Putting the 'M' Back in GM

Kent Wilson
August 09 2011 11:05AM

 

 

(Another day, another submission in the FN contributor search. Keep things tough but fair in the comments, as per usual folks)

By: Graham Wiswell**

Welcome to August. The initial excitement and anticipation of the offseason is over, and we’re left only to evaluate. The shocking events and head-scratchers (Carter, Richards, Varlamov etc.) of late June and early July have become old news. August is the time to peel back layers, and take a look beneath the surface.

There are components of management in any profession that are essential. For whatever reason, this foundation can be overlooked in the hockey business. Here, we’ll take a look at the fundamental roles of a manager, especially as it pertains to the Calgary Flames.

Doom and Gloom

A spike of success at the outset of Darryl Sutter’s tenure allowed him a free pass. From an outsider’s perspective, the ownership group allowed Darryl to run the hockey team in isolation, while they opted for a “hands off” approach. The team experienced a sudden resurgence under his watch, so while it is easy to make judgments in hindsight, this approach didn’t seem nonsensical at the time.

How would you describe Darryl Sutter to someone unfamiliar? Is he an Assistant Coach? A Head Coach? A General Manager? Or is he simply a former NHL player? Based on the roles he’s filled at the NHL level, you could describe him any which way, but was Darryl Sutter ever qualified to be an NHL General Manager? Perhaps a General in the “yes, sir” form, but by no means is he a manager.

A manager is a leader; creates a vision, empowers people, communicates effectively, hogs the blame and shares the success. A manager hunts down resources and aligns them in specialized roles, to ensure the group reaches its targets. A manager is not the most skilled or knowledgeable specialist, but has the ability to identify the strengths in others, and get all parts moving in one direction in order to achieve success. So, what did that Darryl Sutter guy do again?

Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality, which ultimately created a toxic environment for players and executives alike. Regardless of compensation, no one can perform in a toxic environment. Darryl’s hockey moves were made through impulsive decision making and “deficit spending” (a term used by Feaster to describe the previous regime). Once he acquired the assets he wanted, he got the most out of his employees through pressure: succeed now, or leave. Fear of trade or demotion is effective in short stints, but not a mindset conducive to winning. Why can’t any of these “star” players score in Calgary? You try holding onto the puck longer and being creative in a *we’re contenders, don’t screw it up* setting. I would opt to dump-and-chase, too.

I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in an NHL organization at any capacity, but tell me this: if you’re a scout, and your GM trades the 1st and/or 2nd rd picks every year, are you not forced to make a safer selection with those 3-7th rd draft picks? What is this constant “deficit spending” telling you about your role within the organization, other than inconsequential? If you’re a coach, how can you run the bench your way, knowing you’re the 3rd coach in 4 years? Results from October to September 2010 would illustrate it is a significant struggle.

It is not far-fetched to suggest this type of environment would damage relationships and create unrest. Not until 6 months before Darryl’s “resignation” did the Flames add an Assistant GM under Sutter’s watch. Until then, there was no one to co-ordinate with or lean on for hockey decisions – just Darryl. The cup champion Boston Bruins were operating with 5 AGMs one year ago. When asked why an AGM wasn’t added before, Ken King responded “Darryl didn’t feel he needed one.” That’s autonomy at its finest. What King should have said is “Darryl doesn’t play well with others.” Could you imagine if all organizational decisions were made this way? “We didn’t sign a back-up goaltender because Kipper felt he didn’t need one.” Yikes.

Feaster's Participative Democracy

There was a growing sentiment that this team needed a new direction, but it seems unless the Flames employed Jim Nill or Ron Hextall in the GM chair, the hire would be met with harsh criticism. For one, I don’t understand the Ron Hextall chatter. Is it his NHL playing career that draws us to Hextall? If so, have we really done enough homework to suggest he was the best suited AGM for a promotion? As for Nill, that transaction is much easier said than done. We can expect he’s been offered a full-time GM gig in the past. Was he holding out for a job in Calgary all these years? Not likely.

Of course, I wasn’t thrilled with Feaster’s promotion to General Manager, either. I share the same concerns as many of my peers: lack of playing experience, poor drafting record, the Brad Richards deal and so on. Once the job was his, JayFe began to shed light on the type of culture he wanted to create: a consensus-driven, participative democracy. He has since beefed up his hockey operations department in a number of areas, from AGM John Weisbrod to Chris Snow, a former journalist who specializes in statistical analysis and the PUCKS system. The hiring of a resource like Chris Snow is a new direction in and of itself. Feaster never played the game, but continues to add experienced hockey people to what he calls his participative democracy. Is it not more useful to have an effective manager co-ordinate hockey minds, rather than one hockey mind control his old buddies and family members?

Engage and Empower

What makes Ken Holland a world-class NHL GM? If you look at the success of the Detroit Red Wings, it has primarily come from drafting and developing. Scouts are responsible for evaluating young NHL hopefuls and making these selections at the draft, and Holland’s staff in Grand Rapids (AHL) does most of the heavy lifting in terms of day-to-day prospect development. Holland is a bright man, who has the ability to empower key people to carry out these responsibilities. His biggest challenge comes in recruiting personalities that share his vision, and can mesh with his Red Wing culture. Of course, the game is played on the ice, yet the Detroit Red Wings continue to operate as a model of consistency in the NHL. There is no shortage of respect for Ken Holland around the league, but hockey aside, Holland is a world-class manager of people.

So what model would you follow as an NHL GM? If you truly respect the Ken Holland regime, you’ll appreciate Feaster’s aim to direct and empower key people. We’ve already heard “this is Brent’s hiring” and “this is Todd’s draft” from the Flames GM. If knowledgeable professionals are utilized effectively in their own areas of expertise, from pro/amateur scouts to goaltending coaches, a manager’s playing experience will not affect the win column.

Success is a Process

How exactly did Jamie McLennan get the job as Goalie Coach back in June of 2009? His fun personality, and experience as an average NHL back-up? The Flames covered it up with an “Associate Coach” title, but Jamie wasn’t running the power-play or matching lines.

Successful organizations follow an extensive process in order to fill specific roles. It would have been easy for Feaster to hire his former AGM Bill Barber to fill that void in Calgary, or to hire Marc Denis as the goaltending coach. He could have hired his entire staff from Tampa to run the Flames, but resisted the temptation to fill the gaps with familiar faces and old buddies. There was a process carried out in order to find the *right* people to assume these roles. The day Feaster was appointed GM, Ken King noted they were “close” to naming an AGM, and “would have liked to package that announcement with today’s news.” It took nearly two additional months for the hiring to take place. You could argue this was a result of the playoffs, but did anyone have John Weisbrod on their radar? What about Clint Malarchuk to work with the goalies? There were no personal ties or old friendships attributed to these hires. A formal interview process was held, a course of action carried out, and these gentlemen were not only deemed the best fit, but the right fit.

