboard is bare." That won't be on him. It'll be on stupid ol' Darryl. And Feaster's already had a year of working within the organization, basically measuring Darryl's office for drapes, then moving in seamlessly.

So Jay Feaster is the prohibitive favorite to become the full-time guy, right? So why wait to say so? What purpose does it serve? Are they waiting for the entry draft (and don't even start bringing up Feaster's Sutterian drafting record)? There can't be, at this point, any sense of trepidation, can there?

If they're trusting him to conduct the internal audit, they have to be comfortable enough with him going forward, and he's certainly not going to say, "Having looked at the franchise's situation, I've decided to run screaming from all stewardship of it."

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they have a couple guys they'd like to talk to, but have not done so yet for… well, whatever reason. One or two of several candidates' teams could still be in the playoffs, or the Flames haven't gotten official permission from another franchise, or whatever.

But again, someone, with some news outlet, would have heard SOMETHING by now, and hurriedly scooped the world with the info. So it's far more likely that Ken King and Co. have their guy in mind, and under contract.

It would be nice, but a little surprising, if the Flames named Feaster or indeed any other candidate (and again: it's not going to be anyone but Feaster) to the official GM role before the playoffs ended. After all, it's not like they have a coach to re-sign.

OTHER STUFF

  • Radek Martinek was hospitalized with a spine injury and concussion while playing at the World Championships because he was hit illegally by a borderline NHLer in the Atlanta system. Someone really has to step in and do something about this whole situation, because it's getting insane. The NHL and IIHF need to get together and come up with a comprehensive way to protect players from head injuries in all countries and competitions, at all competitive levels.
  • Where the hell did Steve Downie come from? Two goals and nine points in seven games, and a plus-7 because he's done almost all his scoring at even strength. People are legitimately talking about STEVE DOWNIE as a Conn Smythe candidate, seemingly out of nowhere. Why, it's almost like he blindsided us. And left his feet.
  • Hey the Flyers just got clubbed 7-3 by the Bruins in the first game of their playoff series. Brian Boucher gave up five of those. Sergei Bobrovsky gave up the other two. Doesn't it seem like, at some point, people are going to act like the Flyers don't stand a real chance in this series? They barely got by Buffalo, and Buffalo was terrible this year.
  • Speaking of teams that don't have a chance at escaping the second round: Congrats to Nashville on making the second round. They'll be quite lucky if they don't get swept. 
686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent Wilson
April 30 2011, 05:59PM
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"Having looked at the franchise's situation, I've decided to run screaming from all stewardship of it."

hahahaha. Well done.

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#2 propositionWes
April 30 2011, 06:15PM
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This post could be called "Conventional Wisdom", not much to disagree with. Very Un-Lambert dude....

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#3 John Deere Green
April 30 2011, 10:21PM
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Not that I know the guy or have any inside information at all but, I just don't feel comfortable with Feaster as "the guy". I don't think he has any knowledge of a hockey player. I would rather a younger GM with some kind of hockey backgound making trades and negotiating contracts. There must be something on the back burner when the playoffs end or Feaster would have been named GM by now. The only thing that scares me is that when the playoffs are done, there is what, roughly a month before the draft and free agency starts? A new GM may be running around what to do like a chicken with it's head cut off. They are probably screwed with this roster for another year any way, so maybe let Ken King run the GM chair for the 11/12 season and screw this team totally into the ground. I'll throw some names out just for discussion sake. Hextall, Messier, Lanny (for King's job), Hell- I'd even say Gretzky. Whatever, just get someone in here that will give this team a totally new direction, cut the dead weight if at all possible, and get this team in a winning direction again. No team in the league fears coming into the saddledome anymore. In fact, the Flames are usually a good team to play if you are on a losing streak or haven't scored in a few games ect. I'm frustrated with the whole Flames empire right now. It actually seems like King and the owners don't really care anyways because the dome is sold out every game anyways. I know that's not the case but I musn't be the only one that sees it that way, am I?

