Rumor: Flames Hiring New President of Hockey Operations

Kent Wilson
June 15 2013 10:46AM

 

 

Bruce Dowbiggen isn't very popular in many Flames fan circles, but he's not a guy who makes a habit of trading unfounded rumors, so there could be something to this.

The popular assertion right now is that the target is Brendan Shanahan. I don't know what tools the current head of NHL discipline would bring to such a role, but I am certainly in favor of any move that gets Ken King a few steps away from the actual hockey portion of the business. There's no question KK is a gregarious figurehead who can glad-hand the public with the best of them (while squeezing every ounce of revenue from his partnerships and biz ops behind the scenes), but he's not really a true hockey guy given his background as a newspaper man.

My operating assumption when Jay Feaster was hired was the team would eventually make this move by bumping King up the ladder, moving Feaster into the Presidential role and then finding an up-and-coming GM to take the reins. Looks like the org might be keeping Jay in place and installing a more conventional "hockey guy" above him instead though.

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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 schevvy
June 15 2013, 10:50AM
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What kind of ties does Shanahan have to Calgary?

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#2 Christian Roatis
June 15 2013, 10:52AM
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schevvy wrote:

What kind of ties does Shanahan have to Calgary?

As far as I know, little to none.

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#3 BurningSensation
June 15 2013, 11:04AM
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Are we sure that Dowbiggen didn't just misunderstand the Iranian election results?

In any case, this sounds like a VERY positive step forward.

Shanahan is something of an odd choice though, but maybe he's jealous of former rival Cam Neely and this was the best opportunity available.

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#4 Baalzamon
June 15 2013, 11:12AM
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Some of the narratives I've come across while poking around (mostly on Twitter), are that Murray Edwards and Shanahan talked a lot during the lockout, and that Shanahan has been in Calgary lately.

Don't know how true any of that is.

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#5 RossCreekNation
June 15 2013, 11:12AM
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Only real connection I can see - and it might be a reach - is the connection both Murray Edwards & Brendan Shanahan have to Gary Bettman. Shanahan has long been rumored to want to run a team, and maybe Gary put in a good word to Edwards. Other than that, its just a hockey guy looking for a job, and the Flames looking for a hockey guy. Put me down for 'yay'.

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#6 Ed Ward
June 15 2013, 11:16AM
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Assuming the rumour is true, I'm a big fan. Any move that gets Ken King away from hockey ops is a positive move in my books. While his financial chops are second to none, his record on the hockey side has been far from exemplary. How much of the Flames issues can be placed on him, rather than on ownership is an open question, but the fact remains a change in the direction of hockey ops is undoubtedly a good thing.

My only frustration is that this move was not done when John Davidson was available. His record is top notch and would've filled the role that is opening in Calgary perfectly.

I will reserve judgment until we know who ends up taking the hockey ops role but it is doubtful that they will be as a good a candidate as JD.

As with everything with the Flames critical moves are done too late to ensure their maximum benefit.

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#7 Brent G.
June 15 2013, 11:17AM
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Why Shanahan and not lanny? Doesn't that seem like a much better choice?

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#8 Kevin R
June 15 2013, 11:21AM
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Well there may be hope for us yet. Perfect timing to start this rebuild, no monster contracts to negotiate, no prima donnas to handle with kid gloves, I think I'm like that Geico commercial where I am as happy as a camel walking around the office on Wednesday :}

Now I know I am going to get roasted for this suggestion, but seeing we are about to go thru a rebuild, a guy that is very qualified is Brian Burke. I would not be opposed to that.

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#9 JR
June 15 2013, 11:34AM
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Another name that intrigued me was Joe Nieuwendyk. Not sure what his role is in Dallas now that Jim Nill has taken over as GM or if he's been let go altogether. Also not sure if Joe would be a better candidate than Shanahan but there is Flames ties there. Anyway the Flames go by getting a hockey guy in place as President of hockey ops will be a vast improvement over King.

