VF has been out of commission for awhile, so you will have to settle for my admittedly shorter, less pic-infused version of Stoking the Fire.
– First up is everyone’s favorite muckraker Domebeers. In his never ending quest to get everyone fired, he fell upon this TSN radio segment which focuses on the subject of coaching searches. It’s interesting to note the different flavor of coverage when the media is non-local and a non-rights holder. It certainly isn’t surprising a removed entity like TSN would be altogether less guarded and more critical when it comes to the Flames, but to hear it in practise is…odd. Or refreshing, depending on your point of view.
The segment itself contains no real revelations. Dreger and Simmons speculate on particular candidates for the Flames job but note the management is highly involved in hockey operations and may be looking for someone they can "bend". This is either hearsay or old news depending on what side of the fence you are on when it comes to the Flames and Ken King.
I’ll note at this point that a highly engaged management team is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. In Moneyball, Billy Beane was notoriously involved in every aspect of the Oakland A’s organization, from negotiating deals to determining coaching strategies. He was basically coaching the club from his office, in spite of (not in unison with) manager Art Howe.
Of course, Beane had to be hands on in order to ensure his progressive (at the time, screwball) ideas were implemented to his satisfaction. So the reason and nature of upper management "interference" at lower levels of the organization is more pertinent than the involvement itself. On one hand, trying to institute and implement a particular vision for the betterment of the team is lauable. On other hand, if the interference is tyrannical and more vested in politics, perceptions and sophistry in the wake of failure, then you have some problems.
Flames Looking at Davidson?
– Somewhat related – Andy Strickland noted recently that the Flames may be courting Blues president John Davidson.
According to sources there’s talk in Canada of the Calgary Flames interested in hiring Blues President John Davidson. The Flames are in a similar situation, albeit not as bad, that the Blues were in when Davidson joined the organization in 2006. Would they turn to JD to assist in building the Flames back up?
Davidson has deep roots in the Calgary area going back to his junior hockey days not to mention he broadcasted Flames games prior to his legendary career in New York. He and his wife have family living in the Calgary area and for year’s have hosted an August charity golf tournament in the city.
There’s talk of current Flames President Ken King staying on board to oversee the business side of the organization.
I’ll admit, it’s an interesting possibility. Davidson has a pretty strong resume on the hockey side of things and has done good work in St. Louis (often under trying circumstances) since he was named their president in 2006. If the Flames are going to have an involved pres, then Davidson is preferable to Ken King, whose primary background is media and sales.
In Pursuit of Justin Schultz
– Switching gears, Jeff Angus of Canucks Army and Dobberhockey recently interviewed me about the possibility of Calgary landing probable college UFA Justin Schultz recently. Drafted by the Ducks in the second round back in 2008, Schultz has gone on to become a dominant defender for the University of Wisconsin. He led the team in scoring from the blueline in 2010-11 and came in second in the most recent season. Jonathan Willis profiled Schultz in April and there seems little question that he is the best defensive prospect in college hockey as things stand.
BONUS – Jason Gregor recently interviewed Schultz’s coach Mike Eaves to get an inside perspective on the player.
Angus rates the Flames chances of landing the 21-year old as decent, albeit smaller than the Edmonton Oilers. Bad news Flames fans – if the Oil can pick Nail Yakupov and land Schultz this summer, they will have added two top-5 type talents in one fell swoop.
– Speaking of defensive prospects, Calgary has yet to sign former third rounder Joey Leach. A defender with the Kootenay Ice, Leach was selected in 2010. NHL teams have two years to sign junior prospects after they were picked, so the window to get Leach under contract is closing.
A big defensie style defender with admitted skating issues, Leach led the Ice in scoring from the back-end with 12 goals and 43 points this year. He won’t make his money with scoring as a pro, however, and in viewing the kid in the past it’s clear he would have to work on his speed and mobility to make it at the next level.
That said, I’d be surprised if the Flames didn’t even bother to get him inked to an ELC. Leach has been a primary figure on Kootenay’s blueline since he was picked. The only other roadblock may be that Leach, like Schultz in Anaheim, just doesn’t want to sign with the org that picked him for whatever reason.
– Finally, newest Flame Roman Cervenka was recently awarded the KHL’s "Golden Helmet" which is like being selected to the league’s first all-star team. Other winners included Alexander Radulov, Kevin Dallman and Dmitry Kalinin.