VOICE OF THE NATION – IT’S FEAST’ER FAMINE

 

 

No one likes to see their team or its GM pull the trigger on a move that is out of desperation or panic. Moves are supposed to be made to better the team and strengthen it when it’s ready to take that next step… Or they are made with an effort to realize that they are moving in the wrong direction and they need a significant move to change the course of a sinking ship. Which category do the Flames belong in right now?

Unfortunately it’s neither, and that’s exactly what has fans frustrated and irate. The Flames have a laundry list of problems right now, including injuries, apathetic play from leaders and just an all out brutal power play. Top that off with two wins in seven games (only one of which was a legitimate 60 min effort) and this team seems to be stuck in limbo with management apparently not really interested in doing something about it.

Many of us have been of the opinion that it was going to be one of those seasons where you don’t really know how the Flames were going to fare; it was going to be an up-and-down season, with probably more downs than ups. The beginning of this campaign though hasn’t been disappointing in the terms of wins and losses; the frustration has come from how they lost. Saturday afternoon was a prime example of that, and frankly it has been a turning point in my thinking about what it is this team is trying to do.

We all realized that this year was one of transition and that the main changes to this organization were going to come in the background before they could begin to re-shape the on ice product. However, despite all my defence of this team, I sit here completely dumbfounded by what I watched on Saturday. My main role here at FlamesNation was to be the "Voice" of the people, to speak for the fans and be that optimistic backbone in this contentious season. Though lately I feel I haven’t been that voice, rather instead of speaking for the fans, I have been defending this team to the fans.

 

 

I have been a Flames fan since October 9th, 1980. I was at the game, a 5-5 tie with the Quebec Nordiques. After the game, I was standing at ice level, wishing I could be on the other side of the glass, even for just a moment. I remember distinctly my father saying, "Should we go?" I looked at him and replied, "Just a little longer Dad." It was in the moment that he looked up with a smile on his face, knowing that his son was hooked on the game he loved so much, that the referee glanced over his shoulder and saw me standing there. Without disrupting his conversation with the linesmen, he reached up and back, and flipped the game puck over the glass, landing right in my hands. I quickly stashed it in my coat pocket and said, "Okay Dad, we can go now."

On the walk back to the car, I couldn’t contain my excitement. When my dad asked me what had me all jumpy, I pulled the puck from my pocket and showed it to him. "Where did you get that?" I explained to him what had happened; he hadn’t noticed because he was having his own proud moment at the same time. I still have that puck. I hope to have it proudly displayed in my son’s room someday.

By now you are probably saying, "Nice story VF, but what’s your point?" My point is, for as long as I have been a fan of this team, I have had a sense as to the direction they were going and what they wanted to accomplish in any given season. I don’t have that sense right now, and so I turn back to the people!

THE PEOPLE

"There is a 100% disconnect between ALL levels of management, Feaster and Sutter obviously have a worse relationship that Sutter and Sutter do. How else do you explain the cluster mess that is Anton Babchuk? There is no one on the same page." – Colin

Is there a disconnect amongst management? On the surface, given what information has been spoon fed to us all summer, it doesn’t seem like there is. Feaster told us that regardless of the contract, if a player wasn’t performing, he would sit in favour of those that do. Babchuk hasn’t looked all that impressive, but he hasn’t played that much either. i could understand if the rest of the Flames D-men were playing well, and they didn’t need the services of his $2.5 Mil contract. However, if this theory holds true then why do we see  Cory Sarich and his whopping $3.3 mil contract with a $3.6 Cap hit every night?

Now this is where the first sign of disconnect may lie. Babchuk may be a defensive liability, but Sarich has been that and more lately. He has taken stupid penalties, one after another. He has been caught out of position, which has usually led to a penalty or a goal, and has just looked old and tired out there; basically going through the motions. He has laid out a few nice hits, but at this point, I don’t want to see him hit a guy against the boards that has just dished the puck to someone putting it in the back of the net. At least Babchuk has the cannon shot that could maybe be utilized on what is nothing short of a pathetic power play.

Ahh yes, the power play. Or more accurately, oh no, the power play! The Flames have pretty much defined the season thus far, with how they play on the PP. The team has really struggled in the faceoff circle which can be a PP killer; even when they did win the odd one, they showed a very lethargic breakout from their own zone. If they did manage to break out successfully, they demonstrated an uncoordinated or sloppy entrance into the offensive zone. We have seen what happens once they do enter the zone. Sloppy passing, where players are getting the puck in the mid-section, or having to try and glove it to their stick. This is with the man advantage. I can’t understand how this happens. It’s not like back during the Keenan reign of terror, where they didn’t even practice the PP. These are basic mistakes that has fans in the live chat begging for the Flames to "decline" the penalty. Babchuk is no more of a liability than Sarich right now; my gawd Brent, Jay, whoever, put Anton back in a give it a try.

