Garbage Bag Day Blog and Open Thread



Sunday is the official end of the 2013 season for your Calgary Flames. Players undergo end-of-season medicals and meet with the coaching staff, then visit with the assembled local media before heading off to the off-season.

I’ll be down at the ‘Dome all day and will be updating this throughout the day with the aim of proving a glimpse behind the curtain of what’s traditionally a long, long day for hockey media. I hope it’s an interesting read.

And, heck, why not make a day out of it, right?

Feel free to ask questions and otherwise go about your business. Click past the jump for the updates

10:53am: Got a chance for a quick update in-between players. Most of the season, the media gathers in the Ed Whalen Media Lounge for everything. Today? We’re all at tables in the hallway outside of the Flames locker room.

So far we’ve heard from T.J. Brodie, Steve Begin and Mark Giordano. Giordano was asked about being a candidate for captain and, to be honest, he’s already speaking with the authority and tone of a team captain. Begin hopes he’ll be back in the NHL next year. Brodie’s off to Europe for the World Championships.

Fun fact: there’s a 76.8% chance the Flames draft 6th, a 17% chance they drop to 7th and a 6.2% chance they move up to 1st overall via the lottery. We’ll see what happens with that tomorrow.

Noon: After a bit of a wait, we had five players visit in fairly rapid-fire progression. Cory Sarich admitted some frustration with the season and him being in and out of the line-up. He noted "You want to be wanted." Tanguay admitted that distractions may have impacted his play down the stretch. Mike Cammalleri, Chris Butler and FN darling Mikael Backlund also stopped by.

Butler will be headed to the Worlds for Team USA, while Backlund mentioned he’ll head over if he gets the clearance from Calgary’s doctors.

12:57pm: Things have been a bit more spaced out over the last stretch, giving everyone a chance to catch up on transcribing interviews. Brian McGrattan noted that he’d love to be back, and joked that the Flames youngsters could use a bodyguard. Curtis Glencross hoped it’s the last season outside of the playoffs for awhile, He joked that he was surprised after he got injured against Anaheim that it was Backlund jumping in to fight. Matt Stajan just joined us and said he was happy with his season and his turnaround from last year, but disappointed that the team’s still not playing at this time of year.

Canada won the World Under-18 Championships today, beating the United States 3-2. Gotta believe that the Flames brass had some eyeballs on that tournament.

2:10pm: After a more spaced-out sequence of scrums, it’s been another fairly busy hour.

Joey MacDonald is (obviously) happy about his season, especially going from being the odd-man-out in Detroit due to his back injury to being a key guy in Calgary. Lee Stempniak discussed the potential for the team to rebound in 2013-14 with smart additions. Sven Baertschi expressed disappointment regarding his injury, as he was having a lot of fun and seemed to wish the season would continue for a bit longer.

Stempniak and Baertschi were both asked to join their countries at the World Championships, but had to decline due to family commitments and injury, respectively.

Coach Bob Hartley joined us a bit later, expressing disappointment with the year’s results and noting several positives. The play of the younger players – notably T.J. Brodie and Mikael Backlund – was mentioned as a bright spot.

2:32pm: Sounds like no Jay Feaster scrum until tomorrow. Hitmen game coming up at 4, so this will do for today.

  • redricardo

    This is an awesome thread Mr Pike! A lot of us are curious about where this team is going, and player comments, hints about who is or isn’t happy here are a huge cue for next year. Ie: A fan who really likes Tanguay and wants him to stick around for next year, and Tanguay flat out says “I was hoping to play with Jarome. I might be open for a trade…”

    Keep em coming!

  • Franko J

    Yes I agree that if we got a 2nd rounder for Tangs I would be great! I’ve always liked Alex until this year for one reason? He really doesn’t seem to want to be here anymore so it’s probably best that he gets moved. Lets just hope Feaster can get something decent in return because Tangs is still a decent player.

  • aloudoun

    Alex actually said that? Move him.
    If he doesn’t want to be part of this team then get rid of him. The Flames are the only team he has actually played well for, aside from the Avs. How did Tampa and Montreal work out for you Alex? Geez.
    Dont let the door hit you on the way out…

    • RexLibris

      They wouldn’t fire him now. This is now mostly his mess and Edwards seems to want to see if he can clean it up.

