Five things: Stop Talking About Winning

Ryan Lambert
September 06 2013 08:48AM

1. Feaster speaks

Just ahead of today's kickoff of the annual (except for last year because, you know, greed) Penticton tournament, Jay Feaster had his first bit of major media availability in a while and, well, it didn't disappoint. That is, if you like Jay Feaster saying hilarious and dumb things. Which I happen to like rather a lot. First, Feaster said it was important that the Flames' rookies win their games at the tournament, which is a reasonable enough thing to say.

"We’re not telling these kids, ‘Don’t worry about the final result,'" he said. "This isn’t youth sports where we say, ‘Oh, don’t keep score,’ or, ‘Once you get a four-goal lead, we’ll just stop counting.’ This isn’t my kids playing. This is for real."

That's a perfectly sane thing. You want kids to try to win instead of try to impress in tournaments like this because all the dipsy-doo dekeing and, worse, fighting, that so often pervades these kinds of showcase events is frustrating to watch and doesn't, in real life, tell you very much. If a kid goes through his legs and around a defender at a tournament like this, that's a nice display of skill, but it's not very applicable to the NHL or even AHL level most of the time.

The same is true of fighting, because guys who do that at rookie camps tend not to get very far in the pros, due to the fact that their mere presence at such tournaments as fighters (and fighters only) tells you everything you need to know about the quality their actual hockey-related games present. Which is to say none. Even Paul Bissonnette once broke 10 goals and 40 points in an ECHL season, and he's an awful NHL player.

2. You can give it a rest now

But I'm getting off-topic. The real money quote from Feaster during that little pow-wow with the media was this:

"Winning matters, Bottom line is winning. That’s the objective, the standard, the criteria, from an organizational standpoint. We will not use youth or inexperience … as reasons to say, ‘It’s OK if you don’t win.’ It’s not OK not to win."

We get it, man. This is a club committed to Winning. And that's why it's in the position it's in now, hoping like hell the thing it has so Committed To in the past several years almost never happens ever. It's not OK to not-win this season? On what planet could that possibly be true? All actions the team has taken since trading Jarome Iginla run more or less counter to that ideal, and that's a good thing, for its betterment going forward, and for the sanity of observers, both partisan and neutral alike.

But really, what this quote, and those like it, amount to at day's end is simple dedication to the act, I suppose. I saw "The Prestige" so I understand. Feaster can't go out there and say, "Yes, we really want this team to bomb it hard for 82 straight games this season and we want to go out and do the same thing next season as well. And maybe the year after that, too, just to be safe."

But there is a distinct difference, I think, between the idea of saying "We're hoping we go 0-164 the next two years," and "Winning is the standard." As much as you like to say how important it is for kids to develop in a winning environment, the fact of the matter is that there will not be one in Calgary for some time, and thus you can't, at the same time, go around saying, "You kids gotta win."

This is not a roster equipped to win, nor should it be. No one outside the Flames' front office thinks otherwise. So why continue to say stuff like this instead of not saying anything about the importance of winning and losing at all?

3. That Sabres jersey

I am not particularly enamored of the Flames' current jerseys for a lot of reasons, but for the most part I think they're fine. The current thirds, meanwhile, are some of the nicest unis in the league. Why they're not just the home and road shirts, I'm not sure I'll ever know. The one good thing you can say about them is that, unlike many other teams in the league, they're pretty devoted to the current look and that's just great; you'd rather them have mediocre jerseys than try to experiment.

Experimentation, though, is what gets you the monstrosity unveiled recently in Buffalo, though I'm still waiting for the revelation that this was a terrible April Fools joke that came about eight months too early. This might be the worst thing I've ever seen in the NHL, and I've seen every NHL jersey from the late 1990s.

I have a little bit of a design background so here's what amazing to me about these eyesores: One or more actual people who are paid a living wage to think exclusively about design for their job thought this was a good idea. They then showed it to at least one superior, who likewise thought it was a good idea. They then took that to the Sabres organization, where at least one person also said, "These are good for our players to wear."

The infamous Blues jerseys with the trumpets and the Cool Cat and so forth were notably shot down by Mike Keenan, who even in the mid-90s was wise enough to see what a disgrace they were. No one had a similar thought here? Not one person with enough power and smarts to pull someone aside and say, "I think Gilbert Perreault died specifically so he could spin in his grave over this jersey."

I mean, good lord.

4. Something Kent mentioned

One thing that caught my eye this week, buried way down deep in Kent's Random Thoughts column, was the idea that both Bob Hartley and Jay Feaster might be on the outs with the Flames before the rebuild is over.

I don't see how there's any "might" about it, quite frankly. Hartley always struck me as a Feaster hire first and foremost, moreso than his ever having been the right man for the job or anything so silly as that. So the two likely go hand-in-hand out the door the second this team looks even remotely capable of winning again. It happened in Edmonton (for good reason) and it will happen in Calgary as well. For equally good reason.