"I would be okay with this team is playing, if I knew which direction this team is heading. Are they rebuilding? Are they playing out the season until next year when all these contracts come off the books? Are they seriously considering going on a run for the playoffs this year? Feaster’s rant about the Oilers at the fan forum this fall could turn out to be the biggest fauxpoo of the year. i look at the other supposedly brutal teams in the league and see young, speedy players fighting for jobs and actually having success (Col., Tor., ect.)."  – John Deere Green

This is my sentiment as well. I look once again to the Nashville game and am only left to wonder: again the Flames sat Babchuk, but this time joining him in the press box was Nik Hagman. Why? I’m not criticizing the decision to dress Roman Horak. On the contrary, I like Horak’s game and I think Calgary should be dressing him on a nightly basis, if their plan is to go through this season without a significant roster move. But why sit Hagman over someone like Stajan? Nik has shown effort and determination to improve upon his, wait for it…less than "mediocre" play from last year. There, I used the "M" word for the first time.

As we got to speculating in the chat room, many thought that maybe Hagman was being sat because the Flames were or had negotiated a trade. that would make sense, and it started to create more talk about where he might be going or who might be coming back this way.

Of course this was all on the back of rumours of Rene Bourque possibly being traded, as Darren Dreger had reported teams were interested. As the day went on, long after the game had ended, there was still no word on Hagman or any trade. At least not until the news broke about the Canucks acquiring David Booth from the Florida Panthers. I for one was flabbergasted at that point. As a fan, I was dismayed as to how the Canucks could offload some undesirables and pick up a player of Booth’s quality, yet the Flames seemed more than content to leave $5.5 M in the press box and just go about their day?

 

 

Now of course, there is a flip side to all of this right? Right? Are the fans so afraid of what happened last year that we are hitting the panic button way to soon? After all, San Jose is sitting in 13th place in the West and the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins, are 12th in the East.

"I’m sorry, but we’re 7 games into the season. Seven! There’s still 75 games left in the season. If this play continues after 30-40 games, fine, then you can blow it up. But any major trade right now would be extremely reactionary and in my opinion, stupid. So would firing Brent and/or Feaster. Give them a chance. it’s not like we’re 0-7. The Flames are a bounce away from being 3-3-1. Relax guys" – schevvy ‘do you wanna?’

Right you are schevv! And yeah, there are dominant teams that have struggled out of the gate. The only difference is that these are much better teams and we all know that eventually…no, sooner rather than later, they are going to start filling the net.

Kent has stated, many times, that the Flames aren’t as bad as they appear, and I agree with that whole heartedly. The problem I have is that while their skill level isn’t as bad as it appears, their work ethic and complacency is. P-Stein said in one of his post game articles that the Flames have to keep pace with the rest of the Western Conference. They can’t afford to fall too far back of the pack because they will not be as fortunate as last year and go on some magnificent run where they tear up the league. While I think it is still possible, it’s definitely not probable.

Feaster needs to look hard and long at what this season’s objective really is. If he is playing out this season to shed contracts and cap space next year, then he should be doing everything possible to let kids like Horak play as much as possible. If he is truly concerned about sitting contracts, then guys like Sarich and Stajan can sit, and guys like Babchuk and Horak should be in, so they have significant playing time under their belts come next year, for when the next wave of kids come up through the ranks.

If he is serious about making the playoffs this year, then he has to identify what changes need to be addressed immediately. If you are going to sit Hagman for no reason, then you had better have a trade in the works; your David Booth is out there somewhere. if you are getting calls about Rene Bourque, you better be listening at least. You may not like the offers coming in and that’s fine, then you stick to what you have – but you should be exploring all options from all markets.

"…if this team isn’t 5 games above .500 by Dec 1, visions of playoffs going in your head will be drug induced. everyone knows this team will be getting younger next year (ir)regardless if minor trades happen. If Feaster & King don’t start getting the word out that they are willing to listen to significant offers on major assets at that point, then we truly do have the wrong people driving the ship. I truly do feel Feaster is making the players determine the decisions of how this is going to go, and him, Sutter & King have given a date of which the players need to prove they are truly that playoff calibre team they said they were in the exit interviews last April. Explains Sutters determination to play Karlsson more, we have to know what we have & that will only happen by seeing him play games. any major trading now will be fool hardy. many fans don’t realize these are win, win times for us, if we do well, then I’ll be thrilled for the players & the franchise will be winning & its exciting. if we suck, then this team has huge changes coming & that’s a little scary but also exciting" – Kevin R

Bingo! It appears that Jay is content to let players determine their own fates, but in the meantime, the players are putting Feaster into a talent famine that is going to make it more difficult to receive these "significant offers". With 12 contracts coming off the books at the end of the year, I’m worried about the season long famine driving the Flames into a free agent feeding frenzy of the same old, same old… well mediocrity (Dammit, twice I’ve used that word now).

