More of the Same is Significant Change

Kent Wilson
August 04 2011 09:27AM

 

 

(This is submission two in the ongoing FN contributor search. Once again share your thoughts in the comments, but keep things constructive or complimentary)

By Jake Travis**

With the era of the Feast only a few months old, Jay Feaster has already managed to drastically change the way in which the Calgary Flames operate. Whether it be on the ice or in the boardroom, Feaster's impact on the organization has been a significant one. Much of what he's done unfortunately won't appease the frenzied July 1st/NHL Entry Draft loving fan that adamantly demanded change at the conclusion of yet another failed season. While the man of the hour did let out a hefty line in an attempt to catch the White Whale that has eluded the Calgary Flames organization for these many years, what he ended up reeling in was something a touch more familiar.

There was no climactic conclusion to the Brad Richards free agency battle in early July. There was no dramatic press conference where the man we all so painfully know revealed to onlookers that he was taking his act to Broadway. Instead, what we got was what many had speculated all along: a simple, quick and classy decision that the man born to a fisherman wasn't Rocky Mountain bound, but rather heading back to the East coast to play where we all expected him to end up in the first place. Having missed out on the big prize, Feaster then went about what appeared to be a planned course of action and re-signed last year's surprise hit: Brendan Morrison. In doing so, Feaster rounded out his summer of re-signings as he (re)added Morrison to the likes of Alex Tanguay, "Anton Babchuk, The" and Curtis Glencross - effectively committing the 2011/2012 edition of the Calgary Flames to a roster that is nearly identical to the one that played at a clip that saw them roar back from the bottom of the Western Conference in December to within a few points of a date with destiny and a playoff spot in April.

These re-signings, some unexpected, some not so much, mark an interesting new angle on free agency for the Flames. In years past, players weren’t necessarily rewarded for having strong seasons as an individual and in the Summer of 2009 numerous players were judged by how successful the team had been and not on individual merit. Jay Feaster’s predecessor was heavily criticized for letting fan favourite and locker-room friendly Michael Cammalleri walk away after the team failed to sneak by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. Here was a player who had just set a career high in goals, points and not to mention had some pretty dandy chemistry with the face of the franchise. Yet, at the end of the season he was deemed expendable as the General Manager of the time set his desires elsewhere. The resulting big-ticket free agent signing was loved at the time and viewed as an enormous coup by many (myself included), but it also came with a bitter aftertaste as it was step away from a known and proven quantity towards something else. This movement away from one of the bright spots of the previous season in favour of the shiny featured toy of that Summer’s free agency pool is an excellent, albeit overplayed, example of the previous regime’s unfortunate lack of consideration when it came to team chemistry and cohesion. A mistake that Jay Feaster apparently doesn’t intend on making again.

Jay Feaster’s current roster features only one everyday NHLer that wasn’t on the Calgary Flames last season: Chris Butler. Butler, the largest piece heading to Calgary in a landmark transaction that sent the backbone of the Flames defense for the last decade off to Buffalo is the only unfamiliar, significant piece currently on the books for next season. For a Flames organization that was home to one of the most active General Managers in the NHL up until recently, this surprisingly low roster turn-over is a startling new concept - and a welcome one in my books.

The enthusiasm and consistent effort that carried this team from December through April was infectious. As I watched the freshly crowned Special Assistant to the Acting General Manager and the Acting General Manager himself both glowingly smile as the wins piled up - it clicked for me. This organization had started back on the road to becoming a team again. They were out there playing for each other and earning big wins in the process. There were definitely a player or two on the roster that fell well below expectations and weren’t able to contribute to the team’s run, and ultimately perhaps they were the reason this team failed to make it to the dance at the end of the season. However, despite their apparent failings the man at the helm of the team has, either through choice, necessity or a bit of both, decided to stand by these players and work with them instead of rushing them out the door for little to no return. In my eyes it’s definitely a refreshing approach to improving the team. Building a winning team isn’t just about shiny, exciting new additions during the off-season. It’s about winning as a team and learning (read: losing) as a team and growing as a team throughout both. As Flames fans, we’ve had experience with a General Manager that loved making the big splashes during the key transactions dates on the NHL calendar and unfortunately, those signings and trades that we were all so excited about in June, July and at the trade deadline of years past never amounted to much of anything. So as I’ve mentioned before, I find it more than a bit refreshing to see the Flames headed in this new, yet, familiar direction.

