THE KING's SPEECH

Vintage Flame
June 05 2012 05:02PM

 

Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend the Flames information session held by Ken King. I felt this would be a good follow up to the piece I did last week regarding the direction and role of King within the organization.

Although the session was not as candid as some of those in attendance would have preferred, the President’s demeanor and his willingness to engage the season ticket holders without being dismissive or guarded in any fashion was a welcomed surprise, as were some other factors. Today, Part I examines the discussions leading up to King addressing the concerns of the fan base.

MEDDLING MANAGEMENT

Jay Feaster was also in attendance with King, with Rollie Cyr moderating questions for the brass. It didn’t take long for the STH’s to get right to the point regarding the speculation that Jay took his cues from above. King took the question as directed pointing out that with any company there is a certain level of involvement from the top and any team in the NHL that tells you differently is flat out lying. In order for any company to be successful within its industry’s business model, there has to be a flow of information. To those of us in attendance there was a collective nod; after all, we are all well aware that the unwritten motto of every corporation is that sh!t flows downhill.

He then paused and almost sensing the opportunity chose to turn the rest of the answer over to Feaster, to give the fans the chance to hear what the other half had to say. Feaster was adamant that there was unequivocally no meddling from King or Murray Edwards or any of the owners for that matter. The level of interaction between the GM’s position and upper management is set by Feaster, not the other way around.

Jay went on to explain that it’s his belief that the operation of the Flames runs smoother if he is able to go to King et al seeking not permission, but approval for the decisions he makes regarding the hockey club. If there is any arm twisting going on, it sounded like it was actually getting Jay to do some of the things he was pondering himself. That comment is by no means a shot at Feaster either, but when a GM makes a decision for the team that has a multi-million dollar implication on the owners, he’s not always so eager to jump the gun.

Case in point was the decision to put Ales Kotalik in Abbotsford. When Feaster went to King and said he wanted to put 3 Million dollars in the minors, he was told to go ahead. In fact if it was right for the team, he was told to put 9 Million in the minors if he had to. Now at the time that would have been the preference for Feaster, he was basically given carte blanche to demote Kotalik, Hagman and even Stajan. He chose to only send Kots, but it wasn’t long after that he sent Hagman down as well. According to the GM, that decision was made by him based on the fact that he in fact had prior knowledge of Anaheim’s intentions to claim him upon re-entry.

THE GM-COACH DISCONNECT

Perhaps the biggest assumption I was able to glean from talking with Feaster was that although Jay seemed sincere in his respect for Brent Sutter, there was a constant disconnect between the two that kept them from ever really being on the same page. Normally the moves by the GM have to be taken in stride by the coach - he has to work with what he is given. In the case of Sutter, it was apparent that he not only had the support of Feaster, but shared the same autonomy with the line-ups that Jay had with regards to Ken King. The hesitation and indecision seems to have been a fault of the coach, not the GM.

Interestingly enough, Feaster directed the discussion towards a familiar topic here on FlamesNation: Mikael Backlund. Apparently at one point in the season, Sutter came to the GM with a degree of turmoil in his thoughts. The coach was struggling with the line-up, and with Feaster’s notion of implementing “meritocracy”.

Feaster: “What’s wrong Brent?
Sutter: “I want to play Backlund more..”
Feaster: “So play him!”
Sutter: “But what about Stajan? I wanna sit Matt.”
Feaster: ”So sit him. You run this team with what you feel is the right thing to do.”
*Conversation in Feaster’s words. Brent wasn’t actually there.

The direction of the discussion really got me wondering just what was happening behind the scenes in the Flames organization. Hearing now on two different occasions that both the GM and Coach had autonomy to freely make moves and shape the line-up as they saw fit got me scratching my head as to why then nothing was ever done. When pressed a little further on the matter, Feaster really started getting into the discussion and proverbial flood gates opened.

I decided to see how far Feaster would delve into the situations that seem to hamper the team on the ice and to see if he was still sticking to his guns with his proclamations made throughout the year. Taking to microphone, I asked Feaster a three part question.

”From management to coaching, to the players themselves, how much stock does this organization put into advanced statistics? It was no secret that two seasons ago the line of Jokinen, Glencross and Moss were dominant against opposition’s third lines. Last season with the extended injury to Moss, the subsequent injury to Glencross and the constant attempts to fit Jokinen in with Iginla and Tanguay, that dominant line wasn’t given much of a chance to duplicate that success.