Better the Flames take a more progressive approach. Move pieces here and there. build the base for the new foundation that is undoubtedly coming. Feaster doesn’t need to jump head first into the pool, but I’d like to know that he at lest knows the depth and temperature of the water. The Flames have struggled with their ‘identity’ for years now. you can’t stand at the crossroads and try to peak down each path to see which is the better route. Pick a direction Jay, and you will find your identity once again.

  • the-wolf

    @ Jeremy – yes, they really are a development league, hence the term ‘farm team.’ And I agree with giving them support. It’s a balance is what I’m saying and since the organization seems to have high hopes (justified so far) for Horak then he should get the ice time over a career minor leaguer. Having him play the 3rd line here will just ensure he becomes a 3rd liner the same as Boyd, etc.

    There’s a reason Detroit and NJ are successful, becuase they let their top prospects develop in development leagues.

    If you don’t think he has that potential, that’s different and I addressed that.

    Abby’s problems in the past stem from dearth of talent overall, not because they weren’t filled with career minor league players.

    And I never said anything about fast, I’m talking about slowing it down.

    • jeremywilhelm

      I think you look at too short a term for development. The Wings most definitely do not put their prospects ahead of better players on the farm. They toil as much in Grand Rapids as they would with the big club. Its an apprenticeship and these kids need to earn bigger responsibilities. Hand them a gravy job and they will carry that shitty sense of entitlement throughout their careers.

      Fans crave a quick fix, there isnt one. I for one am glad Feaster and the development team in the organization are taking a long view. Because otherwise, this system is in for another 10 years of mediocrity.

  • the-wolf

    @ Rain Dogs – yes, I am suggesting a full rebuild. Just read my original comment. Sorry, but IMO the time for patch jobs and tinkering with the perimeter or even one big trade to mix things up is long gone. This team is past that. They can see the cliff they’re about to drive off of, but they’re too scared to veer off the road.

    I agree with what you say about Richards and Iginla is 3 years older so the same applies, but more so.

    It made sense to build around Iggy when Darryl got here. Jarome was 25-ish. Now? It’s 9 years later. Too many fans here are overvaluing their own players; we’ve become Toronto West.

    Really good UFA signings may well make us a playoff team again, but they won’t make us a Cup contender and if you look at the rosters of all the Cup finalists for the last 5 years they’re full of players they’ve drafted and developed and have at least 3 or 4 legit star players in their 20’s.

    There’s only one way to get that and that’s the draft. Edmonton woke up and (was forced) realized it. Eventually Calgary will have to as well.

    • BobB

      Ok, well I disagree. I think that building through free agency as well as the draft is the best way, and in this league (now) you win with 4-6 year plans, with youth and experience (like Detroit, Chicago, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston).

      For every Seguin/Lucic there was a Chara, for Kane there was Hossa, for Crosby there was Gonchar, for Getzlaf there was Selanne

      Teams like Edmonton and the NYI, and Nashville are going to be perpetually shitty – 8th and have been, who go total rebuild through the draft.

      I don’t want to go through that in Calgary (AGAIN) remember “Young Guns”

      So, we see it differently… fair enough.

    • BobB

      We see it differently fair enough.

      I see Boston with Seguin/Lucic and Chara. I see Chi with Kane/Toews and Hossa. I see Pittsburgh with Malkin/Crosby and Gonchar. Anaheim with Getzlaf/Perry and Selanne.

      I think 4-6 year plans work. Youth with a 32ish core. That means 26-27 UFA’s

      Teams like Deadmonton, Nashville, NYI will always be shitty with their youth for all approach.

      Remember “Young Guns”? I don’t want to go through that again.

      So we disagree…. that’s fair.

    • the-wolf

      We see it differently fair enough.

      I see Boston with Seguin/Lucic and Chara. I see Chi with Kane/Toews and Hossa. I see Pittsburgh with Malkin/Crosby and Gonchar. Anaheim with Getzlaf/Perry and Selanne.

      I think 4-6 year plans work. Youth with a 32ish core. That means 26-27 UFA’s

      Teams like Deadmonton, Nashville, NYI will always be shitty with their youth for all approach.

      Remember “Young Guns”? I don’t want to go through that again.

      So we disagree…. that’s fair.

    • BobB

      Ok, so we disagree that’s fair.

      You see youth all the way…. I see “Young Guns”

      You see Edmonton “waking up”… I see them having sucked for a decade and will suck/be fringe for many more years…. like the NYI, NASH, etc.

      I see Boston with youth and Chara/Recchi,
      I see Pitt with youth and Gonchar,
      I see Chi with youth and Hossa,
      I see Ana with youth and Selanne.