**My outlook: Eternal optimist. No matter how bad the previous season ends, no matter how little sense the off-season transactions make - I’ll always find a way to somehow trick myself into thinking the Flames are a Stanley Cup contender. I did it when Marty McInnis, Hnat Domenichelli and Candace Cameron’s husband were all on the team, so I don’t see why I can’t do the same with Matt Stajan, Jay Bouwmeester and a Swede that talks faster than Blurr. I drank myself in and out of classes and across the majority of post secondary campuses in Calgary before finally finishing up this past Spring as what I’d like to call a “Multimedia & IT Professional” thanks to mashing a few years of IT and New Media Production & Design at SAIT together. Favourite drink? Liquor. Favourite Flame? Ronnie Stern. Favourite movie? The one with the rug that really tied the room together (The Big Lebowski - ed.). Avid CP’er and someone who hasn’t written anything other than “lol wut?” in something like 3 years. Cheers.

 

survey software

 

 

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Newman
August 04 2011, 10:26AM
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Also, coming from another blog off contestant I quite enjoyed this read. I like the different angle you took at the team. Not sure I totally agree with some of what you said, but it was well written. I do agree with you that Feaster made the right decision by not doing anything too drastic in the end. I am not one to think that the Flames are "One" player from a championship. Its going to take some losing to get back to a more competitive franchise.

Good job!

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#2 Hans Sprungfeld
August 04 2011, 11:22AM
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Don't mention you are an avid CP-er if you want to be taken seriously. Christ

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#4 marcus
August 04 2011, 05:59PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If you (or anyone else) can come up with some way of describing "chemistry", or an ability to forecast it or to quantify it in anything but fuzzy terms I'm all ears.

Otherwise, it's nonsense concept. The best teams in the league have "chemistry" because they have the best players. If chemistry is fleeting, it's not really a skill or quality of the roster. The task of analysis is differentiate the two I think.

As for the charges of negativity, I'm going to have to get defensive here. While the analysis at FN tends to be consistently critical, the truth is we have been ardent defenders of guys like Daymond Langkow and David Moss for years. I liked Mark Giordano long before it was cool. Jay Bouwmeester usually gets more love here than in most Flames fan cricles. Robyn Regehr was consistently respected at FN.

The truth is, this is a two-time 10th placed team despite a cap-ceiling roster over the last two years. My interest in writing about them is in teasing apart the reasons why that is. As such, there's going to be less than happy investigations as a matter of course. But when we come across defensibly good factors on the Flames, we're fairly tireless in pointing them out. So if your impression of FN is that it's only negative, I have to suggest that you aren't paying attention.

End rant

The wrong impression has been cast with broad and vivid brushstrokes. The body of work that is put into this blog is pure effort with concise back-up. My glass is half full view of the team and my support of Jake's post clearly illustrates that.

My point about corsi zone starts and the advanced metrics is not intended to diminish the value and reality of the information that is taken from it as your effort to shed light to the lesser known stats that reveals more deserves praise and recognition. However, FN is much like a niche product segment, that covers one area of the market and does it very well. FN covers the stats and analysis like a scientist (left brain) but there is alot to be desired on the right again, my support of Jake illustrates that.

You raise a great point, is there was metric for chemistry you'd be all ears. Well.... One of the underlying statements of the submission put forth by Jake here goes directly to the heart of what the flames are have accomplished (chemistry) and are looking to continue progressing with (albeit too late for last season).

Chemistry is a bi-product of team wide accountability to each other not the best players. Look at Nashville. If Calgary can shore this up as they have proven to the latter half of last season and end up in top 10 in goals again, you can begin to look past 10th place next season.

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#5 Canucks Suck
August 04 2011, 06:42PM
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THE FLAMES R GUNNA WIN THE CUP BOYS

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#6 Reidja
August 05 2011, 12:22AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If you (or anyone else) can come up with some way of describing "chemistry", or an ability to forecast it or to quantify it in anything but fuzzy terms I'm all ears.

Otherwise, it's nonsense concept. The best teams in the league have "chemistry" because they have the best players. If chemistry is fleeting, it's not really a skill or quality of the roster. The task of analysis is differentiate the two I think.