      With Nill now going to Dallas this makes me think that his potential replacement (as I do think Feaster will be replaced by this time next year) will be either Burke or perhaps even Nieuwendyk. I know Fenton’s name has been kicked around here before, but given ownership’s singlemindedness about winning now, a proven GM or past player seems more likely, in my opinion.

      • RexLibris

        What will determine if feaster keeps his job?

        There is no GM that could turn this ship around in a year and makes the playoffs. It will also be to early to see if the 2013 draft class was a hit or miss.

        • Stockley

          Unless Ken Holland or Bryan Murray become available the Flames might as well stay the course with Feaster at the helm. Is anyone out there who is infinitely better?

          • BurningSensation

            Well Justin, I guess haters will hate. You can point out all the crappy things he’s done & build a case to blow him out or you can take the good things he’s done & build a case to keep him & see what happens. Despite you having closed your mind off to anything other than the opinion you cling to & defend vehemently, consider one thing. Many decisions & moves were made upon the expectation of his superiors & that was to win the Cup around Iginla & Kipper. Had he been given the rebuild & make whatever moves you feel this franchise should do to move forward & improve mandate, you think there would have been no trades at last years TDL? The things & decisions you criticize revolved around the mandate of the President & Ownership. What many are trying to tell you is that this is the first time Feaster may have a clear slate & mandate to start making hockey decisions moving forward. I am not advocating Feaster or all his moves, I’m just saying not to close your mind off & judge the moves here going forward fairly. But in the long run, you can whine all you want, what will happen is going to happen anyway. Life is easier if you are even a little positive instead of being a downer debbie.

          • BurningSensation

            I can’t say as I’ve been all too impressed with Detroit since Lidstrom crested 35. They look to be only a year or two behind us in needing to blow it all up.

            (and a 1st for Quincey? Terrible)

        • “Wait until this offseason, see what Feaster does.”

          That’s what was said in May 2011, when he got promoted to permanent GM.

          “Oh, now he’ll have the offseason and a full season, we’ll see.”

          The same things got said in May 2012.

          Well, he’s been given two half seasons, a full season, and two offseasons, and this team is still in questionable shape. Feaster has made a lot of blunders (Modin, the Regehr trade, trying to trade for Ryan Smyth, ROR, Babchuk, Sarich, etc.). He’s lied to everyone, including his own bosses (by his admission). His full name isn’t even Jay, it’s Harris Jay.

          How much time do you give him? Hartley gets a pass, as he did a pretty good job with what he had and the Flames were at least somewhat exciting to watch.

          Remember when we were going to sign Jim Nill instead of Feaster? That was the scuttlebutt at the time. There’s a reason Nill wouldn’t come to Calgary. Feaster interviewed for both Florida and Minnesota’s GM positions and got turned down.

          His time is running out.

          • BurningSensation

            Clearly we disagree about the ‘blunders’ Feaster has made.

            – Modin. Agreed. He arrived, sucked, and got injured, and was never seen again. As sins go, adding a big body during a playoff drive isn’t a bad idea, it was the choice of Modin that was poor. That said, it wasn’t like we traded for Ryan Whitney, or signed Sheldon Souray.

            – Trying to trade for Ryan Smyth. A. I’m not sure how hard Feaster was really chasing him. B. See ‘adding a big body for the playoff drive’ comment above. C. We didn’t actually sign Ryan Smyth, so it’s hard to count something Feaster didn’t do as a mistake – since he didn’t actually do it.

            – Babchuk and Sarich. Agreed. Neither signing is defensible. However, neither signing cost us anything but money and roster spot, and Sarich has actually looked the part of #6 D-man on occasion. Again, as sins go, neither is a serious one.

            – The ROR offer sheet. I totally disagree with this one, since it ended up being a pure win for Feaster! Cost us nothing, drove the price up on a valuable player for a direct competitor, and squeezed their cap and operating budget. Whats not to like about this?

