If it Ain't (is) Broke, Don't (Please) Fix it

Kent Wilson
August 03 2011 10:57AM

 

 

(This article is the first submission in the FN contributor search. Please add your cheers and jeers in the comments. Make sure to keep things impersonal and constructive, however. Personal attacks will not be tolerated). 

By Scott Lepp**

The title of this blog represents two different ways of looking at the Calgary Flames heading into the 2011/2012 campaign. On one hand, the team was hotter than a two-dollar pistol during much of the 2nd-half of the season and some poorly timed injuries hurt that push late in the year, leading to the team falling just short of the playoffs. Had they continued at that torrid pace, they might have been a difficult team to face in the 1st round. They enter this year with a similar lineup; itching to make that push to the post-season.

On the other hand, despite a late-season push, the Flames blew very winnable games down the stretch and weren’t able to come through when the games counted the most. The team missed the playoffs for the second straight season, with a veteran-laden squad, and the newly appointed head honcho, Jay Feaster, was unable to add pieces to the team to make it better. They enter this year with a similar lineup; expect similar results.

The argument from those fans (and possibly Flames management) of the former belief is that the return of Daymond Langkow, the continued growth of Mikael Backlund and a full Darryl-less season will prevent the early season meltdown that the boys experienced, leading to a nice spot in the five to eight range of the Western Conference and a chance to make a run at the Cup.

Those fans with a more pessimistic look at the upcoming season will contend that neither the slumping early-season team nor the white-hot, guns a-blazin’ squad we saw, are the real Calgary Flames but, rather the fair-to-middling boys we saw down the stretch. A team is generally not as good or as bad as their streaks will try to tell us.

So – who’s right? Or, who’s more likely to be right?

There are two significant roster changes for 11/12; Daymond Langkow returns after a handful of underwhelming games last season and a full off-season to recover. And, Feaster made Robyn Regehr the sacrificial lamb and shipped him out of town in return for a downgrade on D. Langkow will slot somewhere in one of the top 3 centre spots on the team, likely with Bourque/Morrison, and will be expected to face very difficult competition with a tough zone start %. He’ll be counted on to kill penalties and make the hustle plays... he’s expected to be the Langkow of the past. However – returning from a major injury will more than likely prevent Langkow from assuming that role; a role I often argue he wasn’t even doing that good of a job at prior to his injury against Minnesota late in ’10. Langkow’s goals, assists and points have all steadily declined since his 77-point campaign in 06/07 (you’ll remember that season as the year the team stopped playing defense) and he can’t win a faceoff if his life depended on it (43.7%, 46.9%, 43.5% 07-10 seasons). He barely makes a mark on penalty minutes; so either he’s one of the smartest two-way players in the game (Pavel Datsyuk), or he likes to keep the puck at a distance and reach with his stick. Should the return of Langkow result in anything more than an increase of one or two wins – I’d be surprised, and at 4.5 million, I’m crossing off the days on my calendar until his deal comes off the books (What? It’s at this seasons end? Can you say “trade deadline?”).

Now, don’t get too hasty in adding one or two wins to your Flames projection – we have to factor in the loss of Robyn Regehr first. Maybe Mark Giordano is ready to play the REALLY tough minutes like Reggie – and, let’s say he is, well – who’s ready to take over Gio’s minutes? And on down the line? The problem is that shipping Regehr to the Sabres and replacing his minutes with some sort of combination of Brett Carson/Chris Butler/Anton Babchuk causes a serious downgrade in the Flames defense 5 on 5 and on the PK. The Flames were one of the stingiest teams in shots allowed, which is one of the main reasons they even had a shot at the playoffs. The downgrade that comes from trading Regehr will hurt this and I will argue that the loss of Regehr will have a greater impact than the addition of Langkow. On that note – imagine Cory Sarich paired with J-Bo, trying to make up -- ... you know what, don’t, let’s not cause ourselves any Sarich-induced head-trauma before the season even starts!

Further to the Flames downgrade on defense comes the relative effect it will have on the goaltending. Robert Cleave did a fantastic job of breaking down Miikka Kiprusoff’s season in an earlier post. That article explains that even with the Flames stinginess last year, they still let in too many important goals in 5 on 5 tied situations. That’s WITH Regehr on the team. And even worse, I think we could all agree that on the outside, it appeared that Kipper had somewhat of a bounce-back season. In reality – he didn’t. And, the loss of Regehr will only compound that problem.

Which brings me to my final point... Jay Feaster. He jettisoned Reggie, along with Ales Kotalik-wrapped-in-a-2nd-round-pick, in order to dump salary with the intent at taking a blind shot at the biggest fish on the market, Brad Richards. This is straight out of the Jay Feaster historical hand-book. Feaster loves him some re-treads. Feaster also enjoys overpaying his stars. Feaster is known to pleasingly deal draft picks as if they have no bearing on the future of an organization. Jay Feaster was handed a Stanley Cup-calibre team when he took over the Tampa Bay Lightning. He made some nice moves to push them over the top and led them to the cup victory, only to drive the organization into the ground with terrible contracts, even worse trades and a draft record that would make Darryl Sutter look like a – if I may quote Ken King – “genius.”