As for the charges of negativity, I'm going to have to get defensive here. While the analysis at FN tends to be consistently critical, the truth is we have been ardent defenders of guys like Daymond Langkow and David Moss for years. I liked Mark Giordano long before it was cool. Jay Bouwmeester usually gets more love here than in most Flames fan cricles. Robyn Regehr was consistently respected at FN.

The truth is, this is a two-time 10th placed team despite a cap-ceiling roster over the last two years. My interest in writing about them is in teasing apart the reasons why that is. As such, there's going to be less than happy investigations as a matter of course. But when we come across defensibly good factors on the Flames, we're fairly tireless in pointing them out. So if your impression of FN is that it's only negative, I have to suggest that you aren't paying attention.

End rant

Kent,

To answer your challenge only half jokingly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephrine

Only one of many aspects not directly measurable with stats...

Jake,

I like the 'take'. That's what you have, and that's something I will tune-in for.

A refreshingly big picture look that deserves some analysis during this time of change for the franchise.

Cheers.

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#7 SarahM
August 05 2011, 08:10PM
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A tiny bit of concrit in what is a pretty enjoyable read: sometimes plain language is better. I actually think FN would benefit from more expressive and creative language on occasion, but I got caught up in the epithets and allusions in a few places and had to reread sentences to figure out what was being said. There's good stuff in here, and sometimes expressing it clearly is best :)

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#8 Graham
August 04 2011, 10:06AM
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Coming from one of the other "blog-off" contestents, that was a great read! Interesting and a slightly different look at an offseason that's boasted very few player personnel changes.

I agree with your take on the change, or lack thereof. Most fanbases are disappointed when their teams don't get involved with the big fish on July 1, but I was very relieved. Simply by limiting the number of stupid signings and overpayments in the offseason, Feaster can be an upgrade on D-Sutt.

Well done

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#9 jakeryley
August 04 2011, 10:32AM
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Thanks Graham, Newman. I think a key point in what Feaster's done so far is that none of the dollar figures handed out will ever be terrible contracts. 3.5 for Tanguay and 2.55 for Glencross may not end up being GREAT contracts down the road, but they'll never be deals that tie the organizations hands (unlike some of the other contracts handed out this summer). Especially if you look at the Flames organizational depth and see that in the near future our left-side will look like Tanguay/Glencross/Baertschi, which could very well end up being a strength for this team for some time.

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#10 Vintage Flame
August 04 2011, 10:37AM
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I think part of the rap that Feaster has gotten has come from the things he has actually done right with this club. The Flames fans are so accustomed now to the hair trigger attitude that was under Sutter, that when Feaster shows restraint or even an idiom of logic, the fans are all up in arms about something NOT being done.

I like that you pointed out that even though this roster is largely going to mirror the roster of last year, Feaster has made strides in his approach as to how we got here.

I think there is little doubt that under Sutter's supervision, all of Tanguay, Glencross, Babchuck and even Morrison would have been signed earlier and most likely for more money. Although Feaster is still hampered [for lack of a better term] with the current roster and lack of flexibility, he demonstrated something this city hasn't seen for years. Patience and restraint.

Yes, in the end, he re-signed the players anyways. But, it wasn't without exploring options and even going for the Hail Mary with Richards.

Good job on taking a positive stance on what has always been deemed a negative situation.

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#11 Domebeers.com
August 04 2011, 10:56AM
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Pom Pom. CP you say? Now I get it.

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#12 Joe
August 04 2011, 11:03AM
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Oops, I accidentaly pressed 1! I actually really liked it

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#13 mendicant
August 04 2011, 11:14AM
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The Good: I think this was a well written article.

The Bad: I'm sorry, but the last thing I want to hear is another 'optimist' who will applaud every move. I've got the Fan960 for that.

However, I agree with you on the stability points and the free agent/trade deadline points. Making a move for the sake of making a move is not a good thing to do. Still, we're up against an even tougher Western Conference this year than last year -- And though the Flames ripped it up overall from December to April like you said, they also played some pretty poor games against good teams. And now we've got more tough games ahead.

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#14 RexLibris
August 04 2011, 11:24AM
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Good article, Jake. I agree with much of your assessment of Feaster's moves (or non-moves) thus far. Signing decent players to reasonable contracts was not something for which Darryl Sutter was well known. I think the media loved having Sutter around because they could always rely on some big news item to hash out, like the Bouwmeester contract, the Phaneuf and Jokinen deals, or the Stajan signing.