The same is true with the on-ice product. You can criticize the number of depth signings on defence, the Regehr trade or the signing of a 37-year old Brendan Morrison, but you can’t argue that all of these decisions were made with a timeline in mind, an eye on the big picture. Winning is not as simple as big names on the free agent market and a season of puck luck. Winning is a process, a culture. Evidently, there’s an interest in being competitive today, but most of all, a priority to create flexibility in the not-so-distant future. Any sustained success follows a process, and aims to develop in a perpetual state of re-building. Scorched earth, full-scale rebuilds in the NHL do not happen by choice. Successful teams evolve and develop on the go, by gradually replacing veterans with younger alternatives. This summer in Calgary, we’ve seen baby steps in that transition.

While the Flames were not stealing headlines this summer, I would argue there have been significant shifts below the surface. Tangible change won’t take shape within weeks, or perhaps even years, but at least now the wheels are in motion.

**Graham is a 4th year student at Mount Royal University. He currently blogs on his own site Dome Ice Advantage.

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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 Michael
August 09 2011, 12:06PM
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Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality

Was it Sutter that forced the 'win now, forget tomorrow' mentality, or did this direction come from higher up?...(King or the Owners)

Feaster has made several moves that might suggest 'win now, forget tomorrow' is still in play; the Kotalik salary dump (vs Sutters Primeau dump), the re signing of older vets like Morrision (vs a spot for a prospect), and the attempted signing of Smyth and Richards.

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#2 Domebeers.com
August 09 2011, 11:21AM
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We are still going with the polite fiction that Feaster is the GM and not Ken King? Ok then...

Also, Darryl Sutter had no vision? Uhh, don't know about that.

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#3 Johnny
August 09 2011, 11:23AM
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Best article yet. Really impressive.

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#4 Sworkhard
August 09 2011, 12:03PM
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Really good article. Best one so far.

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#5 mslepp
August 09 2011, 12:13PM
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Very nicely written, Graham.

You wrote so nicely that you almost convinced me Jay Feaster is doing a great job. We were so blinded by what the actual job was by Darryl Sutter that when someone comes in and attempts to go at it properly, we heap praise all over him. But, I suppose, to go against myself, we should probably at least be happy he's making a go at it.

And, even though he doesn't hire all his old mistakes from Tampa, that certainly doesn't stop him from acquiring (or attempting to acquire) all his old players from those failed days. As far as Malarchuk goes; that hire boggles me. But, I find it funny that he's hired when his kids live in Okotoks. That's quite a coincidence... or, maybe he's the only one who wanted to come?

I will never give him credit for the Regehr trade. It accomplished nothing but an overly publicized swing-and-a-miss at Brad Richards. Really, he has to go to the media to tell everyone the Flames were the runner up? Give me a break. If he was looking further than this year he would have just let Kotalik's contract run out instead of using Regehr as the sacrificial lamb.

As long as Ken King controls the strings of the Flames management, we won't see significant change. The non-stealing of headlines isn't the wheels being in motion underneath the surface... that's the sound of things staying the same.

Having said all of that... I really enjoyed the read. Good job, Graham.

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#7 everton fc
August 09 2011, 12:31PM
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Michael wrote:

Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality

Was it Sutter that forced the 'win now, forget tomorrow' mentality, or did this direction come from higher up?...(King or the Owners)

Feaster has made several moves that might suggest 'win now, forget tomorrow' is still in play; the Kotalik salary dump (vs Sutters Primeau dump), the re signing of older vets like Morrision (vs a spot for a prospect), and the attempted signing of Smyth and Richards.

Good point - how much sway do KIng and the owners have, and have had, in some of these moves, even w/Sutter in charge?

@mslepp

"I will never give him credit for the Regehr trade. It accomplished nothing but an overly publicized swing-and-a-miss at Brad Richards. Really, he has to go to the media to tell everyone the Flames were the runner up? Give me a break. If he was looking further than this year he would have just let Kotalik's contract run out instead of using Regehr as the sacrificial lamb.

People seem to forget this... To me, is why Reggie was moved. And I have always posted here that picking up Richards for anything but bargain price is madness; he could be one concussion away from Marc Savard (not trying to be insensitive). Richards isn't worth the deal Feaster proposed; first Modin, then Richards - this wanting old Bolts from days-gone-by has to make one wonder. Also, even remotely considering Ryan Smyth (who I have always liked and respected as a player, regardless of the Battle of Alberta - class guy all the way through)... this shows me Feaster is questionable, if he was the one who came up with the concept.

"As long as Ken King controls the strings of the Flames management, we won't see significant change. The non-stealing of headlines isn't the wheels being in motion underneath the surface... that's the sound of things staying the same."

Spot-on. If we had a different president, someone more progressive and savvy, we'd have also had ourselves a more progressive and savvy GM. No question.

I am not in the doom and gloom camp. I think our roster is competitive "as is", if Langkow can come back at all, if Stajan can somehow rebound, if Moss can stay healthy, if Jokinen can produce another 55 pt. season, if Glencross can increase his goal output to 25... If Jackman can play the same as last season If Bourque can stay healthy and consistent... If our defence holds up...

Lots of 'ifs', the biggest on defence... But I still think we can challenge for a playoff spot and, if healthy and consistent, could win a round...

But no one will convince me King/Feaster and company will get us near the Cup.

Graham: good job here. May not agree w/all your points... but you did well. Good work!

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#8 Tach
August 09 2011, 12:43PM
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Aside from the fact that we are rehashing the Darryl Sutter regime, I have some concerns about some of the assertions made in this article that I think are made without any supporting information.

-"Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality, which ultimately created a toxic environment for players and executives alike." Aside from a couple of off hand comments made by Rhett Warrener and some insider reporter bravado (which I am somewhat skeptical of since the reporting of it when Sutter's firing was imminent or announced) who exactly, in particular which executives, have said they were working in a toxic win now environment?

" your GM trades the 1st and/or 2nd rd picks every year" -Sutter managed the Flames draft for 8 seasons. He traded the 1st round pick once and the 2nd round pick 6 times. He took 9 of 16 draft picks. That is a far slide from "every year". See hockeydb.com under the Flames drafts by year.