Ok – so he deserves some credit in bringing back Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross at cap-friendly (but term-heavy) deals – but I’ll ask FN readers a couple simple questions: “What would you expect of the GM of your hockey club during the off-season?”... I’d say we’d all agree it would be something along the lines of: IMPROVE. THE. TEAM.

Now, final question: “Do you think Jay Feaster, as GM of the Calgary Flames, improved the team during the off-season?” ... That answer is easy: NO.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, how can we reasonable expect any significant improvement from the Flames? We never even talked about how several of the Western Conference playoff competition crazily went out and improved their team during the off-season. I won’t say the playoffs are out of the question and I won’t ever rule out bounce-back seasons – but, exactly how much is there to bounce back from? And, who will provide the bounce? When Kent emailed me earlier in the week as part of the shortlist to be the new FN contributor, he said we could be either an optimist or a pessimist when it comes to our general perspective of the Flames.

Well – Kent, I prefer to use the term “realist” when describing myself and my general take on the Flames. And, to be honest, all this realism is bumming me out.

**Scott is a long-time Flames fan living in Okotoks. After spending time working for peanuts in radio/tv, drinking away memories while toiling in the Alberta oil and gas industry and finishing film school in Vancouver, he's finally settled on television production and works on the Calgary-shot CBC series, "Heartland". Scott is a die-hard sports junkie with a passion for writing - and when he's not blogging about the Flames or the NFL or the NBA or MLB or about what was on TV last night - you can find him deep into a 24 of pil. Self-described as a slightly fatter and whiter, but equally agile, version of Ozzie Smith.

customer survey

 

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
Avatar
#1 Vintage Flame
August 03 2011, 12:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

@mslepp

Yes, he traded away a big asset, but I think the positive side of it is to consider the timing of the move.

Even though Reggie was an asset, he was a depreciating asset, and has been for the last 2 seasons. Moving him now, while they could, adds to your "wait and see" position to see if the Flames make a smart maneuver over the course of this year and next off-season. It gives them a lot more flexibility to make key bold moves, rather than seeing an opportunity and then being hand-cuffed by having to move Regehr in an emergency situation.

I guess in short.. It took the gun away from their head.

Avatar
#2 Kevin R
August 03 2011, 12:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Good article & being a fellow realist, you are bang on. But I agree with Vintage Flame. Feaster was not in position to properly utilize the trade deadline last year & their 2nd half play was a god send to the organization to buy time. Last summer, there was very little Feaster could do. You first have to plow the field & prepare before you plant new seeds. I am a Regher fan as well but it was time to move him, it was just sad to package him & a valuable 2nd rounder on a salary dump. I think ownership gave him no choice, I think they have had their belly full of stupid contracts that have found their way on our roster. Tanguay & GlenX were excellent signings. Babchuk, meh, at least it was only 2 years. Morrison is a bad signing as is, a good signing if he gets rid of Hagman, an excellent signing if he gets rid of both Hagman & Stajan. Not holding my breath. We need to take our Buckleys & see what we have with some of our kids. The light in the darkness is at the end of this year & will show the long road to getting a contender back in Calgary.

Avatar
#4 Jeff In Lethbridge
August 04 2011, 11:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Regarding this “article”, I’d say the first four paragraphs showed real promise; interesting, laying out the possibilities, gaining readers interest, promising some insight. Unfortunately, it was followed by the rest…

OK, the sky is falling; we get that.

In fact, if there is anything we have learned from the “realists” (cough) is that everything is wrong…

The glass is half empty and every move is a failure and anyone could do a better job than feaster (oh, by the way, we missed the fat jokes), kipper sucks and the only good player we had was given away and all we’ve gotten back are useless… I swear, listening to this average, perpetual second guessing and complaining often leads me to wonder if I am in Vancouver!

Rather than delivering insight, this piece offered unsubstantiated (negative)opinions. Thanks for that.

In MY opinion – we did well to dump Kotalik, even though we had to give up our top defensive-defenseman to do it. In my opinion, our (10/11) defense was pathetic, maybe even our biggest weakness, in that even though we were stingy with the ‘shots against’, many of the shots were given in prime areas, as they regularly gave up the slot and center ice areas.

As for the piling on of Lankow, all I can say is I am stunned! This man has been nothing but money for the flames, and has never been overpaid relative to his value to the team. I believe it has been Lankow’s absence that has created the center ice hole on our team which led to all the prime scoring chances against, and I can hardly imagine that him being back won’t change this, assuming he can return quickly to form.

Yes, I know all the core players are getting older…

So, we can listen to the “realists”, get rid of kipper, Iginla and Bouwmeester, who, it appears, will supposedly bring in all the best prospects in the league, and after sucking and being the worst team in the league for a season, we will get one good draft and be contenders overnight. Wow, that’s sounds so easy and so sure fire!