(Written prior to the official Burke hiring, which probably makes this even more likely)

5. The Kadri-and-the-Media situation

The past few weeks have gotten a little tense in Toronto with Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson both going unsigned and training camp something like a week away at this point.

This has led to a lot of speculation about who's asking for what and why, but most of the focus has been on Kadri given his production last season and status as one of the best Maple Leafs prospects in years. The problem with that, it seems, is that Toronto seems to be running something of a smear campaign against him, putting out there that he is making outrageous contract demands following one lockout-shortened, 48-game season in which he was admittedly superb. "Kadri wants a John Tavares-type contract," has been a standard refrain from the media in the last week or so.

It was again echoed by no less than Bob McKenzie this week, who, unlike his TSN cohort and Dave Nonis' second cousin Darren Dreger, isn't just some stooge who will say nearly anything to curry favor (remember when he said Ian White should apologize for calling Gary Bettman an idiot?). McKenzie reporting something that concretely means someone very high up gave him that info, and that he has little reason to disbelieve it.

However, Kadri refuted that report on Twitter, to McKenzie, calling him Bobo. This is the second time he's said that the things being reported about his contract demands were off-base.

What's interesting to me about all this is not that he's doing it on Twitter, but rather that he's doing it at all. I wonder if it will in any way start a trend about the ways in which players deal with reports about their ongoing negotiations. While Kadri, and players like him, haven't often had the summer platforms teams might have, that's certainly changing nowadays and where, before, guys could get run out of town, or have their fans turned against them without perceived outlandish demands, Kadri's handling is interesting. While it would be nice to see him say, "Here's what we're really asking for," that's not going to happen because it's considered negotiating in public and people generally don't like that.

Could Kadri be lying? Sure, but I doubt he'd do it this emphatically. He has no real reason to lie in this situation other than to save face, but if he wanted to do it that badly he'd just take an offer he felt (probably rightly, given Toronto's cap situation) was beneath him.

I'm always interested to see how the sausage is made, so to speak, in these types of negotiations, so any kind of peek inside is fascinating. Yes, even when it's as childish as this stuff has become.

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#1 Colin.S
September 06 2013, 09:16AM
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Feaster's already been fired, he just doesn't know it yet. When you hire a "President of Hockey Operations" whose job is to review and sign off on decisions the GM makes and if the pres doesn't like who the GM wants to bring in, it won't happen, that doesn't sound like Feaster is the GM of anything, right now he's like an overpaid assistant GM, which kind feels right for this team.

Burke gets to put in his own scouts/scouting structure and gets to call the shots on all trades/signing/drafting, at this point Feaster is just the face they are gonna trot out at press conferences so Burke doesn't have to justify signing Mike Brown or Colton Orr to 4 year deals. Feaster is pretty well resigned to team media guy at this point, till his contract runs out and Burke gets to hire whatever crony to put in as his proxy GM.

Also, in relation to your winning point, Feaster mentioned yesterday that simply having Burke here will speed up the rebuilding process, take that for whatever it is worth.

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#2 BurningSensation
September 06 2013, 09:40AM
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Re: 'Winning'

This has to be single dumbest thing Lambert has written, which is saying something.

These kids are for the most part all going back to Junior and the AHL, where 'winning' is definitely going to be important. This isn't Feaster giving Pacino's 'one more inch' speech on the first day of the season, this is the GM putting the proper importance on his prospects being successful at the level they are going to be returning to.

The fact that Lambert can't (or more hacktastically 'won't') tell the differrence between what Feaster says to the prospects at a camp in Penticton and what he says regarding the Flames players actually playing the season out tells you everything you need to know about where Lambert is coming from.

It's the manufacturing of an issue where anyone without hate-filled blinders on wouldn't find one.

There are lots of things one can be critical of the Flames of (though let's be clear, most of the eggregious stuff is in the past), why Lambert has to invent such BS to whine about is anyone's guess.

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#3 BurningSensation
September 06 2013, 10:19AM
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The Burke hiring may not be good for Feaster, but it also may not be bad.

I see the Burke hiring as less a lack of confidence in Feaster, and more a lack of confidence in Ken King. All that has happened is that instead of reporting to a guy without any hockey background Feaster now reports to a guy who has one in spades.

Sure Feaster may not be Burke's guy, but given the comments from the presser there is good reason to think that Feaster might have been someone Burke would have considered for GM anyway. They go back a long ways, Burke had previously recommended him for a managerial role, they are both Harvard guys, they are process managers more than people pleasers, etc.

The problem is that GMs (and coaches) are hired to be fired. It's easy to predict that one day Feaster will get canned, because all GMs eventually do. But does Burke's arrival increase or decrease that likelihood?