      I see 4-6 year windows in this day and age. That’s my idea, not saying it’s the only way or correct, but it fits with JBO, Gio, Backlund, Glen X, and maybe Moss (your ’82-’86 birth years).

      Add a few more 26-27 year old UFA’s and we’ve got a core for 4-6 year window. Cup contenders in 2016-2018.

      Just in time for what (little) youth/prospects we have. Complete rebuild in my mind = bad for a decade or likely more, cause what we’ve got isn’t going to be good enough in 8 years when they’re all 26 – 30, and everyone else is gone.

      • xis10ce

        I’ve addressed the Young Guns era numerous times, it could’ve been so different, but to summarize: even the best laid plans can be ruined by incompetent management. The biggest problem back then was “something for now, something for the future” and “build, but remain competitive.” They should’ve embraced the rebuild, thrown their resources into drafting and development and with more picks/prospects, higher draft positions they would’ve had success.

        And remember, the Darryl Sutter/King plan hasn’t been much better and has a shelf-life that may doom us to even worse.

        Edmonton got better when Lowe went upstairs.

        Count how many players on Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Vancouver, Anaheim and Chicgao were drafted. Then look at Calgary’s roster.

        Look at the age of their star players and how they were acquired and again, compare it to ours.

        Having a Recchi or Chara is great, but you have to be able to draft a Lucic and Krejci, etc.

        I agree with you on the make-up of a winning team needing old and young. I think we’d be better of if we’d moved Iginla, Tanguay and Bourque last year and brought in a Schenn and some others, but still kept Glencross, Jokinen, etc.

        I advocated a partial rebuild for years because it only took me until the end of ’07, ’08 at the latest to see that our core couldn’t cut it. Philly has done 2 of them now in the last sveral years and they’re set up for future playoff success because they don’t sit there and hope their current roster can one day do it. They evaluate objectively and rejuvenate every so often. That way setbacks are only for a year or two.

        I just don’t think that option (partial rebuild) is on the table anymore. We’ve moved past the point of one or two big trades and let’s keep on rolling.

        Where you and I really differ is that I now believe the age gap you speak of is too great. It should’ve been done 3 years ago at least. Now, too many of our established vets will be too old.

        • BobB

          “Where you and I really differ is that I now believe the age gap you speak of is too great. It should’ve been done 3 years ago at least. Now, too many of our established vets will be too old.”

          The more we talk it out, the more it seems we’re not worlds apart… but can you expand on that last bit?, I don’t fully get it.

          For this team (as a Contender), I think Iggy, Kipper, Jokinen, Tanguay, Sarich, Hannan are finished. (your ’76-’81 birth years)

          Their best years are going or long gone and they will be long retired before we are serious (not lightning-in-a-bottle) contenders.

          I think the ’82+ birth years are our next window for contention. It’s not impossible to turn a team around in 4-6 years and I think it would give our current crop of youth (Bartschi, Brodie, Holland, Byron, Horak, Backlund, Reinhart etc.) time to develop in the NHL.

          Otherwise, don’t you think we’re too thin on prospects/picks?

          If we tank now (PLAN B)… that’s three to four years of accumulating 1st round picks, then another three or so before they’re maybe even playing… then another 4-6 development to elite years….

          That’s a long, long time (8-12years+ like EDM)… and longer if Plan B doesn’t work (like NYI), and we totally waste Gio, Jbo, Bourque, GlenX, Moss et al. cause in 5-8 years they’re done.

          I think Plan B demands we trade Gio, Bourque and Glen X for draft picks, don’t you? Otherwise, we’re using them for contention as vets…. and that’s the 4-6 years window, the prospects we have… and UFA’s

          • BobB

            Well, actually I’m saying what you’re saying to a degree. That our current top guys are too old to try and mesh with the likes of Baertschi and co. by the time they come along, let alone future picks. The age gap between Tanguay/Iglina, for example, and even our current prospects is too great.

            Therefore trade all the vets for picks/prospects in order to build around the likes of Baertschi, Horak, Brodie and Backlund.

            We are thin on prospects, but if we move them all out for futures they could fill out what little prospects we do have and develop together.

            Glencross and Gio aren’t old now, but they may be by the time new guys come in. I’d be very selective about which vets I’d keep. They’d have to be no older than 225, 26, maybe 27 today in order to really be of any use. I might make 1 or 2 exceptions to that, but they’d have to agree ahead of time to be part of the rebuild and mentor the youth.

            It’ll still take some time, but I don’t see an alternative. We’re certainly not contenders on the current path we’re taking.

            Get young UFA if you can, for sure, but one can’t count on it. The only way to really get young talent is to draft it.