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#10 Justin Azevedo
June 15 2013, 11:36AM
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i have it on good authority lanny has been asked in the past and declined.

regarding brian burke and nieuwendyk: no.

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#11 RossCreekNation
June 15 2013, 11:37AM
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@Kevin R

I wouldn't be opposed to Burke either, but Dowbiggin shot that down & said not BB.

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#12 The Last Big Bear
June 15 2013, 11:37AM
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Put me in the 'hire Burke' camp as well.

His results in Anaheim and Vancouver have been excellent, and his team in Toronto looks to be turning the corner.

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#13 schevvy
June 15 2013, 11:40AM
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If they are going to hire a "hockey guy" I hope they do it before the draft. Get him in there to help out Feaster, Weisbrod and the scouting staff. Wonder if they would hire someone that would do what Sakic is doing now in Colorado: do everything the GM does without actually being the GM. That's the only way I see Shanahan coming.

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#15 schevvy
June 15 2013, 11:45AM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah but Kent, GRIT CHART.

We really need to have a picture of the grit chart on the site somewhere

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#16 BurningSensation
June 15 2013, 11:48AM
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A big 'No' to Brian Burke, watching him screw up the Leafs was entertaining, but it is not what we need here.

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#17 RKD
June 15 2013, 11:59AM
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Shanny is pretty limited in experience, a lot of guys cut their teeth before moving into positions such as these. Even if Yzerman was given a VP title, he spent a lot of time learning the business ditto for Sakic. That being said, I think former players are really better suited to learn the business side rather than jumping into coaching. The best players don't make the best coaches, Gretzky is the perfect example. Let's see how Roy fares as the Avs new bench boss.

The good thing if this is true, all the negativity and pressure surrounding sheriff Shanahan can be a large burden for anyone to carry. He can come to a hockey market and pass his hockey knowledge to Feaster and Weisbrod. He's also part of the competition committee so I don't know if that would be a hockey factor.

The Flames need a fresh voice, recycling veteran players is the same as keeping one person in a high position too long. Ken King makes the Flames a lot of money but his hockey IQ is extremely low and no one on this site or anywhere else can dispute that.

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#18 Michael
June 15 2013, 12:20PM
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Is this is true, don't assume that Feaster is safe as GM. If I was taking over as President I wouldn't be signing on the bottom line without carte blanche in terms of making changes. The fact that Feaster apparently isn't be moved to President (which is a job he is much better suited to than GM) speaks volumes... To be honest, replacing Feaster is the first move that I would make.

King is (or was as President) a solid business leader, helped (maybe big time) by a much stronger dollar, he returned the club to financial stability. He was however, a weak hockey President, he leaves hockey operations and the reputation of the Flames in shatters. Any move to replace him with a hockey guy is a solid move for the Flames.

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#19 Kevin R
June 15 2013, 12:29PM
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Yeah figured I would get scorched a bit on the BB suggestion. I don't think it would be as bad as one would think & it's still Feasters/Wiesbrods advanced stats game, but OK. I don't think Nieuy would be a good choice either, not overwhelmed with his work in Dallas. There was a time long ago Lanny wanted this position & got snubbed & he wasn't a happy camper about it. The ship for Lanny has sailed & that is not an option.

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#20 gotommygo
June 15 2013, 12:43PM
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Maybe the Flames could hire Burke to pull off his draft day magic of 1999? He got the first overall pick that year by trading fourth overall plus two third round picks, so certainly he could move us up to 2nd overall this year with what we've got to offer. Once he pulls that off, then assign him to the arena project with KK. Of course, Feaster may have been a part of that deal on the wrong end.

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#21 Scootermario
June 15 2013, 12:48PM
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I think everyone in the organization is looking forward to King's removal at the helm. The party fund is getting larger by the day and the bald feller won't be invited. Good day.