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#4 walkinvisible
May 01 2011, 07:30AM
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ken king stated at the STH luncheon on wednesday that they wanted to present "the whole package" and not just announce the GM. this means waiting until the asst. GM is selected and possibly a new coaching staff as well.

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#5 RossCreekNation
May 01 2011, 08:46AM
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Not saying it won't be Feaster, but if they had their eyes on someone like Paul Fenton, I doubt either organization would let it out, or even if they've talked about it yet.

At this point, it obviously seems like an (soon-to-be) unfulfilled dream, but I'd like to see Ken King replaced by Jay Feaster (or Bob Nicholson), and Ron Hextall (or Paul Fenton) named as GM.

FIRE TOD BUTTON

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#6 walkinvisible
May 01 2011, 12:15PM
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if king was replaced by nicholson, life would be so awesome.

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#7 todd
May 01 2011, 06:04PM
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Hey guys,

great article.

I think you're screwed with Feaster, and to be honest you are NOTHING like the red wings. Big difference... they win when it matters most.

Love

Todd

PS> we won't win the cup, but at least we're playing for it right now

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#8 Monaertchi Gaudnett
May 02 2011, 08:38AM
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I disagree with your very first statement, and therefore the whole premise of your article.

What audit have they done, really? Player interviews, and they let Brent get rid of the assitants he didn't want. Nothing of consequence has happened so far this off-season. The real GM, whoever that may turn out to be, doesn't need to be aywhere near that for it to happen.

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#9 backburner
May 02 2011, 12:04PM
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Feaster has good Mgmt sense... but lets get someone with some hockey sense... what about Kisio?

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#10 Derzie
May 02 2011, 12:55PM
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Feaster would be ideal to replace Ken King. A quick survey of the league's successful teams should yield a different set of credentials. Jay has great communication abilities and that needs to be utilized. Bring in a hockey guy for the GM job. Have him fit the mold Jay laid out for his players. Character guys with a will to win and a work ethic to match.

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#11 the-wolf
May 02 2011, 02:50PM
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John Deere Green wrote:

Not that I know the guy or have any inside information at all but, I just don't feel comfortable with Feaster as "the guy". I don't think he has any knowledge of a hockey player. I would rather a younger GM with some kind of hockey backgound making trades and negotiating contracts. There must be something on the back burner when the playoffs end or Feaster would have been named GM by now. The only thing that scares me is that when the playoffs are done, there is what, roughly a month before the draft and free agency starts? A new GM may be running around what to do like a chicken with it's head cut off. They are probably screwed with this roster for another year any way, so maybe let Ken King run the GM chair for the 11/12 season and screw this team totally into the ground. I'll throw some names out just for discussion sake. Hextall, Messier, Lanny (for King's job), Hell- I'd even say Gretzky. Whatever, just get someone in here that will give this team a totally new direction, cut the dead weight if at all possible, and get this team in a winning direction again. No team in the league fears coming into the saddledome anymore. In fact, the Flames are usually a good team to play if you are on a losing streak or haven't scored in a few games ect. I'm frustrated with the whole Flames empire right now. It actually seems like King and the owners don't really care anyways because the dome is sold out every game anyways. I know that's not the case but I musn't be the only one that sees it that way, am I?

100% total agreement.

Our owners are the new Harold Ballards of the league IMO.

"Just fill the seats baby!"

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#12 the-wolf
May 02 2011, 02:54PM
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Derzie wrote:

Feaster would be ideal to replace Ken King. A quick survey of the league's successful teams should yield a different set of credentials. Jay has great communication abilities and that needs to be utilized. Bring in a hockey guy for the GM job. Have him fit the mold Jay laid out for his players. Character guys with a will to win and a work ethic to match.

No offense to you becuase I know what you're saying, but I'm a little tired of the "character" guys and wouldn't mind seeing some "skill" guys if you know what I'm saying?

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