I have no idea, but in the short term I'm not cheering for it to happen. Good organizations build consistency at all levels, and Feaster's changes to the org (especially scouting), have been very positive - so why toss him out when he hasn't finished what you brought him in to do?

If I had to guess, I'd say that if Feaster survives the year he'll be here for another three. If he doesn't, you can chalk it up to Burke and he not being able to make their relationship work.

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#4 Colin.S
September 06 2013, 10:56AM
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@piscera.infada

The differences between Feaster and Ownership is he understands where this team is(REALLY BAD) and where it needs to go, while ownership is delusional and thinks this team needs to make the playoffs this year already.

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#5 kittensandcookies
September 06 2013, 11:50AM
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Colin.S wrote:

Feaster's already been fired, he just doesn't know it yet. When you hire a "President of Hockey Operations" whose job is to review and sign off on decisions the GM makes and if the pres doesn't like who the GM wants to bring in, it won't happen, that doesn't sound like Feaster is the GM of anything, right now he's like an overpaid assistant GM, which kind feels right for this team.

Burke gets to put in his own scouts/scouting structure and gets to call the shots on all trades/signing/drafting, at this point Feaster is just the face they are gonna trot out at press conferences so Burke doesn't have to justify signing Mike Brown or Colton Orr to 4 year deals. Feaster is pretty well resigned to team media guy at this point, till his contract runs out and Burke gets to hire whatever crony to put in as his proxy GM.

Also, in relation to your winning point, Feaster mentioned yesterday that simply having Burke here will speed up the rebuilding process, take that for whatever it is worth.

You are correct, except for one thing: Feaster knows he's been fired.

I don't know why he's hanging around. Guess he has nothing else to do.

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#6 Colin.S
September 06 2013, 10:36AM
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@the-wolf

Yeah hiring Burke before firing Feaster is certainly interesting. It like when a GM gets fired and the coach is on the last year of his deal, he knows he's done at the end of the year, so it's a lame duck season out of that coach. Much the same out of Feaster now, he knows that whatever he does doesn't matter any more, as well he's gonna get zero of the credit, so yeah, I just don't see the effort out of him.

The only reason he's there is to deflect off of Burke, like Burke said, he won't be doing interviews, it will all be Feaster/Harley first.

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#7 backburner
September 06 2013, 11:01AM
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Camalleri, Stajan, and Smith for Kadri, Franson and Gardiner

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#8 bookofloob
September 06 2013, 10:11AM
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"I think Gilbert Perreault died specifically so he could spin in his grave over this jersey."

God that's awesome.

Hey, Hartley is the Godfather to Feaster's son, they are quite obviously friends that go a long way back, and it was such a "helpin' my buddy out" hire right from the beginning. There is no question in my mind that if one of these two guys goes down, the other one is directly behind him in the rich guy unemployment line.

Both guys are just "meh" at their job, not good, not Maple Leafs hilariously bad, but you don't want average turning your franchise around.

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#9 piscera.infada
September 06 2013, 10:36AM
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@Veggie Dog

I'm kind of in the same boat. I've been hoping and calling for continuity during this rebuild since it was finally forced upon the organization. I think Burke can help here, and I'm trying to stay cautiously optimistic. I don't completely agree with the idea that all of a sudden Feaster is a lame duck GM.

Without relying too much on Burke's rhetoric since the hiring, I think that if there was ever a candidate to stand up to Ken King and Edwards regarding the direction of this team he would be the guy. Thus, while differences in opinion between Feaster and Burke have been talked to death on here, I feel like part of the problem recently has been differences in opinion between Feaster and ownership. Perhaps Burke proves to be the guy heading hockey ops who finally holds enough credibility to tell ownership when they're being unrealistic from a hockey standpoint.

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#10 BurningSensation
September 06 2013, 10:50AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Feaster changed and improved the scouting, but now Burke wants to do it again. I wonder what the differences are in their systems? And, since Burke claims there's a "right way (his way)" to do it (scouting/drafting), does anyone have a compilation of Burke's draft record and success/failure over his tenures as a GM?

I think you misunderstand what Burke is doing with regards to hist statements about the scouting department.

Burke is a 'process' guy, that is each and every facet of the organization has a process that must be followed to maximize success and minimize mistakes.

In scouting terms, this just means Burke wants to review the who-does-what-why nuts and bolts to make sure that the process the Flames have in place for scouting is coherent.

In the (recent) past scouting departments often had loosey goosey ways of managing things, ie. unclear or inconsistent standards for evaluation, heavy reliance on the personality and talent of the scout, rather than measureables of the player, etc.

As I see it Burke wants to review the structure and process of the department to confirm that Feaster has it set up correctly, not necessarily to blow it up and rebuild it in his image.