Or we start this season and see what happens; if things go well (i.e. continues to build on second half of last season), the team builds up for a run, knowing that at the end of the season most contracts are gone anyway. If the team falters and reproduces the underwhelming brilliance of the first half of last year, you trade a couple of valuable pieces by trade deadline…

this is, in my opinion, really the only option that Feaster has, and I think he is playing his cards well given the situation.

thanks for allowing me time to share my opinion,

Jeff

Avatar
#5 jess
August 03 2011, 11:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well composed and designed article. Enjoyable.

Avatar
#6 mats thomassen
August 03 2011, 11:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

nice style and language; a touch long. good entry, Scott.

Avatar
#7 Miles Golby
August 03 2011, 11:21AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well lepp not to bad. Its going to be tough for them to get to the playoff with all the other teams. ex: Min,Cbl,La and Stl all in proving.

Avatar
#8 Vintage Flame
August 03 2011, 11:22AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Good article Scott. Nice work.

“Do you think Jay Feaster, as GM of the Calgary Flames, improved the team during the off-season?”

If you ask me, there really wasn't that much of a chance of Feaster improving this team, this off-season. The status of this organization is nothing short of chaotic transition. Like you mentioned, this will be Jay's first full year without D. Sutter so I think the writing will be on the wall next off-season.

This year I think he did a fairly good job in minimizing the damage for this coming season. He opened up some room on the roster and quite a bit of cap-space. He DID take his shot at Brad Richards, yeah. But in the long run they were probably closer to Richards than they ever thought they would have been. Was a "narrow miss" on Brad? Depends if you see that miss as an "ahh crap" or a "phew.." .. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

What I think he was effective at was paving the way for what will take place next year with this team. I'm not as pessimistic about the loss of Regehr either. I still maintain I'm a big fan of his, but I really don't think you will see the Flames D take a big of a hit as some fans seem to think. Especially if Butler seems to show some development and promise. Mobility is more effective than bashing people through the boards in the Western Conference. Reggie was really lacking on that side.

Good job Scott!

Avatar
#9 mslepp
August 03 2011, 11:41AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Vintage Flame

@jess, @mats thomassen, @Miles Golby

Thanks guys! Appreciate the feedback. Wasn't expecting to be first up... but, I'll take it!

@Vintage Flame

Thanks for the notes. As far as Feaster improving the team, my issue lies in the fact that he traded a big asset in Regehr without necessarily improving the team and using a pick to get rid of Kotalik. I suppose we'll take a wait and see approach on Butler to see if I'm huffing and puffing over nothing.

Avatar
#10 mendicant
August 03 2011, 11:55AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

What can I say? He's my brother and I'm almost always in agreement with him. I like his writing and I can vouch for his knowledge -- not just of hockey, but most sports.

Avatar
#11 ALL THE WAY IN
August 03 2011, 12:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

One point I would like to argue is that Feaster hasn't (tried to) improved the team. This years draft was probably the best draft in recent memory, (possibly because we actually had picks in the first 3 rounds) and also he made a strong play to get the most high profile FA in Brad Richards.

With this current team, would it surprise you if the Flames finished 5th in the west? Would you be surprised if they finished 10th? I think not, beacuse the team is still capable of getting it done, as they showed in the second half of the season, yet they still showed the inconsistency of Flames past in the first half.

I've said this before, Feaster should be judged after this season when he has the money available to make his mark on this team, not to mention a boat load of rental players (if the season goes down the crapper) to re-stock the team via draft picks or prospects.

Thanks for the article, you have scratched my itch.

Avatar
#12 Casey
August 03 2011, 12:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I'm not ready to lynch Feaster any time soon. He doesn't have a ton of assets to trade, so any improving of the team was going to have to come in free agency. It was a weak free agent crop, and the rest of the league was overpaying like crazy. I'm actually glad that he didn't land any overpriced crap (e.g. Marco Sturm).

I'm waiting to see how Feaster and Sutter begin to integrate the younger players like Backlund, Nemisz, Brodie, etc.

I'm a Regehr fan, but he had some hard miles on him and was not getting any faster. Would I like to have him here? Sure. Do I think that trading him is the end of the world? No.

Avatar
#14 skirby09
August 03 2011, 12:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Not bad Scott. The blog was a little long. Also all that realism was bumming me out as well. Felt fairly negative, which is fine if that's your opinion. I would've liked a little more balance between what's working and what's not. At any rate, some decent points made.

With regard to your evaluation of Feaster. I feel like the guys hands are tied a bit right now with salaries. The end of this coming season is when we'll really see what he can do. He'll have tons of cap room and ability to maneuver so I'm taking it easy on him until then.

Avatar
#15 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@ALL THE WAY IN

Thanks for reading and for leaving some comments.

I'm excited to see what Feaster does with some cash and a full-season too, but I'm a little tense about it as well, given some of his history.