            – The Regehr trade. It may not go down as Feaster’s best move (which was hiring Weisbrod), but the Regher trade netted us both cap space, and Chris Butler. I’m still not sure that Butler is better than a #4 Dman, but his age, contract status, and all round play are all OK. Byron helped give the organization depth at the AHL, and cap space (especially getting rid of Kotalik who was totally dead weight) is always going to be important. Like I said, not an awesome deal, but hardly a failure. Add in that Regehr was uniformly terrible in his time in Buffalo and I think it works in Feaster’s favour.

            As for how much time do the Flames brass give him? I think in a lot of ways Feaster has at least one, if not two more seasons with the Flames where they can lose and accumulate talent. King isn’t one to gas his GM every other season, and continuity is important to the organization. If Feaster totally craps the bed at this ED, or if he signs someone like Nathan Horton to a huge mega-deal that obliterates free cap space only to have Horton get concussed – all bets are off.

          • Truculence

            if this were a math test, you’d be doing poorly. process is just as important as the results.

            Trying to trade for Ryan Smyth. A. I’m not sure how hard Feaster was really chasing him. B. See ‘adding a big body for the playoff drive’ comment above. C. We didn’t actually sign Ryan Smyth, so it’s hard to count something Feaster didn’t do as a mistake – since he didn’t actually do it.

            a. very hard, if reports were to be believed. b. doesn’t matter how big a guy is if he isn’t good at hockey. c. see above.

            The ROR offer sheet. I totally disagree with this one, since it ended up being a pure win for Feaster! Cost us nothing, drove the price up on a valuable player for a direct competitor, and squeezed their cap and operating budget. Whats not to like about this?

            and if that hadn’t happened, the flames would be without two picks and the player. he signed the player to an offer sheet on the basis of hubris. once again, the result is good, but the process reveals an amazing amount of possible error.

            The Regehr trade. It may not go down as Feaster’s best move (which was hiring Weisbrod), but the Regher trade netted us both cap space, and Chris Butler. I’m still not sure that Butler is better than a #4 Dman, but his age, contract status, and all round play are all OK. Byron helped give the organization depth at the AHL, and cap space (especially getting rid of Kotalik who was totally dead weight) is always going to be important. Like I said, not an awesome deal, but hardly a failure. Add in that Regehr was uniformly terrible in his time in Buffalo and I think it works in Feaster’s favour.

            would you rather have 2 2nd rounders or butler and byron? butler is worse than replacement level and guys like byron are available for 100k, not an asset. for as uniformly terrible as reggie was in buf, he got traded for a bigger return than the flames got. that’s a huge negative on feaster.

            if I owned the team, he would’ve been gone prior to the iginla trade.

            feaster is not a good gm, or, put another way: feaster has no idea how to manage assets effectively.

          • BurningSensation

            Good thing it’s not a math test, or any calculator could ace it.

            RE: Ryan Smyth. The key thing to remember is WE DIDN’T SIGN HIM. It’s not a mistake to kick the tires on trading for a vet winger down the stretch, and while Smyth would have provided little in the way of actual hockey it’s irrelevant because we didn’t get him. Blaming Feaster for taking a run at him is like praising Feaster for almost getting Brad Richards.

            RE: ROR, when evaluating the results of what Feaster did the end is positive. It was entirely foreseeable that Colorado might match the poison pill contract on offer, and that is what happened. Was it foreseeable that if Feaster had succeeded ROR would have been placed on waivers? No. Nobody had the slightest clue (certainly not armchair GMs hanging out at FN). Further, it is entirely possible that the Flames would have won any dispute on the matter.

            You might have argued that ROR was the wrong guy to target (I would disagree), and that the cost of the three picks was too high. Keep in mind we pick 7th and that the guy on most people’s lists at that point is Sean Monahan – a player who if everything goes right will end up looking like ROR in 4 years time.

            You can call it ‘Hubris’, I call it making a choice that benefited the team. I’m sure it just pisses people off that it didn’t blow up in his face, but the fact is it didn’t.

            Re: Regehr. I think the Kings made a HUGE mistake offering up 2 2nd round picks for Regehr, but I have been willing to concede that while it wasn’t a terrific trade, moving him out was both not a mistake, and ultimately a positive based on the return.