The Iginla line itself was constantly deployed by Sutter in a power vs. power situation, and if we are all being honest here today, more often than not, that line was getting its head kicked in on a regular basis. (At this point, Feaster is nodding in agreement)

On the other hand, it was a pretty dismal season for Backlund, mired by both injury and bad luck, leading to a disappointing season for the young center. However, Backlund’s underlying numbers told somewhat a different story. If Sutter was indeed looking for more opportunities to play Mikael when he was healthy and if the team tracks these kinds of statistics, why was there not the recognition to put Backlund with Iginla and shelter the line with far more offensive zone starts, bringing a higher probability of offensive production, much like what the Vancouver Canucks do with the Sedin’s zone starts?

The third part of my question was directed more towards Feaster’s manifesto that the fan base was constantly reminded of throughout the season.

Jay, all season long you preached two principals that governed how the Flames would be managed -  “meritocracy” and “intellectual honesty”. With the season over and done with now, can we truly be intellectually honest by saying that despite the team’s not wanting to use injuries as an excuse, that the constant need to plug holes in the line-up left a concept like “meritocracy” nothing more than lip service? That the reality was, this team was simply not talented enough to properly employ the advantages that evaluating advanced statistics presented?

Without even as much as a glance in King’s direction Feaster dove right into his answers. He agreed whole-heartedly with the assertion that the injuries to the “OMG” line were devastating to the make-up of the team, that indeed yes there were constantly aware of the possible benefits Backlund could offer if playing with Iginla and Tanguay, but equally aware of just how tied their hands were in attempting to match lines.

The fact that Calgary lacked a true number one line, combined with key and significant injuries, forced Sutter to play Iginla in a power vs. power situation and stunted any chance of sheltering his minutes. With the struggling play of Backlund coupled with the inability to shelter those provided minutes, the decision was made to try and make it work with Jokinen and/or Stajan. Throughout it all, Sutter never did act on his instincts to sit Stajan for any extend period of time, thus closing the door on any feasible application of advanced stats by the team.

STUMBLING INTO  STAGNICITY

The best part of the discussion with Feaster came when the fans started to get on Feaster’s case about standing pat through the trade deadline. It truly bridged the gap between what the perception of the fans was and what was the reality staring back at management.

Everyone was quick to point out Feaster emphatic comments on SportsNet and some even reminded him about his “Fool me once, fool me twice” quote. What many had forgotten was Jay’s explanation as to why the team didn’t make any moves that day. The GM was more than happy to reiterate that the team did in fact have three or four deals in the works and that it was those partners that ended up not following through, not Feaster, and not King. When a fan asked if the Flames ever pay attention to deals they hear of from the fans or in the media, because maybe it just wasn’t something that the team had thought of, Feaster had a reply that was nothing short of classic and BRILLIANT!

*Feaster walks to the very front of the stage and leans out over the crowd, staring right at the fan asking the question...

”Really?... Really? Are you kidding me right now? I have been doing this for 28 years now. I have won a Stanley Cup and a Calder Cup. John Weisbrod has won State Championships, The IHL Championship, and a Stanley Cup Championship. Do you honestly think Rhett and Boomer are going to be able to come up with anything that we haven’t already thought of? Come on now.”

 

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Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 Colin
June 05 2012, 06:09PM
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"Jay went on to explain that it’s his belief that the operation of the Flames runs smoother if he is able to go to King et al seeking not permission, but approval for the decisions he makes regarding the hockey club."

THATS THE SAME THING!!!!! Permission and approval are the same thing, approval just sounds better.

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#2 kittensandcookies
June 05 2012, 05:21PM
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”Really?... Really? Are you kidding me right now? I have been doing this for 28 years now. I have won a Stanley Cup and a Calder Cup. John Weisbrod has won State Championships, The IHL Championship, and a Stanley Cup Championship. Do you honestly think Rhett and Boomer are going to be able to come up with anything that we haven’t already thought of? Come on now.”

Good grief. This is the problem with the Flames right there.

What an arrogant ass.

Wake up, Feaster. The team isn't getting better with you around.