Just wait til he signs Sarich to a long-term extension and we all want to jump off the roof of the 'dome! lol

Avatar
#16 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Kent Wilson

I was wondering how long it would take for the Langkow support to come in!

I can't argue with the facts in those articles, but my opinion on Langkow is not necessarily based on the stats I provided either, rather on observation of his play during the peak moments of his last full season. I'd elaborate, but I'd go on too long. I just felt his effort level has sagged as the years have progressed and its often shown late in games and on the PK.

Avatar
#17 Monaertchi Gaudnett
August 03 2011, 12:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Well composed. Not terribly original, although most topics have already been well explored by this point in the summer. Doesn't scream "I need to read more from this guy".

7, leaving room for better and worse marks, as needed.

Avatar
#18 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Kevin R

"The light in the darkness is at the end of this year & will show the long road to getting a contender back in Calgary."

I hope you're right! It's been tough watching a team that was so close, continually fall in the standings.

Avatar
#19 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Casey

I think it was the perfect time to trade Regehr as he's probably one low hit to the knees away from either a major stay on the IR or even a career ending injury.

I just don't support the return, whatsoever. Hindsight's 20/20, but did anyone really think Richards was going to choose Calgary? Should've traded Regehr by himself for as much as you could get and ride out the Kotalik year or try to bury him in the KHL a la Marcus Nilson.

Thanks for reading!

Avatar
#20 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@skirby09

What's working? hmm - well, Gio, for one!

I was having trouble keeping this blog short as it was... but, the other side of the story never hurts!

Thanks.

Avatar
#21 mslepp
August 03 2011, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Monaertchi Gaudnett

I'd like to argue with you - but, I can't. Just told my bro I'd probably give it a 7, myself.

Thanks for the feedback.

Avatar
#22 Kelsey
August 03 2011, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Realism! How true is that!

I loved your state of the team analysis combined with the realism any long term Flames fan has had to develop. They dont make it easy to be a fan do they.

Your asides are hillariously witty and terrifyingly true. Hope to hear more from you on here in the future :)

Avatar
#23 Michael
August 03 2011, 12:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Casey wrote:

I'm not ready to lynch Feaster any time soon. He doesn't have a ton of assets to trade, so any improving of the team was going to have to come in free agency. It was a weak free agent crop, and the rest of the league was overpaying like crazy. I'm actually glad that he didn't land any overpriced crap (e.g. Marco Sturm).

I'm waiting to see how Feaster and Sutter begin to integrate the younger players like Backlund, Nemisz, Brodie, etc.

I'm a Regehr fan, but he had some hard miles on him and was not getting any faster. Would I like to have him here? Sure. Do I think that trading him is the end of the world? No.

The assumption being that Feaster and Sutter will begin to integrate the younger players like Backlund, Nemisz, Brodie.

If the Flames are in the hunt for the last playoff spot, we are going to back in the 'every point counts' mode, which means the younger guys get squeezed out in favour of the vets for another year.

Backlund gets stuck behind Langkow and Jokinen (and maybe even Morrision), Nemisz lacks mobility and is simply to slow for anything other than marginal fourth line duty (and we have a glut of these guys with one way contracts), Brodie has some skill, but the Flames resigned Babchuk and a bunch of bottom pair guys, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him stuck in the minors again.

I would love to see some of younger guys play, but I think we have to wait until next season when a bunch of vet contracts expire.

Avatar
#24 TheCalgaryJames
August 03 2011, 12:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Good read. I agree it may be a tad long in spots but that's really only a minor critique. Over all solid effort. I'm happy to see not every one is letting Kipper off the hook so easily. I understand the connection to the guy, i'm guilty of putting him on a pedestal, myself. But rose colored glasses will get this organization nowhere. I feel we as a fan base (and those that represent us in the media) need to force the issue with respect to this and that it's in the best interest of the team that ALL aspects of the team are reviewed honestly. That means even Mikka.

I really feel as though with the loss of Reggie we're looking at a make or break season with Kipper in net (at least as far as he and the Flames are concerned.) People point to his win totals as if that tells the whole story. it doesn't. He was top five in wins. sure. He was top ten in losses too (tied for 6th) and his 5v5 stats are somewhat ugly. the organization has to have a serious discussion about him going forward. he's a good goalie, capable of stealing games, but is he worth his 6 mil cap hit for the coming season?

On feaster and the situation the flames find themselves in this season; I find myself being dumbstruck by a lot of the fervour out their, mostly from oilers fans who forget their team has missed the playoffs 5 straight and finished dead last the last two seasons (sounds fun). People claim the flames need to blow it all up and begin a full blown rebuild. my take is that the flames have begun a rebuild and it starts at their very foundation...aka: management. I for one am interested to see what Feaster can do with this team once the financial shackles of the previous regime have been removed. Unfortunately, that may take a season or two.

Avatar
#25 TheCalgaryJames
August 03 2011, 12:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Michael

totally agree.