          • seve927

            I believe Azevedo’s argument is that the end does not justify the means. In other words, we have been fortunate (so far) that Feaster has been rescued from his incompetence by being even more incompetent.

          • BurningSensation

            In my mind Feaster has already done the one thing that was absolutely necessary for the team’s success; rebuild the talent aquisition pipeline.

            Sutter had essentially gutted the Flames farm, dealing picks away like for guys like Ollie Jokinen, or drafting Kris Chucko when he bothered to keep them.

            Alll long term success for the team hinged on reversing Sutter’s scorched earth mentality, and Feaster recognized this. He; modernized the scouting department, added a draf/talent guru in Weisbrod, and was judicious in picking up picks in deals so that we had a surplus of bullets each year.

            People crap on Feaster for getting Hanowski and Agostino in the Iginla deal, but those guys both slotted ahead of Michael Ferland in terms of our prospect depth chart.

            Where I think people are most critical of Feaster is not that the deals he’s made have been terrible, but rather that none of them have been obvious home-runs. He didn’t fleece the Pens for Iggy, he didn’t gouge the Blues for JBo, he hasn’t found a #1 C on the waiver wire, etc. What I think fans want most is for Feaster to crush one out of the park.

            But for Feaster to hit a towering shot, he first has to be allowed to swing away at pitches. Taking a shot at signing a young RFA Center, going all out to sign a Brad Richards, etc. Tradng down to take Jankowski/Seiloff may end up going over the wall, or it may end up a foul ball – but I like that he’s hitting for the fences instead of bunting (*cough Tambellini *cough).

            Sooner or later some of these swings are going to connect. It might be Johnny G., or Sven, or Jank, or Nichushkin, or something else, but when it lands it will be a tape measure job.

            But if you prefer I hear Steve Tambellini is available.

          • seve927

            “But if you prefer I hear Steve Tambellini is available.”

            And that’s the other thing. Is there anyone out there who would do a better job than Feaster? Last season, the Flames had a full compliment of picks (7) for the first time in recent memory. Sutter never had a pick in each round (or, at least, seven total picks). This year, we have nine (so far).

            I would hope the organization does a full turn, though. Top to bottom. Look at Columbus. They were once the most laughable organization in the league (by far) but accidentally made a good decision by hiring John Davidson. The first thing he did (after a few months of nothing)? Fire Scott Howson (who was, hilariously, hired by the Oilers basically on the spot). That Kekalainen guy seems to be pretty competent.

            I’m not a Feaster apologist (though I have been). I’m not really in the fire Feaster club, either. Not without another, better, GM lined up.

          • BurningSensation

            I’m pretty much in the same boat, including mega-love for John Davidson.

            Howson for all his faults, wasn’t a complete incompetent though. He did manage to pry Nikitin out of St Louis for Kris Russell, and the return he got in the Nash deal is paying almost instant dividends, even if it lacks star quality.

            To me the Howson signing was a way for Lowe to have his next GM in place for when he gasses MacT.

          • seve927

            I think you’re pretty close on these. Especially final point. The Kings have gone from an incredible possession team (~57.6%) without Regehr, to a slightly above average one with him (~52.2%). And they gave up two seconds. Good GM’s make bad moves, and here’s one from a guy that’s won a Stanley Cup.

            Worst part for us is that move probably makes the St. Louis pick a little worse.

          • seve927

            The problem is one of risk management. You don’t make these kinds of moves without knowing what the downsides are.

            OTOH, Feaster’s boss is Edwards, and CNRL has a pitiful safety record, so I guess I can see where Feaster’s actions could be construed as owner condoned.

          • seve927

            As fans we don’t really have any insight into that. It may have been a big risk, it may not have. All we know is nothing was lost, and Ryan O’Reilly is an RFA next year at a price the Avalanche typically have not wanted to pay, the Flames will likely have a great deal of cap room, possibly extra draft picks, and O’Reilly has already signed with us once.

          • seve927

            There’s a contingent of fans that firmly believe that Feaster’s a puppet. Take it up with them.

            I take Feaster’s and King’s comments at face value. Therefore, their incompetence is their own.