"Holland is a bright man, who has the ability to empower key people to carry out these responsibilities. His biggest challenge comes in recruiting personalities that share his vision, and can mesh with his Red Wing culture." -I'm sorry, but was there some interview with someone that said this to be the case? What is the vision, and who has not bought in with it, or has bought in with it, and why was that a challenge? Who has he hired that demonstrated that? Seems puffery to me.

-"Successful organizations follow an extensive process in order to fill specific roles." -Is there some study that shows "an extensive process" is inherently preferable to a shorter one?

"How exactly did Jamie McLennan get the job as Goalie Coach back in June of 2009?" and "There was a process carried out in order to find the *right* people to assume these roles." -I don't know, how did Jamie McLennan get the job? What process was carried out. These statements (or rhetorical question in place of assertion to insinuate there was no process) are made but there is no description of the process. Was a set of qualifications decided upon? Was an advertisement requesting applications? A search committee put together? To just say "there was a process" because it took a long time is a big stretch. I mean, what process was there in selecting Craig Conroy? I don't know, but without the facts I wouldn't assert the process was faulty.

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#9 Newman
August 09 2011, 01:07PM
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Great read. A tad too long, but very well written. Good job!

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#10 Graham
August 09 2011, 01:24PM
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Michael wrote:

Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality

Was it Sutter that forced the 'win now, forget tomorrow' mentality, or did this direction come from higher up?...(King or the Owners)

Feaster has made several moves that might suggest 'win now, forget tomorrow' is still in play; the Kotalik salary dump (vs Sutters Primeau dump), the re signing of older vets like Morrision (vs a spot for a prospect), and the attempted signing of Smyth and Richards.

Thanks for the comment.

I would agree there's still an element to it, but like I say, I would argue there's a manageable timeline attributed to some of these risks. He signed Morrison, which I don't necessarily agree with, but the deal was one year 800,000 with 400,000 in performance bonuses. So, I would suggest it's less risky than bringing on an ever-inconsistent Ales Kotalik for at 3mill for 2.5 seasons, or trading for Steve Staios at too much money (2.7) at the trade deadline - not as a rental, but for an additional full season.

We can agree that the Richards/Smyth deals would have been catastrophic, but they were never consummated. I think we'd be pretty disgusted at some of the "almost" deals Darryl had in play.

By the way: I'm not a big fan of Feaster or anything, but I was desperate for a change in philosophy, and I think he brings that

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#11 ChinookArch
August 09 2011, 01:43PM
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A concise and well argued article. I look forward to reading more from you Grasshopper. You scored an 8, which is my highest rating so far. You may score higher if your next one is as good as this.

Kent, this guy is a keeper if he can continue writing like this, and choose compelling subjects which engage readers.

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#12 Laur
August 09 2011, 01:54PM
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Very insightful, well written. Graham obviously an avid supporter of our team.

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#13 FireOnIce
August 09 2011, 02:12PM
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Pretty good read, well written, and you bring up some good rhetorical points regarding the alternatives to Feaster.

I too question the hiring of Jamie McLennan as our goal coach. He went to the WHL finals, and posted some decent records playing for the Islanders, but he has never done much beyond that. Why he was ever hired to be a goalie development coach for the Flames is a mystery to me. Hell, after he chopped Franzen in the gut during the 06-07 playoffs, I would have been happier had we completely cut ties.

Why would we have a goalie like McLennan teaching Kipper how to play better? I think Malarchuk's hiring is a step in the right direction.

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#14 Graham
August 09 2011, 02:17PM
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Tach wrote:

Aside from the fact that we are rehashing the Darryl Sutter regime, I have some concerns about some of the assertions made in this article that I think are made without any supporting information.

-"Sutter was a knowledgeable hockey specialist, who forced a *win now, forget tomorrow* mentality, which ultimately created a toxic environment for players and executives alike." Aside from a couple of off hand comments made by Rhett Warrener and some insider reporter bravado (which I am somewhat skeptical of since the reporting of it when Sutter's firing was imminent or announced) who exactly, in particular which executives, have said they were working in a toxic win now environment?

" your GM trades the 1st and/or 2nd rd picks every year" -Sutter managed the Flames draft for 8 seasons. He traded the 1st round pick once and the 2nd round pick 6 times. He took 9 of 16 draft picks. That is a far slide from "every year". See hockeydb.com under the Flames drafts by year.

"Holland is a bright man, who has the ability to empower key people to carry out these responsibilities. His biggest challenge comes in recruiting personalities that share his vision, and can mesh with his Red Wing culture." -I'm sorry, but was there some interview with someone that said this to be the case? What is the vision, and who has not bought in with it, or has bought in with it, and why was that a challenge? Who has he hired that demonstrated that? Seems puffery to me.

-"Successful organizations follow an extensive process in order to fill specific roles." -Is there some study that shows "an extensive process" is inherently preferable to a shorter one?

"How exactly did Jamie McLennan get the job as Goalie Coach back in June of 2009?" and "There was a process carried out in order to find the *right* people to assume these roles." -I don't know, how did Jamie McLennan get the job? What process was carried out. These statements (or rhetorical question in place of assertion to insinuate there was no process) are made but there is no description of the process. Was a set of qualifications decided upon? Was an advertisement requesting applications? A search committee put together? To just say "there was a process" because it took a long time is a big stretch. I mean, what process was there in selecting Craig Conroy? I don't know, but without the facts I wouldn't assert the process was faulty.

Fair point, thanks for the feedback. I could be reaching in some of my assessments, but I wouldn't say I'm pulling it out of nowhere.

1 - I would say a toxic environment is one where the Head Coach & GM don't speak, for instance:

2 - that's where the and/or comes in. I would argue trading 2nd rd picks 6/8 times isn't the way one should do business, but I see your point.

3 - I guess I'm operating under the assumption that Detroit's drafting & developing has more to do with AHL mgmt roles and scouting staff than the GM first-hand. Diamond in the rough 6th rounders like Pavel Datsyuk, 7th rounders like Zetterberg & 3rd rounders like Franzen aren't evaluated from the press box in Detroit. If you read "The Art of Scouting" it will discuss Holland's vision that the scouts carry out, first-hand comments from Holland and a few of his scouts. It talks about how the org focuses on raw-skill set & patience above other factors such as size, "heart," attitude, maturity, physical play, etc. I would consider that a component of *vision.*

4 - An extensive process doesn't need to be long. You can follow an extensive process when car-shopping, and still buy a car within a few days. The point I'm trying to make is they had interviewed candidates and were "close" to naming an AGM in May, but needed permission to talk to other alternatives after the draft. You don't have to believe what Ken King says, but that's the conversation between King & Fan960 that took place when Jay was named full-time GM.