That's another great storyline to watch this year and will be a litmus test for this new regime as to whether or not the culture under Jay Feaster is truly a departure from that of D.Sutter

Avatar
#26 Kevin R
August 03 2011, 12:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

I have to disagree on the section on Langkow. His point and F/O stats aren't representative of his value to this club. Some arguments in his favor:

http://flamesnation.ca/2010/3/9/in-defense-of-daymond-langkow

http://flamesnation.ca/2011/4/1/celebrating-daymond-langkow

Kent, 4.5 mill for what Langkow brings even in a decent rebound year is too much. I agree with Scott, I am counting the days down to trade deadline or April, where we have either traded him or we resign him appropriately as a 3rd line centre at 1.5Mill per.

Avatar
#27 TheCalgaryJames
August 03 2011, 01:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Kent Wilson

my worry is that I'm just not sure what condition we're getting Langkow back in? I mean, he played 4 games last year. If we're getting the langkow who played for us in 09/10 then IMO he's worth the $$. I've always felt he's been one of the most underrated players in the league in his tenure in Calgary. I remember fondly when he was the defensive anchor on lines with Iggy and tangs, and Iggy and Juice. It was easy to get overlooked next to those guys but I really feel he made it possible for them to do their thing offensively. That was then and this is now, as they say. If he's half that player again IMO he's worth the money. I worry that's a pretty big 'if.'

Avatar
#28 SickFloBro
August 03 2011, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Nice article.

There's one point I want to make, and it has to do with supply and demand. To make my point, I will answer your two questions.

“What would you expect of the GM of your hockey club during the off-season?”

Sure, "improve the team" is a great answer, and I don't disagree. However, let's be realistic - there are a limited number of hockey players (and an even more limited number of good hockey players) available via free agency or trade at any given time. If the Calgary Flames were playing in a league by themselves, it would be easy to improve the team.

The reality is that there are 29 other teams vying for assets, and many of those teams are in better position to acquire those assets than the Flames are.

Another reality is that the Flames weren't working as it was. Two straight playoffless seasons, in my mind, is a failure. Feaster trades Regehr and Kotalik, freeing up cap space and bringing back a couple of players in return. Losing Regehr hurts the team, but there is such a thing as addition by subtraction.

My point is that improving a team is much easier said than done. No GM is out there to make his team worse (despite what Greg Sherman and Don Waddell might have us believe), but "getting better" isn't as black and white as adding or losing star players. We won't know if the Flames have improved or not until the season starts, and I think that pegging them as a worse team this early, before actually seeing them play, is more than a tad premature. I'll reserve my judgment until they hit the ice.

“Do you think Jay Feaster, as GM of the Calgary Flames, improved the team during the off-season?”

The first thing I want to touch on is prospects.

We lose Tim Erixon, which, I'll admit, I was choked about. He was an NHL-ready defenseman that was more than likely going to play on our team next year. You can point the finger at the GM all you want, but the reality is that sometimes a player just doesn't want to play for an organization. I don't think Feaster is an idiot - I think that he saw the situation with more clarity than any of us armchair GM's did, and I don't think anyone with half a brain lets an asset just walk away. Feaster got a decent return for Erixon, so I'm chalking this one up to the player being difficult and not a Feaster-sized failure.

Secondly, we changed the way we drafted this year. Did anyone else notice that instead of going with the "reliable, two-way player" with our top picks this year, we went for offensively skilled players? That was a nice change in my mind. People have been saying for months that we have no prospects, and while I don't totally agree, I think Feaster took a step towards addressing this with the draft this year. Keep in mind - it's difficult to project how a player will develop, so a string of bad luck with prospect development doesn't necessarily mean that the scouting staff has been anything less than diligent in their duties. And, if anyone points to the Oilers and says, "But THEY have a TON of prospects! Why can't the Flames do that?!" I will be very upset. They've been finishing very low in the standings for the past several years, so it doesn't take a group of super geniuses to draft guys like Taylor Hall and RNH, okay?

I think that Feaster has done what he can with what he has to work with. He has inherited a number of bad contracts in addition to an aging team that has been underachieving for the past several years. It's not as if you flip a switch and turn any professional sports team into a championship organization. Now, he made a couple of moves that I raise my eyebrows at...P3L, for example, is a bit of a head-scratcher, but no team can go without big, burly forwards to play hard minutes.

So, has Feaster made this team a contender? No. Has he improved the team? We will see. Has he made the team worse? I don't think so.

Anyways, my posts have a tendency to end up being far longer than I meant them to. Have a great day, everyone.

Avatar
#29 sanehockey
August 03 2011, 01:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Who am I to say anything... I think this was great. One thing I would say are that Feaster`s time in Tampa was mired by ownership issues which forced his hand a lot more than realized. His drafting record and trading record are not glowing though.

Anyway I mentioned this on my blog today and asked for people to come vote for you, good luck!