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#22 Baalzamon
June 15 2013, 12:54PM
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schevvy wrote:

Yeah but Kent, GRIT CHART.

We really need to have a picture of the grit chart on the site somewhere

I'm pretty sure BoL has one on his blog, actually...

@Michael

You mean like how the first thing John Davidson did when he took over the BJs was fire Scott Howson? Feaster isn't as bad as Howson, but well... yeah.

Who replaces him though? Maybe there's some GM no one's heard of over in Switzerland who can come in and pull a Jarmo Kekalainen.

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#23 Veggie Dog
June 15 2013, 01:20PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I'm pretty sure BoL has one on his blog, actually...

@Michael

You mean like how the first thing John Davidson did when he took over the BJs was fire Scott Howson? Feaster isn't as bad as Howson, but well... yeah.

Who replaces him though? Maybe there's some GM no one's heard of over in Switzerland who can come in and pull a Jarmo Kekalainen.

And they will sell whoever it is to us by telling us he is the best GM NOT in the NHL.

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#24 clyde
June 15 2013, 02:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No to Brian Burke. If his bluster in public is to be believed, he is firmly entrenched in conventional and outmoded thinking when it comes to thinking about the game. That is, he is aggressively opposed to advanced/statistical analysis.

Flames don't need a member of the old guard in the executive office yelling about truculence.

He has been very successful and I am sure he and his people use their own set of standards. just not the ones you are fixated on.

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#25 Colin
June 15 2013, 02:07PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No to Brian Burke. If his bluster in public is to be believed, he is firmly entrenched in conventional and outmoded thinking when it comes to thinking about the game. That is, he is aggressively opposed to advanced/statistical analysis.

Flames don't need a member of the old guard in the executive office yelling about truculence.

Didn't Feaster come out on the radio with pretty well the same thoughts/ideas yesterday? Saying that he was putting a premium on toughness or tough to play against or hard nosed guys or however he phrased it?

Anyways, the decision to move King out of Hockey Ops has to be seen as a good move(well depending on who they bring in). Don't know if Edwards just really needs the guy he feels is best to be on the Arena project 100% as he doesn't want to put ANY money into the arena himself, or he woke up one day and realized what position King has put his franchise into and realized that he needs an actual hockey mind running things.

I agree with whoever else said that Feasters days are numbered if this moves comes to fruition. Any new President wants to install his own guys. Didn't take long at all in Columbus, wouldn't be long here either.

If it's Shanahan moving into the big chair Feaster is gone, if it's Feaster Weisbrod is getting a promotion as well. Maybe it speaks to the promotion(?) that Conroy got now that he's running the Heat from what I understand. Conroy is being set up for an Assitant GM role?

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#26 Trianglereverie
June 15 2013, 02:11PM
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My family is close to a former Flame who now works in the financial sector with my mum & my cousin played Bantam and Midget AAA hockey with his son. I won't drop names but I've asked him about this before and both Lanny and Peplinski were offered opportunities to be a part of the management team in Calgary or to take a more active role and both respectively declined.

I am pretty sure the only reason Lanny is not involved with the Flames is because he does not want to be (his choice).

I think Shanny is an excellent choice. He's old enough to understand the old time hockey side of things. He's college educated and I believe he's still young enough to bring a fresh perspective and a new outlook to the team. If they do hire Shanny - i'd pretty stoked for the Flames.

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#28 clyde
June 15 2013, 02:35PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah he sure turned Toronto around.

Burke in Vancouver: through draft savvy and great trading acquired both sedins. acquired Morrison to center the number 1 line. brought in jovo to anchor the defense. Vancouver is still benefitting from his moves

Anaheim: signed selanne when others thoughtvhe was done, traded for beauchemin and pronger, signed moen, marchant and niedermayer.