Sorry to have to do this, but: when Tambellini took over the Oilers we were all waiting for him to "do something", and most of what he did were managerial/coaching changes with one significant UFA signing (Khabibulin) while he waited and watched to see what kind of team he had in front of him (answer: atrocious). It was the summer afterwards that he really started to make changes by letting go of a number of veterans (Moreau, Pisani, Nilsson). The same has been done this year with more veteran fringe players leaving (Deslauriers, Jacques) and a few more complimentary UFAs coming in (Hordichuk, Belanger). I suspect something similar will happen with Feaster and the Flames. My guess is that he is taking last (half)year and this season to properly evaluate the team before moving any significant pieces, hence your appreciation for his more conservative style. One thing that may be a trait of Feaster's (although the sample size is too small to tell yet) is that his Lightning team was much more offensively-minded. To that end he may try to leverage some of your defensive assets to acquire more offensively skilled players.

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#15 jakeryley
August 04 2011, 11:59AM
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@Hans Sprungfeld

Come on Jebediah, if you stay out of the game threads, CP can be a fun place...

My optimism shouldn't be confused with blind homerism. In an off-season that hasn't given Flames fans any sort of tangible reason to get excited about the upcoming season, you have to look elsewhere. There's no new shiny toy waiting for us on opening night. There's a familiar group of players and the hope that the team that saw the lowest of lows together last season will continue to improve on what they started to build towards the second half of last season.

The things that may have the biggest impact on the Flames moving forward aren't as tangible as losing Robyn Regehr. The managerial additions that Feaster made during the Summer and the introduction of Craig Hartsburg behind the bench aren't things that we can really speculate on at this stage, but that doesn't mean they should be overlooked either.

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#16 jimirude
August 04 2011, 12:04PM
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Great read. I couldn't agree more. It's a worthwhile take to share, especially for those demanding immediate and drastic changes to a team that had one of the best records in the league in the second half of the season last year. 'intellectual honesty' is my favorite new phrase thanks to Jay Feaster and it's in stark contrast to Darryl Sutter's shoot from the hip, bandaid solution, brand of managing. Calm, patient and thoughtful management is what this team needs.

I'm happy you touched on the Cammalleri situation. Letting Cammalleri walk, when he clearly would have stayed (and for less) is one of the worst moves Darryl Sutter ever made and it was entirely due to his mismanagement of the cap.

What's often forgot about that team in 2009 was that it was one of the better teams in the league up until the last 17 games of the season. On March 9th they were a solid 39-19-06 (84pts) on pace for around a 104-105 pt season and the division title. It all changed the day we traded for jokinen as the team was thrust up against the cap allowing for a rash of injuries to handcuff the organization and restrict them from even icing a full roster.

The chemistry of the team never recovered and allowed the surging Canucks to overtake them for the decision and eventually leading to another disappointing first round exit. The jokinen trade and then the off season addition of Bouwmeester made it impossible to resign the highest goal scorer on the team and a young player coming into his prime. All because Darryl lived only in the spur of the moment. The eternal cowboy, shooting from the hip on every transaction, without any thought of the future, until it finally did him in.

Solid 8. A lot to think about.

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#17 everton fc
August 04 2011, 12:09PM
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**My outlook: Eternal optimist. No matter how bad the previous season ends, no matter how little sense the off-season transactions make - I’ll always find a way to somehow trick myself into thinking the Flames are a Stanley Cup contender. I did it when Marty McInnis, Hnat Domenichelli and Candace Cameron’s husband were all on the team, so I don’t see why I can’t do the same with Matt Stajan, Jay Bouwmeester and a Swede that talks faster than Blurr. I drank myself in and out of classes and across the majority of post secondary campuses in Calgary before finally finishing up this past Spring as what I’d like to call a “Multimedia & IT Professional” thanks to mashing a few years of IT and New Media Production & Design at SAIT together. Favourite drink? Liquor. Favourite Flame? Ronnie Stern. Favourite movie? The one with the rug that really tied the room together (The Big Lebowski - ed.). Avid CP’er and someone who hasn’t written anything other than “lol wut?” in something like 3 years. Cheers.

This is brilliant stuff above. I, too, thought the Flames had a shot w/the like of Hnat, Marty, others. Brilliant!

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#18 Gange
August 04 2011, 12:16PM
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Well said, and good article.