5 - When Jay hired Conroy as Special Assistant, he explained why he still needed an AGM and why Conroy wasn't ready for that role - in comes John Weisbrod. I would say back-up goaltender to full-time goaltending coach in the NHL is a significant jump, but Darryl felt McLennan was the best fit. I consider Conroy being utilized as an *additional* resource to Weisbrod & Feaster not as risky. Firing an experienced goaltending coach in favour of a back-up goaltender, one season removed, is risky. So, I guess I feel pretty comfortable criticizing the McLennan hiring, especially considering he has since been let go.

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#15 FlamesFan99
August 09 2011, 02:41PM
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This is the best article I have seen by a long shot.

Great job Graham!

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#16 Graham
August 09 2011, 02:41PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

On Sutter's focus on win now...I think it was a defensible strategy for a time, particularly when he had Regehr, Kipper, Iginla and Langkow at or near their prime a few years ago. His true failing was his inability to transition from win now after he failed to get the team over the hump, leaving the team in budget crisis with few future assets to speak of.

That, and his various shark jumping activities over the last year or so of his tenure. The Staios trade and the nonsense around the trading and re-acquisition of Jokinen made it clear he'd lost the plot, for example.

I supported the *win now* mentality for the first few years, and agree that it was appropriate for the time being. The last two years of Darryl's tenure, however, was frightening. It was as though he was desperately trying to make up for lost time by making unusual moves in panic-mode. A handful of poor decisions will hurt this team for a long time, which tends to overshadow the positives from his time at the helm.

Thanks for the opportunity, Kent!

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#17 Graham
August 09 2011, 03:07PM
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mslepp wrote:

Very nicely written, Graham.

You wrote so nicely that you almost convinced me Jay Feaster is doing a great job. We were so blinded by what the actual job was by Darryl Sutter that when someone comes in and attempts to go at it properly, we heap praise all over him. But, I suppose, to go against myself, we should probably at least be happy he's making a go at it.

And, even though he doesn't hire all his old mistakes from Tampa, that certainly doesn't stop him from acquiring (or attempting to acquire) all his old players from those failed days. As far as Malarchuk goes; that hire boggles me. But, I find it funny that he's hired when his kids live in Okotoks. That's quite a coincidence... or, maybe he's the only one who wanted to come?

I will never give him credit for the Regehr trade. It accomplished nothing but an overly publicized swing-and-a-miss at Brad Richards. Really, he has to go to the media to tell everyone the Flames were the runner up? Give me a break. If he was looking further than this year he would have just let Kotalik's contract run out instead of using Regehr as the sacrificial lamb.

As long as Ken King controls the strings of the Flames management, we won't see significant change. The non-stealing of headlines isn't the wheels being in motion underneath the surface... that's the sound of things staying the same.

Having said all of that... I really enjoyed the read. Good job, Graham.

Thanks for reading. In terms of Malarchuk, I suppose you could make the Okotoks connection. I would argue there are likely a number of viable candidates for the job throughout Alberta, so the Okotoks factor doesn't stick out to me. Not to mention, Malarchuk is far from a convenient or safe move. If you haven't already, have a look at the article on Malarchuk by Scott Cruickshank!

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#18 Rain Dogs
August 09 2011, 03:08PM
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Well written article, but I'm really not a fan of articles which don't back up lofty claims with hard evidence.

Saying DS had no vision? Not a chance. Maybe not an agreeable one... but he had a vision.

Saying DS couldn't identify strengths in others? No way. Take a look at our numerous grinder type players (GlenX, RBQ, Moss, Jackman etc.etc.)

And on to Feaster.

I'm curious why when Feaster has done nothing well, it's chalked up to "his vision"

He hasn't improved the team short term.

He lost a major bet on Richards for the long term (and we applaud that?)

He has done little to change things Long term. -He's given up more picks than acquired (Fail) -Of the 9 contracts which expire next year 8 of them are Darryl's. The ninth was BMo who shouldn't have come back anyway! -He resigned players that shouldn't have been back:Babchuk, and Bmo. -He blew his first transaction a wasted Modin for a waste of a pick.

Feaster can lay down the $100 feel-good-phrases, but his actions do the talking and they aren't saying anything good.

Are we going to say "Man, Jay had a great vision for us to finish in 14th place, so we could get that good draft pick!"

I could manage THAT!

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#19 everton fc
August 09 2011, 03:15PM
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Was McLennan actually bad at his job? One cuold argue he did a good job w/Karlsson...

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#20 Graham
August 09 2011, 03:43PM
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everton fc wrote:

Was McLennan actually bad at his job? One cuold argue he did a good job w/Karlsson...

I agree that Karlsson came along well this season, but I also saw Kiprusoff struggle. If he was a good fit for the role, why was he let go by people that worked with him? I saw more confidence in Karlsson as the season progressed, but I would say Karlsson's 4-5-6 record doesn't do much to endorse McLennan's work.

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#21 Kevin R
August 09 2011, 03:52PM
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Enjoyed the read Graham. Agree with some things and dont on others just because you spun things they way you perceive them to be. Maybe not totally accurate but hey, a good sales job. First off, everyone is throwing a few stones about the Ryan Smyth bullitt we just missed. Here's the thing, Smyth wanted back to Alberta, mainly Edmonton & Lombardi was put in a bad situation. Crap, they are still fighting about what LA recd back from Edmonton & the league will have to intervene. Lombardi knew Calgary was his only choice to give him any leverage at all. How can you blame Jay from getting a call from Lombardie and saying lets talk? Suddenly, here was a chance to maybe parlay Stajan or Hagman over to LA & take back Smyth for the last year of his contract. If I was GM I would have got into those talks as well. Why not. So unless you were on the conference call with Feaster, King & Lombardi, I would reserve judgement. I do agree about the one man show Darryl was. His brother Brent couldnt even hire his own assistants, that says volumes. Anyone who knows the internal dynamics knows Darryl on many occasions ignored Ken Kings requests & inquiries because he had that untouchable aura & just went and did what Darryl wanted to do. I think Darryl is/was a brilliant hockey man. His approach was one that definitely had a shelf life and eventually had to end & we are experiencing today what a GM dictatorship will do once it becomes toxic. I think the Brad Richards was one last chance to get Iggy a premier top line centre and take a run at the cup in the next 2-3 years. After that, things would have got ugly. Another bullitt we just missed. Last comment here is that King & Owners dictated the return we got for Regehr. It was about $$$$. If Robyn leads Buffalo to a cup, Jay is the fall guy, if Reggy play continues to deteriorate like we have seen the last couple of years, Jay misses a bullitt. But Im sure the owners gave him a mulligan for doing this one.