Toronto: rebuilt their farm system and broughtbin a very progressive coach in Dallas Eakins. positioned Toronto to come within 1 shot of knocking off the possible cup winner

Helped build and select tremendously successful USA Olympic and World Cup teams over the past 2 decades.

but, he is not a fan of the great Jim Corsi so he is no good

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#29 smith
June 15 2013, 02:37PM
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Not at all sure about this. Lots of "hockey guys" put in positions of power seem to be pretty darn awful. See Lowe, Niuendyk, Gretzky, Yzerman etc...

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#30 Derzie
June 15 2013, 02:56PM
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clyde wrote:

Burke in Vancouver: through draft savvy and great trading acquired both sedins. acquired Morrison to center the number 1 line. brought in jovo to anchor the defense. Vancouver is still benefitting from his moves

Anaheim: signed selanne when others thoughtvhe was done, traded for beauchemin and pronger, signed moen, marchant and niedermayer.

Toronto: rebuilt their farm system and broughtbin a very progressive coach in Dallas Eakins. positioned Toronto to come within 1 shot of knocking off the possible cup winner

Helped build and select tremendously successful USA Olympic and World Cup teams over the past 2 decades.

but, he is not a fan of the great Jim Corsi so he is no good

You speak the truth but his bluster is hard to take. I'd rather a Bryan in the Murray style than the Burke style.

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#31 clyde
June 15 2013, 03:00PM
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clyde wrote:

Burke in Vancouver: through draft savvy and great trading acquired both sedins. acquired Morrison to center the number 1 line. brought in jovo to anchor the defense. Vancouver is still benefitting from his moves

Anaheim: signed selanne when others thoughtvhe was done, traded for beauchemin and pronger, signed moen, marchant and niedermayer.

Toronto: rebuilt their farm system and broughtbin a very progressive coach in Dallas Eakins. positioned Toronto to come within 1 shot of knocking off the possible cup winner

Helped build and select tremendously successful USA Olympic and World Cup teams over the past 2 decades.

but, he is not a fan of the great Jim Corsi so he is no good

Toronto had the 8 th and 21 st leading Scorers in the league. they have 2 players over the age of 30 on their roster and yet were a playoff team. They have 4 players coming out of junior at the defense position alone who are considered sure bets to be NHL players. It looks like Burke left the Leafs in prettybdarn good shape.

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#32 clyde
June 15 2013, 03:02PM
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Derzie wrote:

You speak the truth but his bluster is hard to take. I'd rather a Bryan in the Murray style than the Burke style.

You and me both. I can't stand Burke. The fact that he is good at building teams is pretty hard to argue.

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#33 pezman
June 15 2013, 03:57PM
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Are you guys sure you want ex-flames like Lanny M and Joe N??? Old boys club. Look how that has turned out for us up north? 10 years of lunacy.

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#34 Rockmorton65
June 15 2013, 04:22PM
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Is Shanahan qualified to run a hockey team? Good player, Competition committee, league disciplinarian. None of those say "desire to run a franchise"

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#35 suba steve
June 15 2013, 04:38PM
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I'm sure Shanny is a good hockey guy and all, but what are his experiences that qualify him for this position? It would seem to me that Feaster may be qualified, as I'm sure are a lot of other GMs and ex-GMs. Would seem more then a little strange for the organization to go from a "business" guy with not a lot of hockey experience to the polar opposite (a hockey guy with limited business experience). Good luck to them in the hiring process.

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#36 Colin
June 15 2013, 04:48PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Yeah he sure turned Toronto around.

I don't think Brian Burke is the best GM in the league or anything even close, but I think he can put together half decent hockey team.

The biggest problem with burke, is even if he can acquire the once ice talent, he usualy adds a bunch of pylons or pluggers to go along with it. Or hirer the most useless coaches to manage said team. Or just go out and say the dumbest of the dumb BS cause well, Brian Burke. Or caught in the Calgary trap of failing to rebuild(ie the Kessel Trade).

Do I want BB to be involved with the Calgary Flames, no, not really, do I think he'd do a better job than the guys currently running the show, well, I really don't think he could do a worse job.