I grow very weary of the "Blow it up" mentality and short term vision. it's nice to see that there is a little longer term view for you.

I have to agree that Feaster has to respect that for a few months this was one of the best teams in the NHL. Will it win a cup? HIGHLY unlikely but why not keep what you have, fill the cupboards, and leave the people with something to cheer for? I think that is pretty much what Feaster has done thus far.

The bigger positive is that there is a stronger focus on the support personnel. Video review people, new (and more) scouts, new coaching. You can't fault Feaster for doing nothing, however if none of this works out I'm very sure we'll hear about it.

Good Job Jake.

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#19 ALL THE WAY IN
August 04 2011, 12:21PM
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To start, Great job!

I am curious to know what other "whales" have eluded the Flames other than B. Rich. Bouwmeester was the big fish a couple years back and he signed long term.

I don't think the loss of Regher will be detrimental to the Flames. I think Bouwmeester replaced Phanuef and Gio is willing and able to replace Reggie. With Babchuk on the PP and Sarich running people over, I'd say our D is still intact for the most part. There is more accountability when the defense isn't stacked 1-4.

Same coach, same team, hopefully the chemistry and structure will be there from the start this time.

Solid 8 on this article.

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#20 Gange
August 04 2011, 12:22PM
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@everton fc

I did not think they had a shot with Hnat and Marty (Those names take me to a dark place) but it didn't stop me from cheering. :)

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#21 Vintage Flame
August 04 2011, 12:26PM
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Gange wrote:

I did not think they had a shot with Hnat and Marty (Those names take me to a dark place) but it didn't stop me from cheering. :)

No darker than the days of Michel Petite and Trent Yawney on the blueline... and lets not forget Zarley Zalapski!

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#22 Brent G.
August 04 2011, 12:31PM
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Excellent work! I really appreciated the optimism on a site that often lacks it! It would be a pleasure to read your posts from this point forward.

To me this seems like a different perspective from the often negative-based one found by the common writters on this site. I appreciate most of what is said is accurate and backed by numbers and the Flames simply aren't that good of a team, but there really is more to hockey than just the numbers. Chemistry and a team atmosphere can go way further than adding a star player to the mix; prime example - Boston Bruins. They didnt have any top line scorers but won and lost as a team and now get the chance to repeat for the cup because the team is pretty much the same. If you think you need nothing but stars ask Washington, SJS, or Vancouver how that is working out for them...

Btw, the Big Lebowski is awesome and bumped you up from a solid 9 to a 10 in my books.

Lol, "Do you see? Do you see what happens when you F*CK a complete stranger in the @ss?"

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#23 Gange
August 04 2011, 12:41PM
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@Vintage Flame

LOL! Michel Petite, why were we subjected to him? It was like a cruel cruel joke.

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#24 Austin
August 04 2011, 12:43PM
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@jakeryley

That will be a good left wing, just that Tanguay is getting up there in years and GlenX isn't as young as he used to be. Still, I like that left wing.

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#25 Michael
August 04 2011, 12:54PM
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I'm still in the wait and see camp, I don't think we can judge the organizational changes for several (many) years (ie: will our drafting improve), and the player moves to date look pretty status quo.

The reality is that this team has not improved (even on paper), while several other competitors have. So unless Feaster /Sutter et all can generate some kind of an 'x' factor, the same team as last year will likely generate another middle of the pack finish.

The potential risks look to be to the downside, we simply do not have four top four d men, so the effects on our goals against (especially on the pk) may offset a whole bunch of other positives.

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#26 everton fc
August 04 2011, 12:55PM
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Gange wrote:

I did not think they had a shot with Hnat and Marty (Those names take me to a dark place) but it didn't stop me from cheering. :)

@gange

I really didn't either, but they'd win 2 in a row... and I'd think, "Could they actually go on a roll here?"

Ah, the blind faith of a fan, in those days! I used to also hope Dave Roche could produce like he did in St. John's. And not just w/the gloves off.

Loved Bob Bassen. Pulled for Ed Ward. Clarke Wilm... But those were dark days.

I simply hope we are not heading in that direction right now. There are similarities. Still, I'll never be a fair-weather fan. No matter what.

(Case in point; the day Keenan was hired might have been one of the darkest for me, as I never liked him, or his teams. "How did this happen?" I thought, still loyal to Darryl, of course...)