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#23 Graham
August 09 2011, 04:01PM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Well written article, but I'm really not a fan of articles which don't back up lofty claims with hard evidence.

Saying DS had no vision? Not a chance. Maybe not an agreeable one... but he had a vision.

Saying DS couldn't identify strengths in others? No way. Take a look at our numerous grinder type players (GlenX, RBQ, Moss, Jackman etc.etc.)

And on to Feaster.

I'm curious why when Feaster has done nothing well, it's chalked up to "his vision"

He hasn't improved the team short term.

He lost a major bet on Richards for the long term (and we applaud that?)

He has done little to change things Long term. -He's given up more picks than acquired (Fail) -Of the 9 contracts which expire next year 8 of them are Darryl's. The ninth was BMo who shouldn't have come back anyway! -He resigned players that shouldn't have been back:Babchuk, and Bmo. -He blew his first transaction a wasted Modin for a waste of a pick.

Feaster can lay down the $100 feel-good-phrases, but his actions do the talking and they aren't saying anything good.

Are we going to say "Man, Jay had a great vision for us to finish in 14th place, so we could get that good draft pick!"

I could manage THAT!

Thanks for the feedback. I'm a tad confused by your reasoning here:

By "identify strengths in others" I was referring to his work associates: pro/amateur scouts, AGMs (if any), his coaching staff. I have stated he was a knowledgeable hockey guy. The cluster of grinders on the Flames makes Darryl an effective manager? I don't see it. I would say the utilization of "grinders" has more to do with the coach than the GM.

I can understand that you may have been looking for more hard evidence, but I'm not seeing it with your vision argument. What exactly was Darryl's vision for the organization?

I agree Feaster hasn't done much in terms of player personnel, but what kind of moves would you like to see? Hagman gone? Stajan gone? Sarich gone? Me too, but if there was a reasonable deal on the table for these guys, I expect they'd be gone by now.

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#24 Gange
August 09 2011, 04:12PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I haven't seen any proof that goaltending coaches effect performance at the NHL level. Not much point in arguing over that issue.

Agreed. Next point.

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#25 Ryan Popilchak
August 09 2011, 04:19PM
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Nice job Graham, my favorite of the articles so far.

I have absolutely no factual insight as to the management style of Sutter, Feaster or Holland. However, from my time as a professional and as a manager of large groups of people, I wholeheartedly agree with the assertions you make about the effectiveness of the two management styles.

Good managers hire smart people and let them work their magic while less secure and less aware managers try to micro-manage and impose their will on employees. There is a difference between providing vision and restricting the ability to operate independently.

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#26 Tach
August 09 2011, 04:20PM
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@Graham

I was looking for was some sources and this is a thorough and well thought out response, which can be rare in this type of forum and I want you to know it is appreciated. Thanks.

In particular, I have not read "The Art of Scouting" before but it is now on my reading list.

Also, on the draft pick trades that look stinky now, the 2004 2nd was traded for Marcus Nilson and the pick was used to draft David Booth.

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#27 Gange
August 09 2011, 04:21PM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Well written article, but I'm really not a fan of articles which don't back up lofty claims with hard evidence.

Saying DS had no vision? Not a chance. Maybe not an agreeable one... but he had a vision.

Saying DS couldn't identify strengths in others? No way. Take a look at our numerous grinder type players (GlenX, RBQ, Moss, Jackman etc.etc.)

And on to Feaster.

I'm curious why when Feaster has done nothing well, it's chalked up to "his vision"

He hasn't improved the team short term.

He lost a major bet on Richards for the long term (and we applaud that?)

He has done little to change things Long term. -He's given up more picks than acquired (Fail) -Of the 9 contracts which expire next year 8 of them are Darryl's. The ninth was BMo who shouldn't have come back anyway! -He resigned players that shouldn't have been back:Babchuk, and Bmo. -He blew his first transaction a wasted Modin for a waste of a pick.

Feaster can lay down the $100 feel-good-phrases, but his actions do the talking and they aren't saying anything good.

Are we going to say "Man, Jay had a great vision for us to finish in 14th place, so we could get that good draft pick!"

I could manage THAT!

When you're talking about player decisions you can't really isolate Darryl on judging of strengths. He had input from others whether he chose to use it or not. So it's unclear if he made that determination.

The fact that the team is in the state it's in now weighs heavy on Darryl and not nearly as much on Jay. Sure he brought in Modin and I don't agree with that decision but it is what it is and didn't resign him.

He took a shot at Richards, and I am pretty happy that didn't happen. I'm not going to lament losing Reggie though. As good as he played for this team over the years someone had to draw the short straw and that further means that next year this team will have an entirely new dynamic. For that I am grateful. I'm tired of the same personnel, same results, but different expectations.

FWIW - Jay has made concessions to be competitive now. This team isn't a SC contender and he'd be selling you a bridge if he tried to convince you of such. However this team won't get beat up on night after night after night. Unlike our northern cousins.

Jay may not be the savior but he has made some significant changes and allowed people in the organization to have a voice. For that I think we'll see a more even and year after year more successful franchise.

Don't get sucked into the "we must be an elite team every year" noise. This organization has not been set up for that.

Maybe it is now, we'll have to wait and see.

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#28 Rain Dogs
August 09 2011, 04:23PM
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@Graham

Acquiring "diamond-in-the-rough" players is the job of the GM - that was Sutter.

Let's not forget that Sutter took a team in a bad situation and turned it around almost immediately. And Jay?

The bias is that some think Darryl was bad and Jay is better. That's the responsibility of the article to prove... not just to suggest with unproven Hear-Say.

How can we prove Darryl couldn't identify strengths in his staff?

I don't know exactly what Darryl's vision was, but I can guess. "Surround a core of elite players at each position, with a hard-working Western Canadian blue collar team, who the fans of Calgary will Identify with, and compete every season for the Stanley Cup. Toughness, Grit, Experience."

And Jay's? NOT what he said earlier in the year! Young, draft picks, no NMC's. I don't know what Jay's is?

People were upset with Darryl. Fine. However, how is Jay Feaster doing a good job?... and better job than another GM?.. not than Darryl, that's over. I'm talking about Darryl in response to the article. We've got to stop measuring Jay vs Darryl and measure Jay vs Jay.