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#3 Mitch P
June 05 2012, 06:10PM
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I just created an account so I could say that kittensandcookies here should stick to dipping his tasty treats in milk while he uses the litter box.

Feaster knows hockey and trades BETTER THAN YOU DO. It's his job. You may disagree with him, but trust me on this, he knows more than you do, more than I do, more than anyone commenting on this forum does. I'm surprised he didn't slap the guy who asked that question. What restraint! It's fun to speculate, but when you start asking the GM of a professional hockey team if he's listening to fans or commentators on trades, then you have a problem. I think it was George McPhee on 24/7 that said something to the effect of "If someone knows enough about hockey to give us advice, they're already working in the NHL."

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#4 negrilcowboy
June 05 2012, 06:20PM
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realy?...realy? realy jay, you inherited a tampa team that one the cup. not by an genius hockey intelligence.

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#5 waitwhat
June 05 2012, 06:54PM
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If they are willing to put money in the minors, why don't they?

Why did we trade a second to get rid of Kotalik, if the team is willing to eat a contract in the minors?

In the example you site, they sat Kotalik towards the end of the season... To argue that is a sign they are willing to eat millions in the farm seems to me to be naive.

I think it's funny...you go to the BSers and they BS you and you take it as gospel.

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#6 Mark
June 05 2012, 07:04PM
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@ Mitch P

"I think it was George McPhee on 24/7 that said something to the effect of "If someone knows enough about hockey to give us advice, they're already working in the NHL."

Not a huge fan of that quote. There is always someone out there who knows hockey (or any sport for that matter) and is simply a watchful fan. Aren't we all giving Feaster advice and such on how to run this team in our constant pleads to play Backlund more, to trade Kipper, to not trade JBOuw, to not reign Jokinen, or to shelter Jarome Iginla?

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#7 Colin
June 05 2012, 06:16PM
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@KittensandCookies

It is a bit arrogant, but he has a point, rhett and Boomer put out some incredibly stupid ideas and Feaster is probably sick of hearing them, so he's probably lashed out more in anger than anything. But seriously, I've seen some of the deals around here people think are great and they have me shaking my head could only image what Feaster and Co have to put up with.

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#8 Kevin R
June 05 2012, 06:26PM
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Hey VF! So that was you in front of me asking all those advanced stats questions. I was at the one the year before & now last Weds, I noticed a big difference. Last year, when asked about Iggy, there was an emphatic no, we have no intention of moving Iggy. This year, there was even more outright Iggy criticism & how he plays, with many applauding the point, & they side stepped the direct Iggy criticism & did not defend him. The only time I think they addressed an Iggy question was the fellow that asked why Iggy didnt practise with the team. I also felt that they were evaluating the market for everyone & if the deal improves the team, they would do it. I felt a lot more optimistic after this session that big changes were coming. I am a little bit sideswiped by the news of not being a cap team in the NHL. Would really have liked some elaboration on that one. I think cap space can also be used to fast track a rebuild, but only if Owners are willing to spend to make that happen.

I also sensed Ken King is looking at a new corporate struture for the Flames Group of Sports Franchises & actually gave legs to the new President of Hockey operations legs, but that's just me reading into that. King did reiterate he works by his own agenda & not the media's & sport analyst panels. He brought the JD to a humorous light right at the start.

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#9 Reidja
June 05 2012, 06:45PM
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Of course there is oversight in any organization. The Flames problem is that this oversight has lead to a decade of bad hockey. As for Feaster's comment re armchair GMs, it's not brilliant, it's self evident. Trades dreamt up on blogs have no more basis in reality than those made in video games. I hate the "let's pretend to be a GM" threads.

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#10 cr_obertson
June 05 2012, 08:06PM
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It seems as though Jay and Ken had the right answers for most all of the questions being asked. However, do these answers really surprise anyone?This was a session with the season ticket holders, the paying customers, and like any business they tell the customer what they want to hear. They will defend themselves and the decisions they have made. They essentially admitted that the team wasn't good enough last season. That isn't newsworthy. The only thing that i would really like to know is what there plan is to remake, reshape, retool, or rebuild this roster into a legitimately competitive team. I don't see any easy solutions to the on ice problems this team has. And the management and ownership has yet to truly show the fans and season ticket holders any direction whatsoever other than status quo. I want to see changes and i believe the entire intelligent part of the fan base does as well. This offseason presents ample opportunity for change with a significant amount of cap space as well as job openings. The coaching staff will be different. But unless the on ice product is improves nobody should really be satisfied, regardless of the lip service King and Feaster pay us next year.