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#27 skirby09
August 04 2011, 12:56PM
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Good article Jake. I appreciate the optimism. Decent writing. Blog was slightly long but overall pretty good.

I share you general premise that the Flames have began a significant shift in team culture. Whether or not that is Feaster's doing or not, I am not convinced either way yet. I believe a lot of that is addition by subtraction with the exidus of Darryl Sutter. That said there was only one change between the dismal start of last season and the great finish and that was the change in GM. I like that Feaster seems to be making decisions with input from those employed to provide input. It's a lot easier for everyone on a team to buy in if they feel like have some stake in the process.

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#28 marcus
August 04 2011, 02:16PM
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Well done, it gets tiring listening to the ongoing body of work that has related to the flames mediocrity and its refreshing to note that chemistry is a factor that the new regime is banking on. A few years ago we were considered an elite team. If this team can gel, its a few steps back from the heavy hitters in the regular season but we all know the capability of the leadership of Jarome Iginla and in the playoffs as anything can happen. That's the reality of advanced corsi, zone starts etc. It can't forecast or predict what chemistry can do for a club. Nice article.

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#29 Scott
August 04 2011, 02:22PM
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A well written article! Well Done!

Given that I am in the "wait and see" crowd, I would rather be optimistic then pessimistic. And your article does provide that extra assurance that I am not a fool for trying to be optimistic. I think a moderately optimistic writer on FN would help balance out some of the negativity that tends to pop up now and again.

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#30 FireOnIce
August 04 2011, 02:48PM
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I would have to agree with Kent re: negativity. There's a big difference between being negative about your team and players and being critical. You can't turn a blind eye to poor play or poor management decisions and it makes for good discussion to have SOMEONE saying that all is not well in Flames land.

The proof is on the ice. If the team does poorly, or management makes stupid decisions, then it becomes quite apparent. It does nobody any good to strap on the Nikes and blindly drink the Feaster-aid.

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#31 Vintage Flame
August 04 2011, 02:59PM
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@marcus

You have to look at it this way Marcus.. If everyone on FN turned a blind eye to the woes and hardships the Flames had faced and continued to face, and was yelling Stanley Cup all the time even though we had about a snowball's chance in hell?

Well then this would be Oilers Nation!!

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#32 Scott
August 04 2011, 03:03PM
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Re: Negativity

IMO the critical analysis, which of course is not good news; given the way the team has played the last two years; has drawn alot of negative comments. In my mind, its the combination of critical analysis and negative comments that occasionally need to be changed up. Having a article thrown in focusing on optimism (logical optimism) the readers and comments can look at the articles from a different frame of mind.

Yes this team stinks, and I want to know why it does and how its going to improve. But the occasional optimistic view point (of course to do this you can't use stats) can help add a bit of balance.

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#33 ALL THE WAY IN
August 04 2011, 04:02PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

You have to look at it this way Marcus.. If everyone on FN turned a blind eye to the woes and hardships the Flames had faced and continued to face, and was yelling Stanley Cup all the time even though we had about a snowball's chance in hell?

Well then this would be Oilers Nation!!

OH SNAP!

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#34 Emir
August 04 2011, 04:39PM
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I liked the point of the article, it was interesting to read. I also like the bright side outlook, I think it is important to have that to read to inside FN in my mind. It wasn't leaps and bounds everything is ok brightside, it was hey, this could be different because we did it differently. An honest optimistic opinion and I thank you for it.

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#35 ALL THE WAY IN
August 04 2011, 04:40PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

If you (or anyone else) can come up with some way of describing "chemistry", or an ability to forecast it or to quantify it in anything but fuzzy terms I'm all ears.

Otherwise, it's nonsense concept. The best teams in the league have "chemistry" because they have the best players. If chemistry is fleeting, it's not really a skill or quality of the roster. The task of analysis is differentiate the two I think.

As for the charges of negativity, I'm going to have to get defensive here. While the analysis at FN tends to be consistently critical, the truth is we have been ardent defenders of guys like Daymond Langkow and David Moss for years. I liked Mark Giordano long before it was cool. Jay Bouwmeester usually gets more love here than in most Flames fan cricles. Robyn Regehr was consistently respected at FN.