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#11 SVENSANITY
September 06 2013, 11:37AM
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I normally appreciate Ryan's candour and smarmy witticism but I'm sorry I cannot back any fan or any GM who tells his players that "Hey it's okay you're young we're going to lose some go out and do your best"

Could you imagine if Ray Shero told Sidney Crosby in 2006: Hey it's okay Son. No problem. You're only the best player in your draft and probably in the last 3 drafts but no pressure you don't have to win everything.

Could you imagine if Stan Bowman said to Kane and Towes: Hey kids don't worry we're just rebuilding right now it's okay if you don't win. Just go out and show us what you got?

No Offence Lambert. But that paragraph is absolute nonsense. I realize that's not exactly what you said but you definitely implied that this teams goal is to "Tank for picks"

If that's the case then this is no team I want to support. Sure, realistically this team may not be competitive for the playoffs this year. But that doesn't mean the goal shouldn't be to make the playoffs and the management shouldn't be telling their players that's the goal. You never know for sure, maybe some of the "kids" Granlund, Knight et al. those with a chance to make the team might actually surprise some people and be better than we expect given we haven't a chance to see them play in the NHL we don't know yet. The great thing about this sport is you can't just predict with certitude what will happen.

And the problem I have with the winning comments here Ryan is you speak from authority with certitude as if your opinion is the right one. But ultimately, it's an opinion.

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#12 Colin.S
September 06 2013, 11:41AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

Exactly, I think what he was getting at (if I can put words in BS's mouth) is that Burke isn't coming here to tear everything down. Burke was simply saying in the presser that he wants to see the Flames' "process" (for everything) in order to ascertain if anything can be improved upon. He stated he thought "the Flames had the best draft this year by far" - I highly doubt he dismantles that.

You really think he's gonna come in here and say bad things about the organization?

As I've said in other posts, I like the position and for the most part what the position is suppose to be about, however I despise who they chose for it(not that I hate Burke personally) but I think it's an exteremly dumb move to put a guy who came out and said yesterday he was looking for a GM position and move him into a position that tells the GM what to do. They should fire Feaster and just be done with it and let Burke hire some talking head.

The problem is that Feaster was never given a half decent proper chance, what he inherited from Sutter is probably the worst any GM is ever had to inherit and he's just now starting fresh, and now they are telling him he didn't do a good enough job already so they are gonna bring in someone else to tell him how to do it better.

Quite frankly, other than the Jankowski pick, Feaster has been doing a good job with the draft and prospects for the most part.

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#13 Derzie
September 06 2013, 11:48AM
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One Feaster-ism yesterday was his example of how Burke asked about a player and the Flames brass said "we like him a lot" to which Brian said "I don't". As a result, any player who has been told they are in the books is looking over their shoulder now. Think, Jay, think before you speak.

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#14 BurningSensation
September 06 2013, 01:22PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Not to sound argumentative, but I'm not sure I see the distinction as the items you mention are things that Feaster has already been credited as having changed from the Sutter regime.

Sure, but Burke can't come on board in a supervisory role and decide he isn't going to do a review of the scouting department just because on the surface it looks to be doing much better under Feaster than under Sutter.

A rebuilding team must have a great scouting department and processes in place, and Burke's job is to make sure that what Feaster has got going on in that department is set up properly.

After all guys like Lambert will insist that Feaster 'got lucky' with his picks, and the only way to know if the Flames are actually on sound footing is to take a close look.

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#15 chillout
September 06 2013, 05:39PM
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Lambert, I'm so glad you don't actually know anything about hockey or coaching.

Anyone who's ever played/coached a sport knows you don't tell your players it's okay to lose, no matter how bad the team is you instill in them the desire to push through and struggle towards that W. Otherwise all you're doing is giving them bad habits and excuses to coast through games. That would be completely idiotic but I guess in your world that's a good thing right? Bad is good, stupid is smart that's kind of how you roll right?

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#16 Burnward
September 06 2013, 10:53PM
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If we stop feeding him, will he go away?

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#17 SmellOfVictory
September 06 2013, 09:18AM
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I enjoy what Kadri's doing. While it's probably not making him any friends in media, he's taking more control of his off-ice perception by the public, and he's also being entertaining about it.

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#18 Demetric
September 06 2013, 09:29AM
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I disagree on your point of not saying anything regarding winning, it is always the goal, you want everyone one to work 110% toward the W every night. So saying that its not okay to loose is just voicing what everyone is thinking. Sure, it might be tough, but that's the goal every night. And do you have video or a sound bite of Feaster where he said this?

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#19 ChinookArch
September 06 2013, 10:01AM
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I don't see how the Burke/Feaster relationship is going to work, in the long run. Burke has never struck me as a team player. On the contrary, his public persona is one of a control freak.