Avatar
#30 A2bagger27
August 03 2011, 01:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Excellent Blog Scott! A realist you are i must say. How true about Langkow. Love the guy and all he has done for the organization, but I cant see him playing up to 4.5M expectations playing first line centre or 3rd line centre. It just wont happen. At the blueline couldnt agree more. I think Reggie's shoes are way to big to fill and 5-5 we are going to notice it most. Probably allowing at least over .5 GPG more than last year over the stretch of the season. Overall, like what I am reading and can't wait for more.

Avatar
#31 Vintage Flame
August 03 2011, 01:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@SickFloBro

I might be out on an island by myself here, but I don't think the loss of Regehr is going to impact the Flames as much as we are all dreading. That being said, I'm going to be eating a lot of crow if the new kids coming up and Butler is not what he is being touted or viewed as prospect wise.

I'm going to get destroyed for this I know, but I'll say it anyways. Sarich can handle the physical side of Reggie's play. Sarich actually looked not too bad last year at the START of the season. He was punishing and just flat out laying people out. Then he got hurt and it all went to hell after that. His positional play is NO WHERE near that of Regehr, and that is where our 4 spot will be lacking.

Avatar
#32 DoubleJ
August 03 2011, 02:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

It's a good take. I think the Flames are at the spot the Oilers were right after the Pronger BS.

They need to blow it up and start over. The sooner they realize this the quicker the recovery. The good thing with Calgary is they actually have some good assets to trade off and the rebuild would probably only take a year or two.

On the article I gave it a four. I think the article was ok, a little too much common knowledge and too long to get to the point.

For a "try out" article it was to blah...safe might be a better description.

It was just ok.

IMO.

Avatar
#33 daclutch
August 03 2011, 02:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Great Artical.. just needs some hard Numbers to back up what your saying.

Avatar
#34 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
August 03 2011, 02:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

well done Scott.

you make a good argument, and this is a well written article.

however, the point I disagree with is the expectation that Feaster should've tried (harder?) to actively improve this team.

On one hand, he did try. Had he signed Richards it would've immediately improved this team, without a doubt. That said, it has/was long rumoured that NYR were Richards prefered destination so I'm sure the Flames were not surprised by the final outcome, and really fans shouldn't be either.

the second point I'll make is the Flames aren't in a position right now make vast improvements to the one ice product. The reality of their situation is; this is a team bloated with marginal talents, undesirable contracts, little cap space and few quality prospects. they're inbetween a rock and a hard place. Simply put, the Flames would be wise to tread water this year and look to shift gears come next offseason.

Expecting Jay Feaster to dramatically improve this particular team during this offseason just is not realistic.

Solid 7.

Avatar
#35 Palt
August 03 2011, 02:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Miles Golby wrote:

Well lepp not to bad. Its going to be tough for them to get to the playoff with all the other teams. ex: Min,Cbl,La and Stl all in proving.

I dont think Minnesota improved. They dealt their best defenseman, Brent Burns, and their one of their best forwards, Martin Havlat, to San Jose. They got Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, both who were struggling even when they were playing with Joe freakin Thornton.

Avatar
#36 Josh
August 03 2011, 02:34PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
daclutch wrote:

Great Artical.. just needs some hard Numbers to back up what your saying.

He did link Robert Cleaves article on Kippers struggles

Avatar
#37 mslepp
August 03 2011, 02:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@SickFloBro

Good stuff, Ryan. Long or not, you made some solid points. I think when it comes to our difference in opinion on the Flames that only a wait-and-see approach, as you suggested, will prove who's right/wrong.

I'm not ready to string up Feaster by any means, but I do have high expectations for him. Maybe I'm too harsh on him, but I feel like the only way I can give him a passing grade thus far is to lower my expectations, and I won't do that.

Avatar
#38 mslepp
August 03 2011, 02:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Kent Wilson

Kent - I'd like to know if you think we can expect above-average 5vs5 play from Langkow again, coming back from the injury... you never really addressed that in your celebrating Langkow article. Just curious.

Avatar
#39 mslepp
August 03 2011, 02:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@joey joe joe jr shabadoo

sooooo... 'A' for effort for Feaster? I guess I'm a tougher grader than you! I'll judge him on his results, not his attempts; attempts that I'll argue, much like you mentioned, were more than likely futile from the get-go.

I never expected dramatic improvement from Feaster, but I expected improvement. I don't feel that's unrealistic, and if his work this off-season is deemed satisfactory by Flames management above him, then I have to question them as well.

Thanks for the feedback!

Avatar
#40 dick
August 03 2011, 03:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Good Blog. I like guys who try to be realistic. As far as Feaster is concerned, I agree with the guys who said he really was in a tight box to really do much to improve the team this off season. In fact I don't think it will be easy for him to vastly improve the team in a year or two. This will be along term project. The reason I say that is that most teams are now tying up their better players to longer term contracts, so less will be available through free agency, and those that do become available, get get vastly over paid and to terms that are too long. Just look back to July 1 of this year. If we thought we had a lot of bad contracts under Sutter's reign, signing July 1 free agents will get you right back into that problem. With these issues it makes it much harder for a GM to make quick improvements. To improve teams now it will take good trading,good development of draft picks and some luck. Hoping for some Feaster magic in a year or two isn't realistic in my mind.