How is Jay succeeding where other GM's may have failed given this situation?

I don't think he is. I think he's doing a poor job.

Tim Erixon. Jay's at that ship when it went down...not Darryl. Jay took that return. Jay was GM for months, and should have done better.

same with Modin, Bmo, Babchuk, Regehr/Richards. Is this Jay's vision?

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#30 Gange
August 09 2011, 04:30PM
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@Rain Dogs

"Tim Erixon. Jay's at that ship when it went down...not Darryl. Jay took that return. Jay was GM for months, and should have done better."

Hold on there RD. That's kind of like blaming Obama for financial crisis.

Tim Erixon was a failure but it was as much on Darryl as it is on Jay. Remember Gio going to Russia? That was because of Darryl. Luckily for us he came back. Tim just didn't come back.

The jury is still out on Jay. Let's be very clear about that. However the book is closed on Darryl and in the last couple of years he squandered a great deal of the promise this franchise had; and I respect that he brought us a SC championship (I mean really, the puck was in!). He will be remembered for his good and his bad.

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#32 RexLibris
August 09 2011, 04:50PM
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@Kent Wilson

Personally, I'd stay away from Keaster for now, maybe if they're both fired then you'd have the pun built in for the headline (Thrown out on their...).

Best article yet (I think, sometimes it's too hot to think hard) and I enjoyed reading a "take" on a situation that was well thought out and equally well presented. Good writing style and the points were well taken for what they are (blog postings) and I don't think require much in the way of direct support.

I agree that there seems to be a more thought-out approach to some of Feaster's hirings than there were under Sutter. The scary thing for any fan though is that a team is a autocracy, and the fans don't have any say. So, if Feaster is right, you all say yay and the kingdom is peaceful and prosperous. If he's wrong, well, light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks, ladies and gentlemen.

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#33 mslepp
August 09 2011, 05:12PM
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@Graham

Found it... good read, thanks for the head's up on that one.

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#34 schevvy
August 09 2011, 05:13PM
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Very good article Graham. I would not object at all to reading your articles on FN in the future. Good work picking a topic people are also quite passionate about.

Darryl Sutter had a great run with the Flames until the end of the 08-09 season, where by the end of the regular season we had 15 skaters playing cause of the cap hole that we were and still are in. After that it was mainly a disaster, although he still did some good things (ex: signing Tangs for virtually nothing.) He however never gave the young guys a real chance, and in my opinion that is why we have had so many draft pick busts.

Feaster seems like he will focus more on the future, but one has to wonder if he can actually " walk the walk" on that one. He gave away a pick in his very first trade, (only a 7th but hey, zetterberg was also a 7th and I'd say he's pretty good) and Modin was a failure. He gave up a 2nd in the Regher trade, and gave up a 5th for a dude (who again?). This organization has missed the playoffs two years in a row and need to keep their picks and develop them to be successful and to avoid having to do a full-out rebuild (ex: Edmonton).

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#35 Tach
August 09 2011, 05:31PM
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@Kent Wilson

I have read "Future Greats and Heartbreaks". Agree it is interesting, although I think alot of that turns on the fact the players are so much in the spotlight right now. I think of that book everytime I hear Brassard, Voracek, Aliu.

Sounds like "Art of Scouting" may be a library pick up.

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#36 RexLibris
August 09 2011, 05:55PM
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@Kent Wilson

I kind of agree with Art of Scouting. It wasn't as in-depth as I thought and frankly I skipped large chapters because what kind of revelation am I going to have reading about how scouts look for hockey sense and the difference between speed and quickness. That being said his romanticization and anecdotal chapters of the scouting fraternity were entertaining. Although I guess we can't really expect scouts to start spilling their guts about trade secrets and favourite haunting grounds in a book, it's an arcane art and they do everything they can to keep it that way otherwise they'd all be unemployed. I think I was also disappointed with AOS because Joyce did such a great job on When The Lights Went Out.

A better read regarding scouting is Leafs Abomination, although inadvertently, because it takes a critical look at the Leafs utter lack of drafting and developing talent over the last 40 years in their pursuit of free agents and instantly remaking their team.

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#37 Rain Dogs
August 09 2011, 06:17PM
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@Gange

Disagree.

First, your analogy of the financial crisis is a poor one considering the myriad of factors that contribute to a global financial crisis.

BUT.... what the heck, I'll bite.

Obama, of course, shouldn't be measured for his influence on the beginnings of the financial crisis... but SHOULD and will be measured on his handling of the crisis, now that he's in it.

Same goes for Feaster. He shouldn't be blamed for Darryl's mess.

BUT, he SHOULD be measured on how he deals with Darryl's mess.

At some point, and I'd say now, Darryl has to stop being Jay's get out of jail free crutch.

I think you can measure Jay now if we want to. I think we're collectively afraid to call Feaster on what he's done, because we all hoped Darryl was a unique problem.

Jay Feaster: So far, not so good. What's one thing he's done where you say "WOW!, that was good." ????

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#38 Graham
August 09 2011, 06:32PM
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Tach wrote:

I was looking for was some sources and this is a thorough and well thought out response, which can be rare in this type of forum and I want you to know it is appreciated. Thanks.

In particular, I have not read "The Art of Scouting" before but it is now on my reading list.

Also, on the draft pick trades that look stinky now, the 2004 2nd was traded for Marcus Nilson and the pick was used to draft David Booth.

Your criticisms are fair. I realize that blogging about the inner workings of management can be a leap, especially when none of us are actually behind the scenes. Most of my assertions come from King & Feaster, which many will scoff at. When one of them come out and say "moving forward, we want to ___" it processes in my head to mean "In the past, we were not ___." Of course, that means taking comments from NHL executives at face value, which can be foolish at times.

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#39 kbignell
August 09 2011, 09:37PM
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I'm not going to say that every move that Darryl sutter made was terrible but I have to agree with graham, with darryl and his win now and forget tomorrow attitude. One thing I hope feaster does that sutter didnt, is bring up our young prospects and give them chance to play with the flames.

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#40 Vintage Flame
August 09 2011, 11:44PM
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I can't say I agree with your take on Darryl Sutter not being a qualified GM. In your words..

"A manager is a leader; creates a vision, empowers people, communicates effectively, hogs the blame and shares the success. A manager hunts down resources and aligns them in specialized roles, to ensure the group reaches its targets. A manager is not the most skilled or knowledgeable specialist, but has the ability to identify the strengths in others, and get all parts moving in one direction in order to achieve success. So, what did that Darryl Sutter guy do again?"