            Edmonton had a miracle run in 2006, but were about as competitive then as we’ve been the last few seasons. They’ve taken an obvious step forward this year and so really, done by smart hockey people, Calgary could do a rebuild in 5-7 years. We’ve simply dragged out the current mess for too long now to have a quicker solution.

            I hope that makes more sense and it’s kind of weird how we ended up close to the same page, but that’s the difficulty of communicating over the web I guess.

  • BobB

    We see it differently fair enough.

    I see Boston with Seguin/Lucic and Chara. I see Chi with Kane/Toews and Hossa. I see Pittsburgh with Malkin/Crosby and Gonchar. Anaheim with Getzlaf/Perry and Selanne.

    I think 4-6 year plans work. Youth with a 32ish core. That means 26-27 UFA’s

    Teams like Deadmonton, Nashville, NYI will always be shitty with their youth for all approach.

    Remember “Young Guns”? I don’t want to go through that again.

    So we disagree…. that’s fair.

  • BobB

    I really am a bit miffed at how we could have missed getting David Booth. We have an excess of forwards who are aguably better than what was sent to Florida. They received a 3rd round pick along with Booth, a 26 year old coming into his prime and has scored over 30 goals.The forwards who we could have offered such as Hagman would have been a better package. Did we miss out-I think so.

    I’m willing to give Feaster a chance but so far I give an F to the moves.

    Regehr trade arguably to create cap spacesome of which we have and aren’t using for a very questionable return.

    Re-signing players (no new players brought in)that were here before but to more $ and NMC’s.

    Re-signing a Babchul to more $ but have him sit in the press box.

    Signing and sending picks for 1 dimensional goon types who don’t play.

    Always willing to be patient and allow the guy some slack but so far I don’t like the early returns-especially seeing a player like Booth go to a divisional opponent for spare parts and a pick.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Wow I can hear the hammering of the gallows in front of the Dome all the way down in Canyon Meadows :):) Look what you started Vintage but the timing is good, a perfect Halloween scenario.
    I gotta say, I am a little baffled with some of the decisions coming from Feaster & Sutter. Especially if Butler is sitting for Babchuk.
    I am on the fence for Feaster, I think we need to let the guy have a chance but he scares me. He’s smart enough but the party line doesnt jive with the actions. Is he the savvy GM to pull off the type of deals that will help this team rebound in a short period of time, I’m not so sure. I do agree any GM coming in after last years 2nd incredible half needed to allow the players to prove they are real in the 1st half of this year. Also, DSutter left a cluster mess of contracts and traded /unsigned draft picks, which made change next to impossible.
    The trades of Langkow & Regehr will only be worth it if it allows us to make a deal that will bring in a player with a higher salary but fits into a longterm youth movement.The only trades I see that Feaster can do now would be the likes of Bourque/JBO/Iginla that has the potential to bring backa valuable pieces for the future. The Hagmans, Sarich, Jokinens, Moss are more valuable at the trade deadline. Kipper & Stajan will have more value at next years draft because salary versus cap hit swings in our favor. For these reasons, there is very little Feaster can do now without publicly stating it’s a firesale & we are pulling the plug on the season. That will never happen & King wont let it happen.
    So I stand by my previous post, direction of where this team is going will be obvious by December. Feaster is a smart guy, if he truly feels he doesnt want to be the lightening rod of change, then he will need to be replaced, which surely cant bode well for Ken Kings decision making & hiring of a GM last spring.
    If these guys didnt see this scenario happening, boy, then I’m really worried about the vision of this hockey team going forward. Otherwise, quit thinking we’re stupid & come clean and what is the damn direction of this team. If you truly think we are a playoff cup contending team, then go sell some more future & get Iggy a Spezza & go for it.

  • jeremywilhelm

    1. I cant believe anyone thinks this team needs David Booth AT ALL.

    2. Wahl could make his Heat debut on thr top line as Byron has been suspended 3 games.

  • mayhemsince1977

    What? Butler out? Does this mean we finally get to see Gio get the minutes he deserves. The next question is who plays with JBo?

    I know everyone here hates on Babs, but I bet we score a powerplay goal tomorrow night. I do not know why everyone gets on him for his defensive play. If the JBo pairing is on the ice 60% of the game and Gio pairing 40%, then we don’t need to worry about Babs being a defensive liability.

  • Graham

    I think Feaster is getting his first reality check as Flames GM, another slow start (its actually a slower start than last year), another weak effort by the core and mid tier group, over hyped additions like Butler (decent 4?,5,6 guy, not remotely a top 2 at this point), limited potential on the farm, suspect deletions in Regehr and Langkow….

    The off season was simply another missed opportunity to make organizational wide changes. We have spent years changing coaches, GM’s, players, systems… but it is becoming apparant that the problem is much deeper.

