We all sat and watched as Jay Feaster made what we thought was a shot across the bow of this team, and specifically the vets that lead it. It was somewhat cathartic to hear him be so indicative and precise that many of us don’t even recall what happened in the third period of that game against Phoenix. It didn’t matter anymore because according to Jay and all his intellectual honesty, it was apparent that finally change was coming as the players looked to be forcing Feaster’s hand and he was going to be active on Deadline Day.
Jay seemed quite adamant about unless the attitude changed with this team, and its leaders, that there were going to have to be some changes. Well that night they blew a 2 goal lead, and in the next game, against Philly, they blew a three goal lead. So how drastic did the change need to be for management to follow through on their promise, threat, or whatever it is you want to call it? It didn’t get any better last night against the Blues. Now St. Louis is an elite team in every sense of the term, so it wasn’t likely that the guys in red were coming out with a "W" tonight, but when the Flames went up 1-0, it wasn’t a sense of optimism but rather when was the collapse going to happen, and how big of a lead could Calgary lose to this team?
Deadline day came and went without a single move made from Flames management. In fact rather than Feaster moving one of the numerous pending free agents, he instead signed Tim Jackman to a two year extension. That’s nothing against Jackman as, despite his unimpressive season this year, he has been a relatively effective player for the Flames on the fourth line. However, the lack of activity left many if not all Flames fans wondering what exactly Feaster’s rant was really was all about.
The day was destined for disaster for a frustrated fan armed with a little bit of hope from the second period rant. When there was no deal announced, Flames fans everywhere could feel their blood boiling and by the time 1:00 pm rolled around in Calgary, fans were losing it all over the city. However, did we read more into what Feaster had said in order to quell our own fury, did we misinterpret what he was actually saying? Possible on both counts I believe.
PERCEPTION vs. REALITY
A fans wish to see make an impact deal doesn’t always translate into reality. The truth of the matter is that we don’t really know what the communication between management and the players consists of. We see no trades as no activity and that just simply is not logical.
When Feaster addressed the media, he did say that the Flames were involved in a few deals, but it was the other team that backed out in those scenarios. Can we instantly vilify the management for not being able to strong arm other teams into a deal they just simply don’t want to do. And to that matter, can we really blame them for not accepting these deals? When we spend the entire season trying to find the fastest routes out of town, does it seem reasonable that we also get to illustrate the map as to where they end up? It takes two teams to make a deal work. Why are we so one one sided in the blame game?
That being said, I do find it tough to accept that there wasn’t at least one deal that was even somewhat reasonable. What was the full intent or was there even an attempt to move the likes of Sarich or Hannan. We heard there was interest expressed in Jackman, so what was the reasoning for signing him over trading him?
The truth of the matter is that we as a fan-base are not privy to the inner workings of this team, no matter how much we cheer for them, or how hard we yell at them. It just isn’t in the cards for us, nor will it ever be. We may be the source that pays their salaries, but it should not give us an over-inflated sense of entitlement.
I realize that during these times, it’s hard and it’s frustrating to remain a fan, I get that – but we also seem to be losing sight of what we all pretty much agreed upon way back in training camp. It was discussed in length that this team was going to be severely handcuffed by its situation with contracts and the number of NTC or NMC’s. Is it because the Flames are so close to a playoff position that they really don’t deserve, or the frustration that this team just seems like it will never change?
I don’t have an answer as to why the fans feel like they do, but I can speak as to how I feel about the day. As a fan, I too am frustrated that there wasn’t some degree of change to talk about and to find new hope in. I have remained as optimistic as I can, but even I have my limits. Maybe the silver lining here is that Feaster showed everyone this mythical intellectual honesty by demonstrating that he was committed to not just make a deal for the sake of making one and saving face about a rant on television.
He also stayed true to the fact that he’s not prepared to mortgage the future of this team for a rental solution. We know the guys that were available yesterday; some of them like Nash, were just not even possible. The ones that we all thought might have been a good fit here might not have been available with the Flames limited resources. It’s always fun to go window shopping but sooner or later you have to have the cash to buy the bling. When you go after a franchise changing player, there is no lay-away plan.
There is also another thing I’m grateful for that came from the lack of movement yesterday. The prospects in Europe, US College, Abbotsford and the CHL have shown us that the cupboards aren’t nearly as bare as people have said. I’m grateful that Feaster didn’t give up on guys like Bärtschi, Reinhart, Ferland, Arnold and Gaudreau, before they were ever given the chance! Take that Erixon…