On Sutter not having vision, or empowering a group of people. How can you say this when he took a team that had missed the playoffs for 7 years straight.. to the Stanley Cup finals. Now I know you are going to say, "Yeah VF, but he was the coach then!". Meh.. I know, but it was still the same guy, despite the role. And it was his actions as coach that made him GM, not like if he was hired to the organization straight into the GM position.

As for hunting down resources.. I don't agree with this either. I'll leave my reasoning at two words, Miikka Kiprusoff. Despite his play and ststus now with the team, when Sutter brought him over to the Flames, he was like the 2nd coming of Christ.. and so was born the blind following of the fans that was "In Sutter we trust". Just for the hell of it, I'll also include the names Jackman, Tanguay, Glencross and Bourque into that mix. I will also admit to the other side of the coin with DSutz, when Jokinen didn't pan out, why he brought the guy back, is still a mystery to most.

If I recall, [and i may be way out to lunch here as well] Sutter was never one to pass the buck when it came to the blame game. I think this was part of his tyrannical nature as GM that all decisions,, good OR bad.. were ultimately his and his alone.

I'm not trying to vindicate Sutter in any way here, and for the record, I'm glad he's gone. However, I don't agree that at any time he wasn't qualified for the GM position. In his case, he just let himself get in the way of the possible success of this team. And, I truly believe that a large contributing factor to that was, and remains Ken King.

Not listening to the people around him, is on him and him alone, though I don't agree for a moment that there was any lack of communication between Darryl and Brent, as you suggested. As for Jay.. Well it kind of feels like I'm beating a dead horse here now, but that's not the fault of you or your article, so I'll pretend I'm saying it for the first time, to be fair to you.

Feaster deserves a bit of slack here, until he at least gets one full season under his belt. He has a mess to clean up here, and let's face it, Rome wasn't built in a day? has he made all brilliant moves? No.. Modin was a terrible decision and I'm STILL scratching my head about C3PL [sic.], especially since McIntyre no longer plays in the armpit of Alberta! But for the most part I like the moves he has made. They are NOT moves that are going to benefit us today, but I do think they will pave the way for the team making some significant changes next year. I will miss Regehr, but I approve of the move. I don't like that we gave up a 2nd round pick to drop Kotalik, BUT, i'm hopeful Jay finds a way to get it back. I'm willing to give him time.

Well Graham.. I don't agree with a lot of your article, BUT.. you got me to ramble on here.. So full points there. Good job!

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#41 SmellOfVictory
August 09 2011, 11:48PM
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Sutter didn't explicitly pass the buck, but he never took responsibility for his actions. It was either "you are all too dumb to understand", or "hey a bunch of people are being traded/fired for various reasons", which is basically the same as saying "it's this guy's fault, not mine."

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#42 Vintage Flame
August 10 2011, 12:21AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Sutter didn't explicitly pass the buck, but he never took responsibility for his actions. It was either "you are all too dumb to understand", or "hey a bunch of people are being traded/fired for various reasons", which is basically the same as saying "it's this guy's fault, not mine."

Well the man wasn't an idiot either. It's not like he is going to come out to the media and say, "Hey! Who's got two thumbs and screwed up?.. THIS GUY!!!"

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#43 Doug
August 10 2011, 01:58AM
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Straight up, I'm not a fan of this article. Seriously, an endorsement of Jay Feaster is'nt what I want to be reading at Flamesnation.

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#44 Gatorade
August 10 2011, 03:33AM
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What a nice article.

Where can I buy a Flames t-shirt #5?

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#45 Graham
August 10 2011, 10:08AM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

I can't say I agree with your take on Darryl Sutter not being a qualified GM. In your words..

"A manager is a leader; creates a vision, empowers people, communicates effectively, hogs the blame and shares the success. A manager hunts down resources and aligns them in specialized roles, to ensure the group reaches its targets. A manager is not the most skilled or knowledgeable specialist, but has the ability to identify the strengths in others, and get all parts moving in one direction in order to achieve success. So, what did that Darryl Sutter guy do again?"

On Sutter not having vision, or empowering a group of people. How can you say this when he took a team that had missed the playoffs for 7 years straight.. to the Stanley Cup finals. Now I know you are going to say, "Yeah VF, but he was the coach then!". Meh.. I know, but it was still the same guy, despite the role. And it was his actions as coach that made him GM, not like if he was hired to the organization straight into the GM position.

As for hunting down resources.. I don't agree with this either. I'll leave my reasoning at two words, Miikka Kiprusoff. Despite his play and ststus now with the team, when Sutter brought him over to the Flames, he was like the 2nd coming of Christ.. and so was born the blind following of the fans that was "In Sutter we trust". Just for the hell of it, I'll also include the names Jackman, Tanguay, Glencross and Bourque into that mix. I will also admit to the other side of the coin with DSutz, when Jokinen didn't pan out, why he brought the guy back, is still a mystery to most.

If I recall, [and i may be way out to lunch here as well] Sutter was never one to pass the buck when it came to the blame game. I think this was part of his tyrannical nature as GM that all decisions,, good OR bad.. were ultimately his and his alone.

I'm not trying to vindicate Sutter in any way here, and for the record, I'm glad he's gone. However, I don't agree that at any time he wasn't qualified for the GM position. In his case, he just let himself get in the way of the possible success of this team. And, I truly believe that a large contributing factor to that was, and remains Ken King.

Not listening to the people around him, is on him and him alone, though I don't agree for a moment that there was any lack of communication between Darryl and Brent, as you suggested. As for Jay.. Well it kind of feels like I'm beating a dead horse here now, but that's not the fault of you or your article, so I'll pretend I'm saying it for the first time, to be fair to you.

Feaster deserves a bit of slack here, until he at least gets one full season under his belt. He has a mess to clean up here, and let's face it, Rome wasn't built in a day? has he made all brilliant moves? No.. Modin was a terrible decision and I'm STILL scratching my head about C3PL [sic.], especially since McIntyre no longer plays in the armpit of Alberta! But for the most part I like the moves he has made. They are NOT moves that are going to benefit us today, but I do think they will pave the way for the team making some significant changes next year. I will miss Regehr, but I approve of the move. I don't like that we gave up a 2nd round pick to drop Kotalik, BUT, i'm hopeful Jay finds a way to get it back. I'm willing to give him time.

Well Graham.. I don't agree with a lot of your article, BUT.. you got me to ramble on here.. So full points there. Good job!