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#13 ChinookArch
June 05 2012, 08:28PM
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VF, your comments about the disconnect between Sutter and Feaster were quite interesting. It was pretty apparent that this disconnect started early on last year,when Sutter refused to play Anton Babchuk. He sat Babchuk right after Feaster gave him 2 year deal, a raise and a NTC to boot.

You'd think Feaster would have asked Brent about Babchuk before going forward with him. On the other hand, it's pretty obvious the coach had some autonomy and was able to sit Babchuk without interference from the Feaster.

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#16 Kevin R
June 05 2012, 09:34PM
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VF: Yeah it sounded like there were a few deals that crashed & burned. I think injuries really did do a number on his ability to make a deal. I thought the same as CA in that Feaster signs Babchuk & Sutter doesnt even give the guy a chance. Huge disconnect between Feaster & Sutter & I'm sure a lot more to the public BS reasons why they parted ways. Still say, short of a good playoff run, Sutter was a lame duck this year. Why not. Feaster had his hands tied with all these crappy contracts & a lot of them were dropping off at the end of the year. So he had nothing to lose. I just wish myself or someone else asked exactly what his plan was to get this team back to being a contender. If they arent rebuilding then what do they do in 2 years when their faces of their franchise are more or less gone? There has to be some thought process about how they want to move forward this year, are they going to try & extend Iggy, no mention of that. I see Feaster wanted to get your business card, did you give him one that night?

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#17 gussey
June 05 2012, 09:44PM
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I totally agree with feaster when he lost his mind on the fan who asked why they don't take fans or media trade scenerios.. The idiot who asked the question should of been backhanded. I absolutely hate trade suggestions by fans. Fans have NO idea what players are available, what opposing general managers are looking for and almost always vastly overate their own teams players value. I love trolling oilers sites and see fans percieve sam gagners value as if he is kopitar or something. They had a tread where a fan suggested they trade gagner and a 2nd rounder for columbus's 2nd overall.. Really..

On a different topic, I have never understood the whole hate ken king thing. I went to a conference a few years ago and he was a guest speaker. I thought he was great. Seemed down to earth, kind of like a boss you would like to work for. But people are usually negative so why not blame the guy on top. I guess.

I never got the sense sutter and feaster were on the same page totally. I think they are both good people but I think they have different philosophy's. Thats just a guess. I can see hartley and feaster being completely on the same page... not sure if thats a good thing yet.

I wish we could fast forward june. I can't wait to see what happens with this team around July 1st. I have very cautious optimisim.. I hope feaster dosen't screw it up.

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#18 CLyde
June 05 2012, 10:19PM
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Waitwhat, I totally agree. Why did we burn a 2nd to get rid of Kotalik if he was allowed to bury him? Brutal!

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#19 loudogYYC
June 06 2012, 12:04AM
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I'm with @gussey on this one, the June draft and July 1st will tell us what's real and what isn't. Both Feaster and King are great speakers, which is good, but I really want to see what they do when the talking is over.

VF, thanks for presenting that question to Feaster. I was pretty excited when they said they were hiring Chris Snow as director of Statistical Analysis and Video, but they haven't talked about the dude once since he's been here.

I'm not big fan of Hartley, but if he's the kind of guy that uses advanced stats in his coaching I'll be happy.

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#20 Monaertchi
June 06 2012, 08:11AM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Not entirely Colin.

Permission would entail him going to King and saying can I do this? Approval is this is what I'm planning to do with the team, sound good to you?

On the surface it may sound like he is saying the same thing but the fact that Feaster does the latter is because he considers it a courtesy to those who are signing the cheques. [His words]

I'm pretty sure most businesses adopt similar practices.

Let me get this straight. You're my boss and I have an action plan I want to implement. I have 2 options:

1-Ask you if I can do it (permission)

2-Tell you I'm going to do it and ask if you're ok with that (approval)

In either case, you have 2 options as well. Say yes or no. If you say no, you're the boss so it doesn't happen. So, what exactly is the difference other than my attitude walking into your office? I don't see one.