Avatar
#42 TheCalgaryJames
August 03 2011, 03:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@mslepp

I think if I was to grade Feaster at all it would simply be a grade of 'Incomplete.'

I'm of the opinion that this organization is at a real crossroads in its evolution. Despite what seems to be the consensus, i believe what we're looking at here in Calgary is a kind of rebuild. To be sure, it's not the 'burn it to the ground' method of rebuild but it is certainly building towards a future. What that future is remains uncertain but at least for the first time in a long time we're hearing this organization talk about the future and attempt to build towards it.

The reason this is significant is because the decisions Feaster makes now will decide what kind of future that is not to mention exactly how long a rebuild we're talking about. I believe that under the current set of circumstances Feaster's hands are tied. At least for this season. The only substantive thing Feaster can do at the moment is to free up space via the cap and try and give him self some wiggle room.

The point is: Rome wasn't built in a day. It's a deep hole this team needs to crawl its way out of... though perhaps not as deep as reported. It doesn't make any sense, at this point, to tear it all down and start again. There's just as much uncertainty in that route as there is in the Flames' current trajectory. Sometimes doing nothing is the best move.

... 'Incomplete' would be my grade

Avatar
#43 RexLibris
August 03 2011, 03:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Good article, but can you write a blog for the Nations without adding token statistics? I thought that was in the Nations constitution somewhere.

Personally, I enjoy reading somebody's "take" on the situation, as long as it is informed, rational, and well thought out.

I think the Flames are in a position where they could either capitalize on, or be crushed by, the parity in the western conference right now. They sit as tweeners where, if everything breaks right and some players have good-to-career seasons, they could finish 5th. Or, a few bad breaks, an injury to a cornerstone, or simply bad seasons by more than a handful of players will have them finish 10th or lower. Their veteran presence helps them deal with the marathon of a season so that they can come back from a bad start.

Scott, I totally agree on your assessment of Feaster. His drafting record is abysmal, his trades and signings in TB were almost enough to destroy that team. That being said I don't see his stay in Calgary being very long. I think he'll keep the seat warm for whoever is tagged to come in and clean up what's left of the Sutter era, as well as Feaster's mistakes, and start building the team around a new group of players. His trade of Regehr essentially bought them time, but didn't improve the team. At worst it moved out a good player in order to maintain the status quo rather than improve by bringing in new, applicable talent.

I just don't think he's doing your franchise justice right now.

Avatar
#44 FireOnIce
August 03 2011, 03:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Article was decent, flow was ok except for some paragraphs that were basically one long run sentence.

In regards to Langkow's FO percentages, see Cam Charron's article attempting to correlate FO% to scoring/something tangible to a team winning. It basically means squat. Langkow drives the puck up the ice and tends to keep it out of our zone, plain and simple. We need that and he provides it.

Other news - Weber awarded $7.5M x 1yr and Colin White signed by SJ for $1M x 1yr. Thoughts?

Avatar
#46 SickFloBro
August 03 2011, 04:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Vintage Flame wrote:

I might be out on an island by myself here, but I don't think the loss of Regehr is going to impact the Flames as much as we are all dreading. That being said, I'm going to be eating a lot of crow if the new kids coming up and Butler is not what he is being touted or viewed as prospect wise.

I'm going to get destroyed for this I know, but I'll say it anyways. Sarich can handle the physical side of Reggie's play. Sarich actually looked not too bad last year at the START of the season. He was punishing and just flat out laying people out. Then he got hurt and it all went to hell after that. His positional play is NO WHERE near that of Regehr, and that is where our 4 spot will be lacking.

Hey Vintage!

You know what? You're not completely alone. :) While I agree that Regehr is a superior player, I also agree that Sarich CAN handle that physical role.

Sarich put his skills on display in 2008 during the Flames' playoff series against the Sharks. We lost that series, but Sarich was physically dominant.

Hopefully he can keep that level of play up!

Thanks for the comment, sir.

Avatar
#47 everton fc
August 03 2011, 04:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Not a bad post. I do take the same side as Kent, though, with regards to Langkow.

Onto the question posed above:

"'Do you think Jay Feaster, as GM of the Calgary Flames, improved the team during the off-season?'"

I think a better question would be: "Does anyone really think Jay Feaster is the GM to guide the Flames to a Stanley Cup?" Does anyone here have this level of confidence in Feaster, or are we simply waiting for his reign to play out, say one or two years from now, so we can really go after a first-rate GM.

The Bolts took a bit of a gamble on Yzerman and Boucher. And look at the results. We went down the same old path with the same old used parts... Why was Feaster available as an Asst. GM in the first place? And if we want to clean out the Darryl Sutter era, why keep Feaster? Or King, for that matter??