This hiring is a little reminiscent of Feaster's hiring in the first place. Looking back Jay looks to have been hired as the GM-in-waiting. The minute the Flames appeared to be out of the playoffs, Darryl Sutter was fired.

I hope the Burke/Faster comes together, but it doesn't look good for Jay.

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#20 the-wolf
September 06 2013, 10:20AM
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Colin.S wrote:

Feaster's already been fired, he just doesn't know it yet. When you hire a "President of Hockey Operations" whose job is to review and sign off on decisions the GM makes and if the pres doesn't like who the GM wants to bring in, it won't happen, that doesn't sound like Feaster is the GM of anything, right now he's like an overpaid assistant GM, which kind feels right for this team.

Burke gets to put in his own scouts/scouting structure and gets to call the shots on all trades/signing/drafting, at this point Feaster is just the face they are gonna trot out at press conferences so Burke doesn't have to justify signing Mike Brown or Colton Orr to 4 year deals. Feaster is pretty well resigned to team media guy at this point, till his contract runs out and Burke gets to hire whatever crony to put in as his proxy GM.

Also, in relation to your winning point, Feaster mentioned yesterday that simply having Burke here will speed up the rebuilding process, take that for whatever it is worth.

Agreed. Make no mistake, this is Burke's team, not Feaster's. By retaining Feaster, it removes the day-to-day grind from Burke (same reason Feaster was supposedly hired in the first place) and keeps Burke away from the media (we'll see).

If Feaster is let go, it'll be interesting. Because even though Feaster was hired to complement Sutter, I believe he was there to take over from day 1. Now, Burke is there to complement Feater, except from above instead of below. Weird way to run an organization - hire your replacement before canning you.

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#21 the-wolf
September 06 2013, 10:24AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

The Burke hiring may not be good for Feaster, but it also may not be bad.

I see the Burke hiring as less a lack of confidence in Feaster, and more a lack of confidence in Ken King. All that has happened is that instead of reporting to a guy without any hockey background Feaster now reports to a guy who has one in spades.

Sure Feaster may not be Burke's guy, but given the comments from the presser there is good reason to think that Feaster might have been someone Burke would have considered for GM anyway. They go back a long ways, Burke had previously recommended him for a managerial role, they are both Harvard guys, they are process managers more than people pleasers, etc.

The problem is that GMs (and coaches) are hired to be fired. It's easy to predict that one day Feaster will get canned, because all GMs eventually do. But does Burke's arrival increase or decrease that likelihood?

I have no idea, but in the short term I'm not cheering for it to happen. Good organizations build consistency at all levels, and Feaster's changes to the org (especially scouting), have been very positive - so why toss him out when he hasn't finished what you brought him in to do?

If I had to guess, I'd say that if Feaster survives the year he'll be here for another three. If he doesn't, you can chalk it up to Burke and he not being able to make their relationship work.

Feaster changed and improved the scouting, but now Burke wants to do it again. I wonder what the differences are in their systems? And, since Burke claims there's a "right way (his way)" to do it (scouting/drafting), does anyone have a compilation of Burke's draft record and success/failure over his tenures as a GM?

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#22 Jeff Lebowski
September 06 2013, 11:30AM
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OK, I get it. You dislike Feaster. Even so, dissecting every statement to highlight everything that a person does 'wrong' says more about you quite frankly. However, you are just being a critic so that's your job.

Moving on, during the Young Star game did anyone else notice that Monahan makes whomever he plays with better (noticeable)? With development camp, rookie tourney, Monahan is one of the youngest out there but also consistently good. His positioning allows him to conserve energy and then he exploits weaknesses in opposition defence. Watch him move without the puck, watch him slip past opponents who are looking at the puck carrier. Impressive.

I know Feaster was touting him but Ryan Culkin could be a new favourite. There is a video on Flames site prior to Penticton (he has yellow towel on shoulder). Confident, smart, sincere. I hope it translates to on ice performance as well but I watch and think: committed athlete. Anyone who has been around an Olympian or a pro knows what that entails.

With Burke, I have no opinion on his hiring because I don't know what his title's influence on operations will be and I don't care what he did/said when he was a GM in the past. What will disappoint me is if he makes changes with scouting philosophy and wants to trade any of our prospects. I want to continue with Feaster/Weisbrod blueprint for player personnel. I would be very happy to see this crop (all players at development camp, rookie tourney) kept together and developed together.

When I consider the potential 'facts', I see Shanahan was considered with others including Burke. Were the Flames looking to bring in the next GM with the hockey ops pres? If it wasn't Burke and was Shanahan would that make sense?

What do those two have in common? Worked in league office. I don't know why that is an attractive piece of experience for the owners (if it is at all).