I wasn't at the meeting, so all I have to go on is the content of the post above, but it seems to me that some of the blame was conveniently levelled at a coach who is no longer around to provide his side of the story.

Finally, "Jay" won a Cup. The team that beat Calgary for the Cup had very few Feaster fingerprints on it, by all accounts. Once he had time to implement his plan on the team, they never won a cup again.

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#21 xis10ce
June 06 2012, 08:21AM
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I went to the Monday lunchtime equivalent of this VF and got a lot of the same answers, but it would seem their tongues were a bit sharper in the Weds night event.

Overall notes from the Monday Afternooner:

1) King says the owners group will let Feaster have all the funds upwards to the cap at his discreasion to spend as he see's fit, Feaster followed up by saying theres no value in spending to the cap to overpay players like Matt Stajan basically, so he will make savvy investments where needed.

2) Feaster alluded to (without mentioning names) who they already KNOW they wish to retain free agent wise, who they are trying to snag from other teams and who would be inline for a buyout potentially. (This was in response to why don't they buyout JayBo's contract)

3) Feaster said meddling from owners / king wasn't an issue

4) Craig Conroy was at mine and he talked about the dressing room being difficult to coach, he got pretty hot at that comment and feels its total BS, as he said, the players do whatever they are asked to the best of their abilities.

I'm sure there was more, but it's not coming to mind right now, if I remember more I'll post another comment. As always there was also a bunch of stupid questions from uninformed fans, but hey, that stuff happens.

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#22 the-wolf
June 06 2012, 08:24AM
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@Mitch P, gussey and VF - I completely disagree on the whole fan issue and that McPhee quote is plain stupid. Really? They'd already be working in hockey, eh? OK, well, good to know first off that McPhee is omniscient.

Second, maybe he can then explain all of the countless stupid, awful, ego-driven moves made by GMs every single season? How once successful franchises are run into the ground? All of the painfully obvious nepotism that occurs regarding hirings?

For example, I've made my share of wrong choices looking at draft pick possibilities. On the other hand, my draft record over the last 20 years is far better than the Flames. And that's without even seeing most of these guys ever play, let alone watching them live, interviews, fitness testing, character assessments, etc. Just me, with a copy of the THN Draft Preview.

The Flames could've dumped their entire scouting efforts over the last 2 decades and just paid me to sit on the couch at home and phone picks in and had better results for a lot cheaper.

As far as development goes, I've been preaching what the team now brags about doing for probably 10 years!

Now, in case you think I'm tooting my own horn here, I'm not. I'm no hockey genius and not unique. There's probably hundreds of other fans, if not thousands, who can say the same! Point is, I call bull$hit!

Kent Wilson, for example, could've been giving the Flames advanced stats for years now, but all hail Chris Snow or whoever.

Stupid and arrogant. All that comment does is state that those guys know everything because they're in that position.

Yup, no one not in politics could run the country any better than those in power do.

No one can write better articles than accredited media, I suppose, bloggers haven't proved that wrong?

And no corporation could be better run than those who currently run them. Yeah, sure. Had enough jobs to know that's not the case. The majority of 'managers' are just a$$-kissing 'yes-men' and the vast majority of people in hockey ops are just well-connected. Or did Craig and Tod Button not get their jobs because of their dad? But wait! Craig won a Cup so he must be the best!

As far as the rest of the article goes, the victor writes the history. Brent was a scapegoat, injuries an excuse they won't use but just happen to mention all of the time. Like a lawyer who brings up non-evidence to a jury in order to....oh, wait... a lawyer......

Yes, lots of fan trade ideas are completely out to lunch. On the other hand, fans pay the salaries of these guys. It was an arrogant comment considering most fans thought trading for Modin was a waste of a 7th round pick, for example.

Why did those other teams back away from Feaster's terrific trade scenarios?

All I got from reading this was more PR spin. Before Brent was let go Jay talked endlessly about how great of a relationship they had together and how they were always on the same page. Now, suddenly, there was a disconent and it was all Brent's fault. Sure.

Why wasn't Iginla moved for Schenn, etc. then? Isn't that a poor move? Didn't a lot of 'stupid' fans suggest that move?