Thanks for reading. A few points:

- Let me clarify that by empowering people & hunting down resources, I mean utilizing resources in management. I've said Darryl is a knowledgeable hockey guy. He has an eye for talent on the ice, but I think it's more important to have a strong manager in charge of a group of knowledgeable hockey guys. Darryl was a strong hockey guy who operated (more or less) in isolation. I don't think that's entirely his fault, he was given the go-ahead to operate that way. I was a Darryl supporter for most of his tenure, but he was given an extremely long leash, which ultimately hurt this team. I'm not even a strong Feaster supporter, for what it's worth.

- Darryl developed a strong dislike for the Calgary media & anyone who had an opinion, so that was his target. Any time he was questioned over a move that didn't work out, he would either brush it off or justify it by pointing out how little the rest of the city knows about hockey. He's right that hockey fans & media aren't qualified to run a hockey team, but we do watch the games. He can't convince me Olli was a good fit to be a #1 C alongside Jarome, regardless of how inexperienced I may be in the business of pro sports. All GMs will make mistakes, but I find it refreshing to hear Jay's self-depreciating comments about the Freddy Modin trade, or his concessions on the lesson he learned after he signed "The Big 3" to long term deals in Tampa. Jay gets it, he's gonna mess up, but he's not going to hide from it either.

- We can hold Jay accountable to his vision. That's what I can appreciate: he takes the helm, outlines what culture he wants to create, and he is therefore going to be judged on his ability to make that happen. Wouldn't it be easy for him to take the job and say nothing? Just make moves, say very little, and see what happens? By coming out and saying "I want ___, we need to do ____," he's on the hook for that.

- Feaster hasn't accomplished much so far - I wouldn't argue that - and I look forward to criticizing him a year from now if he doesn't accomplish what he's set out to do. So far, I don't see the draft picks he's talked about acquiring, for instance, but we'll need a greater body of work to determine what his mark on his team will be. Darryl wasn't held accountable to his moves because he was incredibly inconsistent. He would sign an undrafted free agent and say "we need to get younger" and then he would trade for 37-yr-old Staios and reply with "we need veteran experience."

- I don't expect anyone to support Feaster yet, but I don't understand the bashing either. We we're so desperate for a new direction, yet here it is and now we're angry about it.

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#46 Kevin R
August 10 2011, 10:22AM
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Graham wrote:

Thanks for reading. A few points:

- Let me clarify that by empowering people & hunting down resources, I mean utilizing resources in management. I've said Darryl is a knowledgeable hockey guy. He has an eye for talent on the ice, but I think it's more important to have a strong manager in charge of a group of knowledgeable hockey guys. Darryl was a strong hockey guy who operated (more or less) in isolation. I don't think that's entirely his fault, he was given the go-ahead to operate that way. I was a Darryl supporter for most of his tenure, but he was given an extremely long leash, which ultimately hurt this team. I'm not even a strong Feaster supporter, for what it's worth.

- Darryl developed a strong dislike for the Calgary media & anyone who had an opinion, so that was his target. Any time he was questioned over a move that didn't work out, he would either brush it off or justify it by pointing out how little the rest of the city knows about hockey. He's right that hockey fans & media aren't qualified to run a hockey team, but we do watch the games. He can't convince me Olli was a good fit to be a #1 C alongside Jarome, regardless of how inexperienced I may be in the business of pro sports. All GMs will make mistakes, but I find it refreshing to hear Jay's self-depreciating comments about the Freddy Modin trade, or his concessions on the lesson he learned after he signed "The Big 3" to long term deals in Tampa. Jay gets it, he's gonna mess up, but he's not going to hide from it either.

- We can hold Jay accountable to his vision. That's what I can appreciate: he takes the helm, outlines what culture he wants to create, and he is therefore going to be judged on his ability to make that happen. Wouldn't it be easy for him to take the job and say nothing? Just make moves, say very little, and see what happens? By coming out and saying "I want ___, we need to do ____," he's on the hook for that.

- Feaster hasn't accomplished much so far - I wouldn't argue that - and I look forward to criticizing him a year from now if he doesn't accomplish what he's set out to do. So far, I don't see the draft picks he's talked about acquiring, for instance, but we'll need a greater body of work to determine what his mark on his team will be. Darryl wasn't held accountable to his moves because he was incredibly inconsistent. He would sign an undrafted free agent and say "we need to get younger" and then he would trade for 37-yr-old Staios and reply with "we need veteran experience."

- I don't expect anyone to support Feaster yet, but I don't understand the bashing either. We we're so desperate for a new direction, yet here it is and now we're angry about it.

I agree Graham with what you say here Graham, just remember if you drink from a carton of milk that is sour & made you sick, it's hard to take another drink if you think it's still the same carton of bad milk. Feaster has been given that label because he was kind of hired under Sutter's watch as an AGM and talks a mean game but his moves kind of contradict what he says. We are just a little nervous as this upcoming year and the moves that are made could impact this franchise for the next 5-7 years. Reality is, despite his efforts to appear active like other GM's he really had diddly squat options this summer.

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#47 JF
August 10 2011, 11:33AM
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FWIW, I think this as been the best contributer articule thus far.

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#48 JF
August 10 2011, 11:33AM
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FWIW, I think this as been the best contributer articule thus far.

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#49 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
August 10 2011, 01:44PM
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Great read. The most impressive so far.

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#50 Azzie
August 10 2011, 02:58PM
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Great article.

I disagree with the part about Darrell having a plan. When Darrell first took over as GM he talked about having established players, and players in years 4 and 5 contributing. He also stated that drafted players should be knocking at the door by the end of their entry level deals.

He also spoke of having one project player per year to spend extra time working with. This was why Robert Dome was dispatched after scoring 5 goals in the preseason, because Darrell felt Oleg Saprykin was that project player.

In my opinion, Darrell came away from this plan which brought about the current Flames edition.

He came away from it when he acquired Jokinen which did not allow the flexibility to re-sign Cammalleri, a player that would have been a younger contributor with higher upside.

He came away from it in dealing away a first rounder because John Armstrong and JD Watt were going to contribute.

There are several other examples, but this is where I feel the plan fell apart. Because he went away from it. Keeping Cammalleri would have given us a goal scorer younger than Jarome and able to contribute. That first rounder in the Jokinen deal had a 35-40% chance of being a contributor down the road according to an earlier article. How good would that look in the Flames farm system now?

I do believe Darrell had a plan, he just went away from it.

That's my only issue with the article and posts.

Nicely done.

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