My hope is that Edwards' plans for the position are less about Calgary's on ice product and more about the league's on ice product (and Calgary being the standard bearer for Canadian teams) if that makes sense.

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#23 Baalzamon
September 06 2013, 02:06PM
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@Chris

Anaheim leaps to mind.

The logo they had when they won the cup: http://nhlhotstove.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Ducks.png

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#24 Baalzamon
September 06 2013, 02:09PM
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@Baalzamon

Now that I think of it, since we're on the subject of successful teams with awful logos, can't have that conversation without mentioning the Alberta Golden Bears and the worst logo in all of sports.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/c2/Alberta_Golden_Bears_Logo.svg/160px-Alberta_Golden_Bears_Logo.svg.png

I mean, come one. Who would voluntarily wear any paraphernalia bearing that monstrosity?

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#25 Azim
September 06 2013, 09:32AM
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Gilbert Perreault is still with us and very much alive. Rick Martin, his former linemate on the "French Connection", passed away a couple of years ago.

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#26 marty
September 06 2013, 09:38AM
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feaster is going to get feastered by burke, except burke is a step above him unlike how feaster was a step below darryl.

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#27 Veggie Dog
September 06 2013, 10:08AM
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Demetric wrote:

I disagree on your point of not saying anything regarding winning, it is always the goal, you want everyone one to work 110% toward the W every night. So saying that its not okay to loose is just voicing what everyone is thinking. Sure, it might be tough, but that's the goal every night. And do you have video or a sound bite of Feaster where he said this?

I agree. Would it maybe be better for the flames to crap the bed for two more years and really stock the cupboards? Maybe, but I am uncomfortable with actively hoping for or aiming at this. If we are dreadful despite out best efforts and get another 1 or 2 top 5 picks, that's fine with me, but to have losing as much as possible as your goal is dangerous and disrespectful to your ticket-holders. Of course out publicly stated aim ALWAYS has to be winning. Otherwise who will buy a ticket or sign a contract here? Plus there is always the possibility that losing for too long becomes entrenched and the team dysfunctional for 5+ years ( I am looking at you Edmonton) I think the best case scenario is lots of entertaining games where the young guys get every opportunity to flourish. Even though they have been pretty bad the last few years, the Oilers have been entertaining. You never know if they are going to score 7, or give up that many. Sometimes both.

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#28 Veggie Dog
September 06 2013, 10:12AM
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ChinookArch wrote:

I don't see how the Burke/Feaster relationship is going to work, in the long run. Burke has never struck me as a team player. On the contrary, his public persona is one of a control freak.

This hiring is a little reminiscent of Feaster's hiring in the first place. Looking back Jay looks to have been hired as the GM-in-waiting. The minute the Flames appeared to be out of the playoffs, Darryl Sutter was fired.

I hope the Burke/Faster comes together, but it doesn't look good for Jay.

I will be disappointed if they turf Feaster before the rebuild has progressed a bit more. I think it is rare for GMs who begin these projects to manage to hang on for the long haul, but it is way to premature to get rid of him. I am not sure how you can have a coherent effort at a rebuild if you change GMs in the middle of the project. I don't hate having Burke, but I really hope he stays somewhat in the background and this thing works.

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#29 backburner
September 06 2013, 10:53AM
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I'm going to take Kadri's side on this one. What issues haven't we seen come out of Toronto over the years... not to mention the gong show media. They wonder why nobody wants to play there...

It will be interesting to see how Burke rebounds..

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#30 piscera.infada
September 06 2013, 11:02AM
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Colin.S wrote:

The differences between Feaster and Ownership is he understands where this team is(REALLY BAD) and where it needs to go, while ownership is delusional and thinks this team needs to make the playoffs this year already.

I wasn't asking what the difference between Feaster and ownership is.

I was simply trying to posit that instead of the idea that Burke is rolling into town to discredit Feaster and make this team in the spitting image of what ownership wants (ie. halt the rebuild by signing horrible, old, unskilled, and gritty players), perhaps we can view him (until he proves differently) as the kind of "hockey guy" that understands the game enough to save ownership from itself.

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#31 the-wolf
September 06 2013, 11:02AM
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BurningSensation wrote:

I think you misunderstand what Burke is doing with regards to hist statements about the scouting department.

Burke is a 'process' guy, that is each and every facet of the organization has a process that must be followed to maximize success and minimize mistakes.

In scouting terms, this just means Burke wants to review the who-does-what-why nuts and bolts to make sure that the process the Flames have in place for scouting is coherent.

In the (recent) past scouting departments often had loosey goosey ways of managing things, ie. unclear or inconsistent standards for evaluation, heavy reliance on the personality and talent of the scout, rather than measureables of the player, etc.

As I see it Burke wants to review the structure and process of the department to confirm that Feaster has it set up correctly, not necessarily to blow it up and rebuild it in his image.