Is it true that there was internal audit by an outside consultant that found that Iginla drove 30% of the revenue streams and that's why he wasn't moved? Wouldn't that be interference?

As far as King goes, talk to people who have worked for him. The public persona is not the private one.

Seriously VF, sorry, but it seems like you fell for some masterfully crafted PR spin. At the end of the day, Jay and Ken smell like roses and the blame is on someone else. And you, the fan, know your place, pay your money and shut up. Mission accomplished.

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#23 kittensandcookies
June 06 2012, 10:13AM
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Colin wrote:

@KittensandCookies

It is a bit arrogant, but he has a point, rhett and Boomer put out some incredibly stupid ideas and Feaster is probably sick of hearing them, so he's probably lashed out more in anger than anything. But seriously, I've seen some of the deals around here people think are great and they have me shaking my head could only image what Feaster and Co have to put up with.

No, he doesn't have a point.

If his only retort is to bring up his past successes, then he's not really talking about the issue.

If I can take that quote verbatim, then read carefully what he said:

"***I*** won a Stanley Cup."

No, Feaster, **YOU** DID NOT win a Stanley Cup. The TEAM won a Stanley Cup.

The worst form of management is when someone individualizes accomplishments.

Heck, Kevin Lowe won five cups. And he was actually on the ice. I guess that makes him 500% better than Feaster!

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#24 Kevin R
June 06 2012, 10:37AM
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@ Wolf: Having trouble with some of your criticism here. So what if King is a demanding, sometimes unreasonable, what have you done lately, I dont care why, prick of a boss. I think most people have worked for people like that. The nice guys get shafted & usually severance packages. The guy makes money & runs a financially successful multi million dollar business. Your reasons can be said about several other GMs in the league, Burke, ST, I guess Mcphee based on your post. You seem to match that exact personality as a fan. I guess you cant make all the people happy all the time. Not sure how anyone else would go up on that stage and address the STH any different. I dont care who you think would say things different. You can criticize anything & if we had traded Iggy for Schenn & he dropped off a cliff, you would probably crucify them for the return on a elite player in his prime. I dont think every hockey team gives fans the opportunity like we had to question management & raise issues. Private sector corporations would tell you to get lost. Just because you shop at Safeway, you think they'll let you pick or give input to how they run the company. With the exception of King, this is a new management regime, how about letting them have a chance to do what they say they want to accomplish. I'm sure you would want the same if you were put in a position, you would want a chance to perform instead of listening to some that want to bash everything you say & do regardless of what it is & how well you did it. I agree with a lot of things you post but you lost me here on this one.

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#27 RexLibris
June 06 2012, 12:04PM
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There were a few thing that stood out to me in VF's summary of management's points.

The first is that there is, in all organizations, a degree of top-down communication. No argument there, that is how direction is given. The coach does this to players so is there any expectation that it ought not happen between President and GM? That being said, after King and Feaster confirm this point as a universal truth in business, it seems Feaster immediately says that this is not the case for the Flames.

"Feaster was adamant that there was unequivocally no meddling from King or Murray Edwards or any of the owners for that matter."

Seems to be a bit of contradiction there. I wasn't present though, so I'll just leave it at that.

The second point that stands out for me speaks partially to the-wolf's great comments in that there appears to be some inflexibility in this management group. I'm not advocating that the team be run like an NHL12 franchise, but for all the time and effort of these information sessions, I'm left asking the question of who was informing whom of what?

Do Flames fans want the team to listen to their preferences for the direction of the franchise, or are they looking for insight into how the team will be run according to the plans of management? Because from what I understand thus far, this public forum is focused on the latter.

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#28 Mitch2
June 06 2012, 12:10PM
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I don't suppose there is a link to the townhall anywhere?

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#30 RexLibris
June 06 2012, 06:05PM
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I defer to your impressions because, as I said, I don't attend these meetings and can't "read" what the general feeling is from the management group.

I laughed at your comment about the only people showing up to a meeting are the ones with an axe to grind.

Nobody takes the time to attend when they want to say how good a job someone is doing. It is anger and frustration that fuels the drive to attend.

My perception of a contradiction is when King says that all institutions have some level of management "interference" and then Feaster says that this same thing doesn't exist for the Flames. I know it isn't a black-and-white condition, but at first blush there appear to be two messages being delivered here.