But back to Feaster. I have nothing against him personally, but I think Yzerman, Fenton, McNab, Hextall, and others whose names came up as early GM "desirables" - all would have parlayed Robyn Regehr into more than Butler and 5'9" Paul Byron, even with Kotalik thrown in. I honestly believe this. And I'm not sure we should have moved Regehr, but that's a different discussion.

Look at what McPhee did in Washington. The little man could scrap with the best of them (remember the tilt vs. Tocchet at MSG back in the '86?) and schooled many GMs at the trade deadline. He improved his team. And in an very crafty way.

McPhee manages like he played... Feaster has never played the game. I think this matters a lot, in today's NHL. Look at Peter Chiarelli's dossier, straight off the Bruins website:

A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Chiarelli played four seasons of college hockey at Harvard University, where he served the team as captain. He had 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points with 70 penalty minutes in 109 career college games and earned his degree in Economics in 1987. He obtained his law degree from the University of Ottawa. He was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1993 and spent six years as a lawyer and player agent prior to joining the Senators front office.

See what I mean? (Need I mention Mike Gilles? And no, I'm not a Canucks fan)

I just don't have confidence in Feaster (obviously). And I guess I'm beginning to beat a dead horse, because he's our GM, take it or leave it. I am okay w/Brent behind the bench. But not Feaster or King upstairs. Why didn't we have the guts to go after one of the aforementioned candidates, to really shake things up, and give the fans a real sense of change? I feel we are closer to limbo, than true transformation.

Again, will Feaster bring us the Cup? That's the ultimate question.

Avatar
#48 everton fc
August 03 2011, 05:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
SickFloBro wrote:

Hey Vintage!

You know what? You're not completely alone. :) While I agree that Regehr is a superior player, I also agree that Sarich CAN handle that physical role.

Sarich put his skills on display in 2008 during the Flames' playoff series against the Sharks. We lost that series, but Sarich was physically dominant.

Hopefully he can keep that level of play up!

Thanks for the comment, sir.

Count me in, too, Vintage. I've always been a Sarich supporter since the playoff loss to the Hawks, where he played hard as nails on a broken leg.

Still think we should have held onto Reggie, if the return was what we got. But good point on Sarich. Agreed.

Avatar
#49 mslepp
August 03 2011, 05:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@everton fc

ugh - count me out of the Sarich love-in! lol

Avatar
#50 mslepp
August 03 2011, 05:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
everton fc wrote:

Not a bad post. I do take the same side as Kent, though, with regards to Langkow.

Onto the question posed above:

"'Do you think Jay Feaster, as GM of the Calgary Flames, improved the team during the off-season?'"

I think a better question would be: "Does anyone really think Jay Feaster is the GM to guide the Flames to a Stanley Cup?" Does anyone here have this level of confidence in Feaster, or are we simply waiting for his reign to play out, say one or two years from now, so we can really go after a first-rate GM.

The Bolts took a bit of a gamble on Yzerman and Boucher. And look at the results. We went down the same old path with the same old used parts... Why was Feaster available as an Asst. GM in the first place? And if we want to clean out the Darryl Sutter era, why keep Feaster? Or King, for that matter??

But back to Feaster. I have nothing against him personally, but I think Yzerman, Fenton, McNab, Hextall, and others whose names came up as early GM "desirables" - all would have parlayed Robyn Regehr into more than Butler and 5'9" Paul Byron, even with Kotalik thrown in. I honestly believe this. And I'm not sure we should have moved Regehr, but that's a different discussion.

Look at what McPhee did in Washington. The little man could scrap with the best of them (remember the tilt vs. Tocchet at MSG back in the '86?) and schooled many GMs at the trade deadline. He improved his team. And in an very crafty way.

McPhee manages like he played... Feaster has never played the game. I think this matters a lot, in today's NHL. Look at Peter Chiarelli's dossier, straight off the Bruins website:

A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Chiarelli played four seasons of college hockey at Harvard University, where he served the team as captain. He had 21 goals and 28 assists for 49 points with 70 penalty minutes in 109 career college games and earned his degree in Economics in 1987. He obtained his law degree from the University of Ottawa. He was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1993 and spent six years as a lawyer and player agent prior to joining the Senators front office.

See what I mean? (Need I mention Mike Gilles? And no, I'm not a Canucks fan)

I just don't have confidence in Feaster (obviously). And I guess I'm beginning to beat a dead horse, because he's our GM, take it or leave it. I am okay w/Brent behind the bench. But not Feaster or King upstairs. Why didn't we have the guts to go after one of the aforementioned candidates, to really shake things up, and give the fans a real sense of change? I feel we are closer to limbo, than true transformation.

Again, will Feaster bring us the Cup? That's the ultimate question.

Good points all-around, and perhaps your proposed question IS the right one to ask. Obviously, at this point I feel the answer is no, but I'd be more than willing to eat crow should he prove us wrong.

Comments are closed for this article.