Not to sound argumentative, but I'm not sure I see the distinction as the items you mention are things that Feaster has already been credited as having changed from the Sutter regime.

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#32 the-wolf
September 06 2013, 11:05AM
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piscera.infada wrote:

I wasn't asking what the difference between Feaster and ownership is.

I was simply trying to posit that instead of the idea that Burke is rolling into town to discredit Feaster and make this team in the spitting image of what ownership wants (ie. halt the rebuild by signing horrible, old, unskilled, and gritty players), perhaps we can view him (until he proves differently) as the kind of "hockey guy" that understands the game enough to save ownership from itself.

I sincerely hope so. I've decided that Burke is at least a hockey guy, we all wanted a hockey guy, he has left teams in better shape from when he left as opposed to when he got there (even TO IMO), let's see what he does.

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#33 jeremywilhelm
September 06 2013, 11:06AM
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The Kadri smear campaign is ridiculous.

Darren Dreger has basically lost all credibility in the eyes of the players and become the go to mouth piece for his cousin Nonis.

I can't even listen to the guy talk anymore.

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#34 piscera.infada
September 06 2013, 11:10AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Not to sound argumentative, but I'm not sure I see the distinction as the items you mention are things that Feaster has already been credited as having changed from the Sutter regime.

Exactly, I think what he was getting at (if I can put words in BS's mouth) is that Burke isn't coming here to tear everything down. Burke was simply saying in the presser that he wants to see the Flames' "process" (for everything) in order to ascertain if anything can be improved upon. He stated he thought "the Flames had the best draft this year by far" - I highly doubt he dismantles that.

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#35 ChinookArch
September 06 2013, 11:19AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Agreed. Make no mistake, this is Burke's team, not Feaster's. By retaining Feaster, it removes the day-to-day grind from Burke (same reason Feaster was supposedly hired in the first place) and keeps Burke away from the media (we'll see).

If Feaster is let go, it'll be interesting. Because even though Feaster was hired to complement Sutter, I believe he was there to take over from day 1. Now, Burke is there to complement Feater, except from above instead of below. Weird way to run an organization - hire your replacement before canning you.

That pretty much sums up my thoughts. Burke worries me with respect to signing known entities. Orr, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Joey MacDonald plus Kubina were all acquired in his very first year with the leafs. He also touted a major acquisition of Gustavsson as the goal tending savier.

Which of these players would you have signed?

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#36 jeremywilhelm
September 06 2013, 11:23AM
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@ChinookArch

Beauchemin was/is a good Dman.

The rest are meh.

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#37 SVENSANITY
September 06 2013, 11:43AM
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I should have added.

Championship players know what it's like to have pressure on them. Putting pressure on these kids from day 1 will show management who can rise up to the call and who will shrink at the prospect. Champions can handle pressure and channel it into good things. Chumpions shrivel up and complain about there being too much pressure.

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#38 jeremywilhelm
September 06 2013, 11:49AM
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I think the Feaster era drafting has been not bad. But we know this is probably because of Weisbrod.

All that Feaster is is basically a talking head right now.

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#39 piscera.infada
September 06 2013, 11:52AM
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Colin.S wrote:

You really think he's gonna come in here and say bad things about the organization?

As I've said in other posts, I like the position and for the most part what the position is suppose to be about, however I despise who they chose for it(not that I hate Burke personally) but I think it's an exteremly dumb move to put a guy who came out and said yesterday he was looking for a GM position and move him into a position that tells the GM what to do. They should fire Feaster and just be done with it and let Burke hire some talking head.

The problem is that Feaster was never given a half decent proper chance, what he inherited from Sutter is probably the worst any GM is ever had to inherit and he's just now starting fresh, and now they are telling him he didn't do a good enough job already so they are gonna bring in someone else to tell him how to do it better.

Quite frankly, other than the Jankowski pick, Feaster has been doing a good job with the draft and prospects for the most part.

And I understand the sentiment. I'm just more of the mind that I have no idea what was actually talked about between Burke, Feaster, King, and Edwards. For that reason I'm not going to act as though they were on the grassy knoll (so to speak).

So I'll give them time before I start acting like this is the worst thing to happen to the Flames since the second coming of Jokinen.

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#40 FireOnIce
September 06 2013, 11:59AM
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@the-wolf

Here's a couple obvious bits of Burke's draft record:

He swindled the entire league into giving him pick #2 and #3 (for almost nothing) and picked up both Sedins. In a draft with basically no stars (unless you count a #5 pick Tim Connolly or Martin Havlat).

He later proceeded to swindle/screw up with the Bruins. Via his trade of 2 1sts and a 2nd for Kessel (Seguin + Hamilton).

Which Burke do we get?