I'm not questioning that Feaster keeps King informed, he ought to. But King seems to be saying that there is top-down communication while Feaster appears to be saying that it is all bottom-up.

Great to have you back, though. I've missed butting heads with you.

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#31 Potlicker
June 06 2012, 10:07PM
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Not sure what the big friggin deal is. I'm sure if Steve T wanted to sign a guy for 5 years at 4.0mill per, he would discuss with Lowe before committing the 20 million dollar contract. In fact I dont know too many GMs that had a blank cheque book like Daryl Sutter did, & you saw what he did. I dont know if a GM would even want to have that kind of autonomy when it comes to that kind of money. If a GM goes to the Pres & says, I plan on giving this guy this contract because of these reasons. The Pres may question, is he the right guy, are you sure you want him that long, have you got an exit strategy if the player doesnt pan out, you know, those kind of things. I dont see how this is construed as meddling. We're talking serious dollars here & we're quibbling about semantics.

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#32 the-wolf
June 07 2012, 07:16AM
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@ Kevin R - nope, wouldn't be angry at all if that deal occured and didn't work out. Because at least they tried to improve the team instead of clinging to the past.

It's why I don't view the Oilers trade of Smyth as being bad per se. Yeah, it didn't work out, but what was really lost vs. what could've been gained? At least they tried.

Also, I'm quite well-liked when ever I've been in charge :)

And though I used examples from other industries, that was meant in the narrow focus of shooting down the idea that the guys in charge are experts simply because they're in charge. Lots of corporations are very well run, lots aren't. That aside, sports franchises are different. To use your example of Safeway, well, they don't hold town hall meetings either. But I'd compare a sports team more like attending an investors meeting than a grocery store.

@VF- I totally get what you're saying. I do. But he still comes off as a jackass to me. I've spent a lot of time around lawyers and they're masters of this stuff. Wording things in a certain way in order to deflect blame. My b.s. meter is somewhat sensitive to it.

It's not so much that Feaster & co. might not have thought about all possible trade scenarios, etc. specifically. It's the entire attitude behind it all.

I didn't even mention how Feaster was handed that Cup team and then ran it into the ground because it's so painfully obvious.

28 years? Where did he get that number from? How long did he run TB?

Even his "I quit out of principle" speech. More likely is that he knew his time was up and quit before he was fired.

If he could put 9 million in the minors without batting an eyelash, why give up a 2nd round pick to move Kotalik?

Did anyone ask point blank if he could stroll into the office while King and Edwards are sipping brandy and inform them after the fact that he'd traded Iginla? Right, permission vs. approval.

The whole subtle way of throwing Brent under the bus after the fact.

Feaster's previous public comments about making the playoffs, etc.

The team has made it past the first round once in 2+ decades, but these guys get up there and talk as though they have all the answers.

All I see is the same-old, same-old. It's that sense of entitlement that bothers me. In other words, I'd have no problem with Ken Holland and the 'Wings making a comment like that, but the Flames have absolutely nothing to brag about or even be territorial about. Maybe they should be taking fan suggestions because the 'experts' have a miserable track record.

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#33 kittensandcookies
June 07 2012, 08:07AM
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Mitch P wrote:

I just created an account so I could say that kittensandcookies here should stick to dipping his tasty treats in milk while he uses the litter box.

Feaster knows hockey and trades BETTER THAN YOU DO. It's his job. You may disagree with him, but trust me on this, he knows more than you do, more than I do, more than anyone commenting on this forum does. I'm surprised he didn't slap the guy who asked that question. What restraint! It's fun to speculate, but when you start asking the GM of a professional hockey team if he's listening to fans or commentators on trades, then you have a problem. I think it was George McPhee on 24/7 that said something to the effect of "If someone knows enough about hockey to give us advice, they're already working in the NHL."

Gee, thanks for the insult.

It doesn't matter that you think Feaster knows more "hockey" than I do. I'm not the one that's paid to run the Calgary Flames. He competes against other GMs, and a lot of those GMs do a better job than he does. Again, I've said it once, I'll say it again: Flames fans readily accept mediocrity. Hell, they even defend it!