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#37 Rockmorton65
June 15 2013, 04:55PM
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Right now would be a horrible time to make a change. This is arguably the most important 30 days in the franchises history. If Feaster does a good job with this offseason, bump him up to Prez , and make Wiesbrod GM.

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#38 Rockmorton65
June 15 2013, 04:55PM
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Right now would be a horrible time to make a change. This is arguably the most important 30 days in the franchises history. If Feaster does a good job with this offseason, bump him up to Prez , and make Wiesbrod GM.

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#39 smith
June 15 2013, 05:25PM
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@Rockmorton65

Agreed. Feaster has certainly not been great, but at least the drafting "looks" better and the team is younger. Not really sure why Shanahan would make things any better.

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#40 joey joe joe jr shabadoo
June 15 2013, 06:00PM
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@Kent.

Dude are you kidding me? Having Brian Burke as the president would be awesome. Not because of what it would mean for the on ice product. forget that.

Having Burke as the President of the Flames and Kevin Lowe as the President of the Oilers?? We would have these guys in a 'Hell in the Cell' match in no time.

Do it Edwards.

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#41 BurningSensation
June 15 2013, 07:02PM
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Rockmorton65 wrote:

Right now would be a horrible time to make a change. This is arguably the most important 30 days in the franchises history. If Feaster does a good job with this offseason, bump him up to Prez , and make Wiesbrod GM.

This!

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#42 non descript
June 15 2013, 07:03PM
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maybe its that thing you guys like to call wisebroad

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#43 please cancel acct
June 15 2013, 07:19PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No to Brian Burke. If his bluster in public is to be believed, he is firmly entrenched in conventional and outmoded thinking when it comes to thinking about the game. That is, he is aggressively opposed to advanced/statistical analysis.

Flames don't need a member of the old guard in the executive office yelling about truculence.

You mean like our coach Hartley

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#44 mk
June 15 2013, 07:24PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Some of the narratives I've come across while poking around (mostly on Twitter), are that Murray Edwards and Shanahan talked a lot during the lockout, and that Shanahan has been in Calgary lately.

Don't know how true any of that is.

Maybe they're trying to bring Shanny out of retirement? We could always use another veteran presence on the ice...

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#45 Kurt
June 15 2013, 08:08PM
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Friedman just said Feaster offered all our first picks for 1 and Colorado said no thanks. He then suggested all of the top 4 aren't moving their pick.

Boo

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#46 Ed Ward
June 15 2013, 08:44PM
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If Colorado is going to take Jones, which it looks like they will, I'd do that same deal with Florida.

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#47 JCDavies
June 15 2013, 10:46PM
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@Kurt

Will probably take a roster player + ... picks only won't be enough.

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#48 FireOnIce
June 15 2013, 11:16PM
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@Kurt

I wonder how long they laughed before realizing he was serious.

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#49 Kurt
June 15 2013, 11:52PM
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Ed Ward wrote:

If Colorado is going to take Jones, which it looks like they will, I'd do that same deal with Florida.

Sorry my comment was terrible english... commenting on my phone while watching the game doesn't help my already questionable grammar skills....

What I meant to say was that Friedman explained Colorado rejected Feasters offer of all 3 1st round picks for their 1st overall and he also suggested that he has heard none of the top 4 picks are in play. He suggested the only team considering moving their pick is Carolina at #5 and that the Oilers are said to be making a strong pitch....

I'm not surprised our 3 first rounders aren't enough, I've been saying all along we basically don't have the assets to move into the top 3 at all. But I am happy to hear Featser is trying....

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#50 Rockmorton65
June 16 2013, 12:15AM
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@Kurt

Exactly. Even though I don't think he'll get us into the top five, I think Feaster's going to do some big things. Sounds like he's been working hard, and I think by the draft it'll pay off. Players for more picks, or picks for apex players, something's brewing.

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