The truth is, this is a two-time 10th placed team despite a cap-ceiling roster over the last two years. My interest in writing about them is in teasing apart the reasons why that is. As such, there's going to be less than happy investigations as a matter of course. But when we come across defensibly good factors on the Flames, we're fairly tireless in pointing them out. So if your impression of FN is that it's only negative, I have to suggest that you aren't paying attention.

End rant

Chemistry is a players ability to recognize other players tendencies, flaws and assets, then anticipate and react to them throught the course of a game. Its obvious that when you throw a bunch of elite top end players it should come naturally, but it takes time to develope amoung other players.

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#36 Shutout
August 04 2011, 04:53PM
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I fail to see the optimism. We are bringing back a team that has missed the playoffs two years in a row, and is now a year older. A team that played like garbage for 2.5 months,had success for a couple of months during the dog days of the season when most teams are tired and struggling for consistency, and then finished the last two months of the year barely making .500 and losing winable games when the post season was on the line.

A team that has traded away a top three defenseman for cap space. And a team that shows a lack of direction when it trades for a small skilled player and then fills up the lineup with older veterans without giving the skill a chance as well as going out and trading for a tough guy in a league where you dont need a dancing bear for three minutes a night, you need speed, skill, energy, and commitment.

This is a team where its captain and supposed "leader" is severly lacking in commitment. Team will finish in 10th or 11th so that they dont get a high draft pick.

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#37 Vintage Flame
August 04 2011, 05:44PM
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@Shutout

"This is a team where its captain and supposed "leader" is severly lacking in commitment."

Come again??? I have heard many things said about Iginla and his status on this team and in the league.. But that takes the cake! How you could ever question Iginla's commitment to the Flames or to the game of hockey. This guy could have his pick of any team and has continually chose Calgary. You're way off the mark on that observation.

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#38 John Deere Green
August 04 2011, 06:39PM
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Here's a question. Are we as fans not seeing something in Jay Feaster that ownership and KK do see? A rough estimate would be what- 75% of fans (who pay for tickets with blood sweat and tears), that don't like seeing Feaster as GM of the Flames? So what does management and Kenny King see in him that the majority of fans (including myself) do not? I just don't see the Flames doing very well this year. I hope that I'm wrong, because there's nothing worse than watching meaningless hockey from the middle of January to the end of the season.

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#39 ChinookArch
August 04 2011, 10:17PM
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@Kent Wilson

Kent, in my following of FN over the last 2 years I'll support what you've said - the writing has been fair and balanced. I'm also partial to measurement tools which help determine a player real value and his actual contribution to his team, so searching to quantify " chemistry" is an endeavor that I can appreciate. That said, just because something can't be measured doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This, I believe to be particularly true when examining human interaction.

FN is consistently a great read and a source for information that Is unique in content and subject matter. It would be good to see a viewpoint like Jake's injected more often, and may produce some lively discussions as well.

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#40 RKD
August 04 2011, 11:11PM
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While we're at it, let's go back to the days of German Titov and Paul Kruse!

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#41 Trevor
August 04 2011, 11:18PM
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Definitely an optimistic article but I enjoyed it. I'm hoping team chemistry pays off for us this year too. I also liked how you touched on the Cammalleri fiasco.

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#42 Marcus
August 05 2011, 03:05AM
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@reidja

[LIKE]

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#43 RexLibris
August 05 2011, 12:00PM
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@Vintage Flame

Blind eye? Yelling about being a contender year after year with nary a hope? Oh! I get it. You were being ironic.

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#44 Marcus
August 05 2011, 12:11PM
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@RexLibris

@rexlibris

[LIKE]

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#45 Marcus
August 05 2011, 12:13PM
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@ALL THE WAY IN

[LIKE]

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#46 Marcus
August 05 2011, 12:18PM
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@ChinookArch

[LIKE]

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#47 RexLibris
August 05 2011, 12:58PM
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For ChinookArch, Marcus, and reidja: LIKE and props to you all.

I like Kent's contributions, Stats are my weakness so having someone who understands it and paints the picture is a big help. Too often a fan can convince themself of a player's value without any basis for that opinion, and that's where a statistical perspective can clear the cobwebs. At the same time, It's good to hear the (sane) opinions of others based on observation and reflection also. Personally, I think team chemistry works in strange ways. Why did Conroy, who wasn't a 1st line centre, do so well with Iginla? Part of it rests with their chemistry (the other part with the talent of the winger). If chemistry, and by extension the human equation, didn't enter into it then economists would always be right.

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