Interesting side note. As I looked at the 1999 Draft on Wikipedia there, it was apparently stated back then that 1999 was the "deepest draft ever" but hasn't lived up to that moniker.

This makes me wonder about this year's draft, and how it was supposedly "deep". I can only hope we look back and it was actually deep, and not a bunch of bull plop.

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#41 seve927
September 06 2013, 12:13PM
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@FireOnIce

"This makes me wonder about this year's draft, and how it was supposedly "deep". I can only hope we look back and it was actually deep, and not a bunch of bull plop."

I hope it wasn't very deep, and only 3 players turn into impact NHLers out of the first two rounds. ;)

Oh wait 4. We need to trade for Steve Santini!

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#42 Chris
September 06 2013, 01:02PM
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Stunningly, that Sabres logo *still* looks more like a banana slug than a buffalo. The team should be forced to call themselves the Slugs.

What do you think? Does an ugly or stupid logo doom a team to mediocrity? What teams with a bad logo ever win anything? I can't think of any that have won a major championship.

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#43 Demetric
September 06 2013, 02:07PM
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@Chris

Ducks

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#44 beloch
September 06 2013, 03:24PM
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Re: Buffalo's new sweaters.

They're far from the worst in NHL history. Even just the Canucks have had at least a couple that were far uglier!

http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/10/jersey_halloween_yellow_rr.jpg

http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/06/jersey_oct_full_063008.jpg

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#45 MonsterPod
September 06 2013, 03:55PM
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Darn. I dig that Sabres jersey. Now I'm all self-conscious about my fashion eye.

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#46 FireOnIce
September 06 2013, 03:55PM
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These are some pretty horrific jerseys too:

http://exclusivepro.com/images/products/productmain_128_1_th.jpg

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#47 MonsterPod
September 06 2013, 04:02PM
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Chris wrote:

Stunningly, that Sabres logo *still* looks more like a banana slug than a buffalo. The team should be forced to call themselves the Slugs.

What do you think? Does an ugly or stupid logo doom a team to mediocrity? What teams with a bad logo ever win anything? I can't think of any that have won a major championship.

Oh yeah. Anaheim. Pretend you've never heard of the team, then someone tells you there's an NHL team playing in California. They're called the Ducks. It's really really bad. I was in line for the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland wearing a Kings cap (it was their cup run and I live here. Forgive me.) A guy in line looked me in the eye and said "Quack quack." I was dumbfounded and had no reply. This is what Anaheim has done to their fans, reduced them to taunting other teams' fans by quacking at them. It's really really bad.

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#48 RexLibris
September 06 2013, 04:32PM
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@FireOnIce

I wrote up something on the '99 draft in advance of this most recent one, but never got around to publishing it.

The basic premise was that I'd describe a draft that was deep with defensemen, large centers and talent across the board. It was heavily covered by Sports Illustrated (for the time) and had many scouts and pundits salivating.

Within five years it turned into one of the more disappointing drafts in NHL history and now stands as the nadir of the NHL Entry Draft.

The lesson being: don't count the chickens until they've hatched.

This was a primary reason for my being resistant to many of the declarations about this year's depth and promise. Not saying 2013 is a bust year, but we've seen promise get flushed before and bad years end up strong, so best to wait and see.

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#49 Captain Ron
September 06 2013, 06:06PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

That pretty much sums up my thoughts. Burke worries me with respect to signing known entities. Orr, Komisarek, Beauchemin, Joey MacDonald plus Kubina were all acquired in his very first year with the leafs. He also touted a major acquisition of Gustavsson as the goal tending savier.

Which of these players would you have signed?

Those are the Brian Burke moves that concern me too. I like the direction right now that the management group has been taking with the team. I see no reason to rush things. We will be much better off in the long run if they are patient and draft even more young talent (possibly generational talent) over the next 2 years. The best way to do this is from the ground up and hopefully reap the rewards for years to come. Who cares if we have a few losing seasons on the way to becoming a contender. It is the natural progression of things on the way to the top. Trying to circumvent that process is asking for trouble. Lets hope Burke has learned from his past mistakes and doesn't try to push the management group into doing the same (wrong) thing twice.

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#50 coachedpotatoe
September 07 2013, 08:53AM
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I said in an earlier comment how upset I was by the signeing of Burke but after listening the last 24 hours I am going to hold my judgement. Listening to King(I generally am not a fan) about how he sees this thing working makes some sense. I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now, Watching the prospects games have demonstrated that the Feaster regime may be better than some around here think. If a GM told the media or his players it was okay to lose we would all be in an uproar, Feaster says he wants his team to win and people want him gone, I don't get the logic. Most of us expect this team to struggle and not have many wins but we still want them to compete and when you compete you have a chance to win. While I want to see them draft high for the future I want to see them compete, develop and have a winning attitude.

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