As the team prepares to return to it’s normal game routine tomorrow, we’ll nevertheless continue to ruminate on the future of the franchise post-Sutter around here.*
*never fear, we will indeed continue to do the gameday stuff as well.
The topic of Feaster and his ostensible role as "interim" GM came up immediately when I appeared on Jason Gregor’s radio show the other day. Gregor asked me why the Flames would install Feaster as a manager, but burden him with trying to turn the franchise around without the full responsibilities – and requisite powers – of an NHL general manager. I didn’t have an adequate answer.
I thought about it some today and my conclusions are half summarized by walk invisible in her most recent post:
feaster wasn’t handed the title of GM outright because the org has earmarked someone else (who needs to concede his current position with another club before joining the flaming C’s).
i came to this theory because i just can’t get past why the executive/owners wouldn’t hand feaster the reins entirely, unless there’s something else at play, here.
That sounds about right. As Robert reveals below, there’s a number of other, qualified candidates still employed with other teams around the league. The money men may have Feaster mind the store while they wait to send out offers to their real targets this off-season. His mission will be to simply not to crash this thing into an ice-berg (well…moreso) in the interirm.
In fact, this may have been the reason Feaster was hired in the first place. I can imagine this summer when King was pleading for a stay of execution for Darryl that the ownership agreed, but with conditions – one being the Jay Feaster safety valve, which would give them the option of axing Sutter in the middle of the year and not leaving the org without an experienced exec in his stead.
Afterall, after Sutter and absent Feaster, there really wasn’t another hockey guy left in the franchise hierarchy capable of handling the GM duties, even for a brief period. As he’s reminded us a number of times, Ken King isn’t a "hockey guy".
The other half of the equation is: what happens to Feaster? It wouldn’t surprise me if he was earmarked for another position in the org once the powers-that-be find their long-term replacement. I’ve been tough on Feaster around these parts more than once, but the truth is he has a decent enough resume and possesses a skill-set that isn’t typical of the usual ex-hockey players types that populate NHL front offices.
A lawyer with experience negotating contracts can be a useful animal to have. In fact, it’s possible he’d be the guy to take over a certain position (rhymes with "resident") once a purging fire sweeps through the Flames offices this coming summer (something I consider an inevitability. Darryl Sutter’s influence permeates the franchise from top-to-bottom and the next guy is going to air the place out, so to speak).
Obviously we’re reading tea leaves here and trying to forecast the future is a bit of a fools errand.
Still, it’s what we as hockey fans do all the time, so what the hell…