    We simply have something wrong culturally within the organization and it needs to be addressed. We don’t have a winning culture, and its lack has filtered down through the entire organization. The mere fact that the team goal is just to sneak into the playoffs says a lot…

  • Graham

    I think Feaster is getting his first reality check as Flames GM, another slow start (its actually a slower start than last year), another weak effort by the core and mid tier group, over hyped additions like Butler (decent 4?,5,6 guy, not remotely a top 2 at this point), limited potential on the farm, suspect deletions in Regehr and Langkow….

    The off season was simply another missed opportunity to make organizational wide changes. We have spent years changing coaches, GM’s, players, systems… but it is becoming apparant that the problem is much deeper.

    We simply have something wrong culturally within the organization and it needs to be addressed. We don’t have a winning culture, and its lack has filtered down through the entire organization. The mere fact that the team goal is just to sneak into the playoffs says a lot…

    • everton fc

      The key sentence in the post above;

      “This odd season was simply another missed opportunity to make organizational wide changes…”

      Bingo.

      Feaster was the best we could do? Who made that call? The President. No way Darryl brought in Feaster. It was King.

      We got nothing at all for Regher (Sabres were actually able to get Kotalik to go home, where he’s happy and scoring goals). We traded our best centre. We have an expansion team here, in many areas.

      You have to gut the Executive. Get rid of the bad contracts and dead wood.

      It starts from the top down. And includes Brent Sutter, as well.

  • icedawg_42

    Proud of myself! Get a comment used in the article! In my opinion, and it’s exactly the point that I made in the comment in the article, it is only 7 games. If this team misses a playoff spot by one point it’s not like we’re gonna go back and be like, oh, 2-4-1 during a 7 game stretch that’s what cost us, not at all. I’m willing to wait till late November, early December to judge this team, assuming they don’t pull a Columbus and lose 8 games in a row or something. The fact is, no matter what happens this year, if the Flames make the playoffs or if they finish 15th, they will look a lot different next year. I don’t believe in the principle of tanking, cause I could very well be watching that down here in Lethbridge, and honestly, it sucks! In my opinion, you can’t tell a team to suck and lose as much as possible, it’s ridiculous. It creates a very bad locker room atmosphere and it takes a long time to recover. Unless things get very dire here in Flames Land, I say we just ride the season out, and with all the contracts off the books next summer, there will be change, lots of it.

    Also, why in the bloody hell is Babchuk coming in for BUTLER??? If it was Sarich I would be ok with it and I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing but BUTLER? I know he may have struggled the first few games but give the guy a chance, especially since he’s the guy who’s supposed to try and help fill the role left by Regher. Butler > Sarich, Babchuk, every single time.

    • icedawg_42

      Well said Schev! And congrats on your new found infamy! Vintage doesnt use my comments, because most of them are targeted at throwing thinly veiled insults at him 😉 I liked something that Graham said about culture, and not having a winning culture. I believe (ahem ..told you so) that I said back right after that Dion trade, that Dutter was infusing far too much losing history into the Flames locker room by bringing in all those Leafs. They just dont know how to win – and now, neither do the Flames.

  • everton fc

    I just don’t get this team, I know Butler isn’t a replacement for Regehr and can’t live up to that. But as Stienberg has said before, Butler has looked okay on a pairing with Bouwmeester, he hasn’t been lights out, but he’s been good. There has been some bad moments, but show me a Flames D man that hasn’t had some really bad moments.

    What really gets me is that not only may Butler be taken out in favour of Babchuk, is that Butler is out COMPLETELY, Sarich AND Smith are in over him, and IMO he has been better than both. I don’t get Sutter(or Feasters) fascination with Smith, I really don’t.

    So who is to blame for this mess, Sutter who doesn’t want to play either of Feasters bigger offseason moves(Butler and Babchuk) and instead of taking out pylons like Smith or Sarich, he takes out a big piece of the Regehr trade in Butler. So that leaves me with a few options.

    1.) Feaster has NO IDEA what he is doing; his signing of Babchuk and trading for Butler show that. Babchuk has gotten into two games I think so far and if Butler is being replaced for him and Smith and Sarich stay out then Feaster really overvalued or overestimated Butlers worth. And if he is that poor a judge of players value he should be fired before he screws it up worse.

    2.) Sutter is as bad a coach as D. Sutter was at making trades. If Sutter is juggling around his D so much and leaving guy likes Babchuk and Butler(if talent isn’t the problem) out of the line up(over Sarich/Smith) shows he can’t use Talent properly. Sutter obvioulsy can’t or won’t see how poorly Sarich/Smith can be and really thinks they are better than Babchuk/Butler, or he just can’t properly line match and get favourable defensive assignments(even with last change) which shows how poor of a coach he is.