          • T&A4Flames

            There were no “other insights” regarding the ROR deal. What, do you think Jebus was going to come down and plunk RoR on top of Feaster’s lap if the NHL said no? And remember that guy WHO WORKS AT THE NHL who said that the Flames would lose RoR? What the hell was he? Chopped liver?

            Nope. Feaster failed. And I hate to state the obvious, but no one offers an offer sheet unless they expect to actually get the damned player. So that “strategy” of “hurting Colorado” was impotent at best.

            Feaster is incompetent. And a liar. The team has gotten progressively worse since he’s come here. Maybe we don’t get the first pick this year but if you thought this year’s team was bad, wait till you see what next year brings.

          • BurningSensation

            There were two potential positive results from signing ROR;

            – Colorado doesn’t match and we get ROR

            – Colorado matches and crimps their cap-space and budget moving forward, and it costs us nothing.

            It wasn’t until well after the Flames made the offer that any hint of a problem existed in doing so.

            The NHL might have tried to hang the deal on a technicality (the # of games that ROR played in the KHL during the lockout and when they occurred), or – more likely IMO, they would have allowed the signing without waivers and found some other way to ‘fine’ them for the problem. .

            After Edwards was such a strong supporter of Bettman during the lockout there is no way that Gary f*cks him over some meaningless ice-time an RFA had that nobody (not his GM or agent, not the media, nobody) knew would be an issue.

            Feaster signed ROR to a poison pill deal and the most likely thing happened – it was matched. So, yeah, that counts as a ‘win’.

          • loudogYYC

            Just a question, you think Feaster signed ROR just to screw Colorado’s cap situation? That poison pill deal you call it could have blown up in his face, in a real ugly way according to the NHL. I call that being wreckless, at the very least.

            I don’t think Feaster is the dumbest man in hockey, but I really, really hate that smug attitude and apparent need to show everyone he’s smarter than you (post-apex? wtf…). It reeks of American arrogance and that’s the last thing a team in trouble needs.

          • BurningSensation

            I honestly think that the worst case scenario in an offer sheet to an RFA is that you get the guy and he has to live up to his deal.

            Having the guy hit waivers because some obscure rule about lockout games is like getting hit by a meteor for all it was predictable.

            As for Feaster’s attitude, I admit I like it. I think a GM should have brass nuts and think he’s smarter than the next guy. It certainly beats the alternative (Tambellini – no guts, and knows everybody has the drop on him).

          • T&A4Flames

            Maybe the team has gotten progressively worse but there are no facts to support that anyone else would have done better.

            I’ll say this, though. Given the path we were on, I’d say a better measure may be where the Flames future is as to where it might have been if Sutter stuck around. I’ve liked Feaster’s drafts very much. Just about all of the players he and his team have drafted in the last 2 years have shown decent development in draft year + 1 and + 2. I’m really looking forward this draft and this summer.

            The other thing re: ROR, I won’t pin point who, but there were a lot of supporters for offer sheet path on him. You all got what you wanted, it didn’t pan out but it didn’t hurt us. So please all quit complaining about it.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        If Ken King were to fire Feaster next year, he’d likely be next soon after. They’ve got their man for the next few years, and an heir apparent in Wisebrod. RKD summed up my views of Feaster’s work well enough. In general, he has done a good job in finding potential prospects via the draft. Feaster has done a very good job in addressing the lack of depth the Flames had, by making the Heat relevant. He has failed badly in assessing defensive talents. This is illustrated in his signing Babchuck, and Sarrich for too much money and term.

        I’m actually looking forward to seeing what Feaster and company do during this off season. If I understand his strategy well enough, I expect the team to target more mid-20’s RFA and UFA’s that other teams cannot accommodate, thanks to the lower Cap next year. A lot of teams will really have to make some tough decisions that Calgary can take advantage of.

  • RKD

    Hurry up and trade Cory Sarich, this guy wants out bad. He signed for another year at $2 million. He’s not even going to be around after the Flames turn the corner. I think Gio or Glen X would make great captains. The only thing is this year when having more pressure in terms of playing top 2 minutes, Gio definitely struggled this season. Next season I think he will improve but to also be captain at the same time might be too much for him. Glen X is a hard working determined guy but can be pouty and whiny at times. I think it would be real cool if Jarome came back for a press conference and handed a jersey with a C to either Gio or GlenX but not take any questions because it’s all about the other guy.