Of course Feaster doesn't listen to the god damned radio in the morning while he works. I'm sure he has absolutely no idea what the hell Boomer and Warrener are talking about. Feaster's response, if I can take it at face value, is pointless. The FAN960 are simply doing their jobs (well, or not, you decide), and they need to fill up a few hours of radio with their babble. That's all they're doing.

It goes without saying that Feaster shouldn't be "listening to fans or commentators on trades". I'm sure he's not. How on earth that means Feaster gets to insult certain media people is beyond me. But then again, you condone violence. I guess slapping people around in your workplace is a-ok.

The fact that you find Feaster's rhetoric meaningful, and so many others as well, speaks more to the gullibility of certain "fans" than any sort of proper strategic direction revealed by the Flames. I see a team stuck in mediocrity, at best, for the next couple seasons, followed by a precipitous dropoff into the 25-30 rank.

You know, I actually know Ken King a hell of a lot better than, well, everybody on here. I've done work (like, real, actual, made-the-Flames-money-so-they-could-pay-a-player-with-the-revenue-from-my-work kind of work) for the Flames, and I knew him from his Calgary Herald days. I have no doubt that King feels he's doing the right thing. Having said that he has a vicious, and I mean vicious, temper, which shows up when he disagrees with someone. I would not be surprised to see a corporate culture there of "yes-men", with the ultimate "yes-man" being Feaster himself.

Hey wait, since I worked for the Flames, that meant I worked in the NHL, which meant I knew enough to give them advice. Thanks for the McPhee quote!

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#34 the-wolf
June 07 2012, 08:17AM
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@ Kittens and Cookies - interesting re: King. I know someone who was fairly high up in the Sun, same kind of stuff. Control freak, mean, demanded you spend you give your life and soul to the corporation, etc. The stories of staff revolts are well known.

I fall into the camp that King came in at the right time and beneifited and still benefits from the 2004 run. Had a bounce of the puck knocked the team out in the 1st round I have a hard time seeing him still being employed by the Flames.

That said, he's definitely smarter than Bremner was, though I think both were hired for the same reason - control of the media. You think fans here defend mediocrity, it's the majority of the MSM defending it that baffles me.

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#35 kittensandcookies
June 07 2012, 08:24AM
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the-wolf wrote:

@ Kittens and Cookies - interesting re: King. I know someone who was fairly high up in the Sun, same kind of stuff. Control freak, mean, demanded you spend you give your life and soul to the corporation, etc. The stories of staff revolts are well known.

I fall into the camp that King came in at the right time and beneifited and still benefits from the 2004 run. Had a bounce of the puck knocked the team out in the 1st round I have a hard time seeing him still being employed by the Flames.

That said, he's definitely smarter than Bremner was, though I think both were hired for the same reason - control of the media. You think fans here defend mediocrity, it's the majority of the MSM defending it that baffles me.

Absolutely, Ken King was the proper person back then. The Flames were in a total mess, not just on the ice but even operationally they were in shambles. King turned a lot of that around.

King never yelled at me, but he went on an absolute tirade on one of my co-workers that was so loud I could hear it one floor above.

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#36 weevil17
June 07 2012, 09:53AM
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@kittensandcookies

actually he is stating a true fact. Do you think that a fan will be able to make a better deal then a 29 year GM! i don't think so.

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#37 kittensandcookies
June 07 2012, 10:35AM
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weevil17 wrote:

actually he is stating a true fact. Do you think that a fan will be able to make a better deal then a 29 year GM! i don't think so.

Who's the GM with 28 years experience? Certainly not Feaster.

If you need Feaster to tell you an obvious point like that, then you need help.

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#39 Eric
June 07 2012, 12:02PM
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@VF I leaned over to my buddy during your questions and said "I bet that guy writes at Flames Nation. Everything he just said I have seen on the site." You did a great job of driving the conversation in an interesting direction and getting them to open up.

King/Feaster also mentioned that once a deal doesn't go through, it never existed. You can't survive in this business if you talk about the stuff that almost happened. They mentioned this along with the fact that they were trying to be as open and honest with us as possible but some stuff they just couldn't talk about.

I disagree with the conclusion that there was a disconnect between Feaster and Brent. What I took from his answers were that Feaster basically took the leash off and told Brent he could do whatever he wants and Brent was surprised by this. I can see how that would sound like a disconnect to some, but not to me.

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