    3.) Sutter or Feaster(Maybe King?) are all getting input into who is playing, like maybe they all get to pick 1/2(1/3) of the players playing and none of them can decide so they are constanly shuffeling players, and if so, FIRE THEM ALL, the coach should make the personel decisions, the GM should acquire the personel and King should manage the business side of things. If it truly is like this and Sutter is left alone to make the personel decision on the ice then he should be the only one fired. After training camp and 7 games in the season, he should be aware of what he has and properly match lines like a real coach, what he’s doing seems like he has no clue.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I think it’s just that Sutter is terrible. The guy has had over 2 years to figure this team out. His system is terrible, and he has no idea how to manage his players.

    Please please please getting me a coaching change for Xmas?!?!

    • everton fc

      The problem with that theory though is asuming that D. Sutter never interfered with the team, and taking Feaster et al. at their word is that pretty much happened all the time. Just as D. Sutter had his fingers all up the draft and the scouts were window dressing, just like coaching D. Sutter kinda told B. Sutter how things were gonna be. The thing is, I’m pretty sure B. Sutter had Lou in NJ telling him how things were gonna be as well. So now that B. Sutter can run things on his own(if thats truly happening) is this how his team is gonna be, cause if thats the case, Christmas may already be to late. If this is truly B. Sutters team and he gets to make ALL the decisions, then his personel decisions are baffeling at best and disturbing at worst, leaving out someone we all see(n) in Hagman out for pretty much scrubs, the defense is a rotating door suck, how do any of these guys expect to develop any chemisty or confidence if they are constantly getting thrown OUT of the lineup.

      So whats the Over/Under on our record before B. Sutter sees the axe. Also whats the bet on if B. Sutter is the first coach fired.

      Answer to 1st question: 7 games under .500; Answer to 2nd question: 2nd Coach to get fired

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Okay, have we all had our cathartic moment? Have we all written about who, and what we hate the most about the Flames? Have we already decided who stays, whos is waived or traded or dumped? Good, Now take a big breath of fresh air and relax. It’s October 25th, so take it easy. Next admit it – you have panicked, because the Flames record sucks after only 7 games. Now, answer one question, who would you be rallying against if the flames were 4-1-2? I’ve read all 61 post before this one. I learned one thing and heard nothing else new or interesting. Thanks SMTORSCHT (#21). I did not know that, and that definitely is important for the Flames future.

    • Vintage Flame

      “Now take a big breath of fresh air and relax. It’s October 25th, so take it easy. Next admit it – you have panicked, because the Flames record sucks after only 7 games.”

      It’s not necessarily that the Flames have a losing record after just 7 games. It’s how they lost the games that leads people to believe there is a problem with this team.

      How long should fans wait to panic? The Flames have shown for the last few years that the more things change, the more they stay the same with this club. The Flames haven’t shown anything that leads people to believe that after 40 games, their win-to-loss ratio won’t remain the same. This team can’t afford to turn a blind eye to change. I’m not saying blow it up.. but moving pieces is definitely better for them.

      “I’ve read all 61 post before this one. I learned one thing and heard nothing else new or interesting”

      Yeah.. that’s pretty much how the fans feel when they go to the Dome.

    • Vintage Flame

      If we were 4-1-2 I doubt I(or anyone) would have the concerns I(we) do. It means there would probably be leadership on the Ice, on the Bench and in the Managers Box. However we are not 4-1-2, and we are a mess of a team. Sutter can’t make up his mind what team he wants on the ice(seriously we have enough extras hanging around for an extra line and defensive pairing), the team itself can’t make up its mind if it wants to be more defensive or offensive, and finaly Feaster doesn’t know if he is gonna blow the team up and make a bunch of trades, or a few smaller ones to improve the team short term(Friedmanns 30 thoughts has Feaster as the GM with the busiest phone).

      The GM doesn’t know if he is coming or going, in the off season he says we are a playoff team and pushing for playoffs(the goal is playoffs) and 5/6/7 games in his phone is the busiest in the NHL, apparently he thinks this team is worse than all the commmentators here and is gonna trade everyone. That reflects on the ice as well and you can see it in this team.

      We were 4-3 last season at the 7 game mark, we got to 6-3 before dropping four in a row to go 6-7 to start the season. This year we are 2-4-1 and don’t have a clue what direction we are going in, heck, I have more confidence in Columbus now getting a playoff spot after tonights game than we do.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Well why the heck would we be rallying against a team that was 4-1-2? They probably would have to look like a real team to amass a record over the first seven.

    I am not panicking, all that this start to the season has proven to me is that this team is a terrible as I thought it was last year and Sutter has simply shown me he is as terrible of a coach as I thought he was last year.