    Did we really miss out on Nicholson, Yzerman, Davidson and now Nill or was there really anything substantial for them to come here? If it is a country club then why would anyone of them come to where they can’t spread their wings and have full control of hockey ops. It took Feaster years just to convince ownership it was time for them to trade Jarome.

  • Franko J

    “Canada won the World Under-18 Championships today, beating the United States 3-2. Gotta believe that the Flames brass had some eyeballs on that tournament.”

    From Canada

    I liked all 6 defenseman from Canada. I thought from Heatherington to Bigras as a group they played really well. I can see some of their stock rising in the rankings come the draft in June.

    From the forwards I liked Gauthier, Laplante and Bennett. If Calgary say selects Nurse and Gauthier is available he would be welcome addition to our line up. Comparison towards Hanzel in Phoenix.


    From the Defenseman:

    Santini and Vannelli stood out. Great skating and nice crisp passes out their zone.

    From the Fowards:

    McCarron. Wait until he develops into his body.

    John Hayden. If the Flames can grab him in a later round he would be a steal.

    Hudson Fashing. Another player who was making something happening when he was on the ice. Like Morin with Canada a player to watch in the future.

    Watch out for MacDavid for Canada and Jack Eichel from the USA. I say two players to watch come 2015 draft.

  • Willi P

    On a side note, a gritty team in the Hitmen come back from 2 goals down and win in overtime to take the highly skilled Oil Kings to a game 7 in their barn on Tuesday. Great hockey and excitement at the ‘dome tonight. Congrats to the boys.

    • Willi P

      Awesome, Chaser will be pumped. He predicted his kids team would take them. I hope they do. 1-0 in ot on the 50th shot with the Oil Kings goalie as 1st star.

  • T&A4Flames

    Re: the ROR fiasco, we should all get over that. Even our own Kent Wilson seemed to have missed that glich in offer sheeting him. No offense to Kent, we all know he is quite thorough in his research. And most of those GM’s that say they were aware of the clause and ROR’s issue’s (Gillis), I call BS! If that was the case then it would have gotten out a lot sooner what the deal was and the ROR camp would have been hooped.

  • T&A4Flames

    If I was the GM of the Flames this is what I would do this off season

    Assuming we pick 6th 20th and 25th these would be my selections…

    Lindholm, Zadorov, Compher

    I would also attempt to move Tanguay to any team willing to give up a 2nd rounder for him.

    Players I would re up this summer
    Cervenka 1 year
    Backlund 2 years
    Aliu 1 year
    McGratten 1 year
    Byron 1 year
    Banks 1 year
    Butler 2 years
    Brodie 3 years
    Cundari 2 years
    Ramo 2 years

    Players I would let go

    I wouldn’t be overly active on July 1st only persuing 2 roster players in Nathan Horton and Rob Scuderi

    Hopefully if all goes my way my opening day roster would look like this

    Glencross Backlund Cammalleri

    Baertschi Stajan Horton

    Hudler Lindholm Stempniak

    Cervenka Bouma Jackman

    Horak McGratten

    Giordano Brodie
    Wideman Butler
    Scuderi Cundari


    • BurningSensation

      Almost exactly the plan I would have with a couple of differences;

      – instead of Lindholm (who I love) I take Nichushkin

      – Along with Horton (who seems like the perfect FA for us), I’d target Filpulla. He comes from a winning org, can play multiple positions and would slot next to Hudler and Cervenka like a glove.

      – I’d sign Backlund to a much longer deal. His numbers don’t lie, the kid is good, let’s lock him up.

      • BurningSensation

        Yes Filpulla would be a great signing for us and the more I think about that potential line combo with Jiri and Roman it’s quite exciting!

        I’m just not sure if Backs and his agent would want to sign a long term contract just yet. He steadily improves every year o he could be in line for a big contract in 3 years

  • everton fc

    And I think Begin earned a re-up for one year. He’s an adequate 4th liner with most teams. Sort of like Scotty Nicol. I like Begin. Always have, when he’s healthy, playing an appropriate role.