    The guy has has had over 2 years to figure this team out. He has not yet done so, and I doubt he ever will.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    @VF

    I see what you’re saying Vintage, but in my opinion any major move or any somewhat major move would be ridiculous to do after 7 games. If they find a way to get rid of a bad contract, do it, but that would be the only reason to make a move now. My belief is a team needs to play at least 20-25 games to get a true view of the team, and this team has yet to do that

    Now, for all the people suggesting to fire Sutter and/or Feaster, who would replace him. Any names available or that you would like to see come in? Just curious..

    • Vintage Flame

      “I see what you’re saying Vintage, but in my opinion any major move or any somewhat major move would be ridiculous to do after 7 games. If they find a way to get rid of a bad contract, do it, but that would be the only reason to make a move now.”

      Let’s be honest. There are only 2 major moves, Iggy and Kipper, right? That won’t happen yet, if at all this season. Everyone else is fair game.

      If they trade Backlund, Gio or any of the prospects, they deserve whatever fate they get. Moss should be borderline untouchable by other clubs. So I don’t include them on this list of fair game, cause I thought they were obvious.

      But as for everyone else on this team, if teams come poking, the Flames better be listening. Trading Langkow and Regehr should have been the Flames way of telling the league anyone is available.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I’m sure once the team is 15 points out of a playoff spot, the pressure will evaporate and the team will start winning again, only to finish four points out of eighth place.

    • Reidja

      Ha! Now how true is this one. Schevvy is right, too soon. We got Col, Stl, Vanc, Det, Buff & Col. in our next 6 games. I can easily see 4 losses out of that which would put us 4-8-1. At that point, I think I would say Schevvy is wrong. Yikes!! I can see the smoke smouldering out of my computer already:)

  • Vintage Flame

    I just don’t think that Brent Sutter, Feaster, and King are the problem(s). The Flames have gone through countless managerial changes over the last 10(?) years and nothing has changed in regards to on-ice results. It HAS to come down to on-ice talent, or more specifically- the “core”.

    I will agree with numerous other fans that Brent seems to not care at all about matching lines to try and win hockey games. However, the system that he is trying to get the players to adapt to, is in my mind, the only way that he thinks this can be a succesful club. I hate defensive first hockey. I’d rather watch a 6-5 loss with lots of scoring opportunties, than watch a 1-0 win trap style game. I’ve always linked the current Flames club with the saying- You can’t make a silk purse out of a dead pigs ear.

    • Vintage Flame

      “I just don’t think that Brent Sutter, Feaster, and King are the problem(s). The Flames have gone through countless managerial changes over the last 10(?) years and nothing has changed in regards to on-ice results. It HAS to come down to on-ice talent, or more specifically- the “core”.”

      Bingo! Feaster shouldn’t be looking to make friends.. Make a team. Trade people.

      “Brent seems to not care at all about matching lines to try and win hockey games. However, the system that he is trying to get the players to adapt to, is in my mind, the only way that he thinks this can be a successful club.”

      I think he is determined to be able to have any line he has match up against any line deployed by the opposition. Nice in theory, would be great in practice… just ain’t happening.. He needs to adapt to his adaptations.

  • Reidja

    This has to be one of the least compelling professional sports teams in any league in North America. They are boring, they are bad, they are old, they are slow… we all know…. we all know.

    It’s just so damn sad because Calgary has a bunch of people who find the freaking cold-fusionesque passion to drive/ride/walk all the way out of their suburban pickety fency type neighbourhoods and pay a large part of their large salaries to watch this rotting-fruit-sliding-slowly-down-the-apathetically-tilted-to-one-side-of-the-cuttingboard-at-your-loser-friend’s-house-who-your-pretty-sure-had-a-lot-of-potential-but-just-wasted-it. Wasted it. And instead, is content with letting food sit around… You know, life could be worse… We could have no hockey team… We could have no bulk food superstores… We could have no soap. No soap!

    Yes it could be worse. Our team could either 1) suck more or 2) not exist. Although I don’t see 2) happening any time soon, I do see 1) happening… imminently. This is why I said that we should trade Jerome… sure he puts butts in seats. But frick, am I getting numb.

    • xis10ce

      You know, I like Francis in the sense that He’s interesting to listen to, far better on radio and TV than his columns. I mean, talk about hypocrisy, he denounces trade rumours and then tosses out some of his own. As ‘fact,’ of course.

      And why couldn’t this team have made moves at the deadline last year? The team was playing well, so it was impossible? IS there an NHL bylaw I don’t know about? How about trading from a position of strength?

  • xis10ce

    6 comments. 1 Iggy can’t lead. 2 the cupboard is bare except reinhart no on to call up pathetic. 3 fire King. 4 as far as free agency goes next year .You can’t rely on just free agency to build a team .First you over pay ,more bad contracts. You have to draft and develop. 5 By the end of November they will be in last place over all. and 6 They will lose by at least three goals tonight. amen