Flames Wrap-Up 2013 Season: Hartley and Feaster Quotes



On Sunday and Monday, the Calgary Flames held court for the media in the final two formal days of media availability of the 2013 hockey season. Most notably, head coach Bob Hartley spoke last on Sunday, while general manager Jay Feaster held an availability earlier today.

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Here’s the gist of what those guys spoke about:


As per usual, Hartley was fairly candid and honest regarding how he felt the team did – particularly during the last few weeks of the season.

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– Feels that the club needs to add size and speed, but he’s aware it won’t be easy.

– Won’t need to change coaching philosophy with the departures of some veterans, but noted the need for patience as the younger players grow.

– No timeline for naming a new captain exists.

– Purposefully mixed in rookies and veterans over past two weeks to see how the youngsters learned and how well the veterans helped them learn.

– Excited that T.J. Brodie will get a chance to play at the World Championships and praised his development.

– Also cited Mikael Backlund’s progression this year as a good sign.

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– Cited lack of consistency as a problem, as every part of the team’s game weren’t working at the same time.

– Noted he feels the team has a good group of young players pushing for full-time jobs.

– “The draft is almost like buying a lottery ticket. We always think that you always get a winner, but at the same time, it takes time.”


Feaster also was honest about the club, not mincing words regarding where he felt the team fell short. However, he wasn’t all doom and gloom, either.

– Disappointed with the season. It’s unacceptable to miss playoffs for four straight seasons.

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– Bright spots: Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, T.J. Brodie, Jay Bouwmeester (which led to a good return when he was traded), Joey MacDonald

– Negatives: defensive zone play and goals against, quality of scoring chances against, “frustrating and maddening level of inconsistency from a veteran-laden group" (one of the juicer quotes of the afternoon).

– Thought team’s compete level was good most of the season, even when they got down in games.

– Hasn’t spoken with Kiprusoff, will give him time to think about things and then will have a sit-down with him. They’ve been preparing for a post-Kipper world by adding MacDonald, Reto Berra and Karri Ramo over the past few seasons.

– Mikael Backlund has been invited to join Team Sweden for the Worlds, may be able to do that pending a meeting with Flames doctors (editor update – fractured foot. No go). Reto Berra (Switzerland) will be playing at the Worlds. Confirmed earlier reports that Jiri Hudler (Czech Republic), T.J. Brodie (Canada) and Chris Butler (USA) will also be there.

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– Calgary and Abbotsford’s coaches, as well as the hockey ops department, will meet over the next few days to evaluate every player in the organization. After those meetings, Feaster and John Weisbrod will present a plan to team ownership. They won’t be discussing the plan in public.

– Amateur scouts will be meeting in two weeks to refine their list for the draft. Feaster reiterated that the draft is deep in their minds, but that there’s four elite players (and some very good players) at the top. They’re keeping their options open regarding moving picks at the draft, but noted that if they move their own first (the sixth overall pick, pre-lottery), it’d be in an attempt to move up.

– Development camp is July 10-16 at Winsport; Penticton rookie tournament is September 5-9.

– Team’s Needs: size and grit, centers, physical presence on blueline, accelerating “physical development of younger players.”

– Big reason behind bringing in young players down the stretch was to help their physical development over the summer.

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– Team will have discussions about amnesty buy-outs to help with a direction change, can’t rule out using it.

– Noted it’s hard to add size and grit in free agency, but cited that the team has resources (first round picks and cap space) that may help.

– Praised the preparedness level of the call-ups and the Abbotsford coaching staff. He noted that the organization isn’t physically big, so that’s a concern. Praised Roman Horak, Max Reinhart, Sven Baertschi, among others, for how they played down the stretch. Noted the team had hoped to get a longer look at Paul Byron, but he got hurt.

– Have had internal conversations about a goaltending plan. Noted he feels Joni Ortio is ready to be a to number-one goalie in the AHL.

– Praised the teaching ability and preparation level of the new coaching staff, but noted that there was very little practice time and the challenges of a shortened training camp and a truncated season.

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– Noted that losses may be the result of dressing more young players, but that the expectation has to be that everybody’s trying to win every game. (In other words, the Flames aren’t being told that they should make the playoffs, but that the expectation is that they’re always trying to win each game and trying to make the playoffs.)

– Shared that Stajan attributed his turn-around to the coaching staff having confidence in him, so he had confidence in himself. Noted that Stajan came into camp in great shape, despite having a busy work stoppage due to his role in the NHLPA.

– Also praised Backlund for putting in the work with the coaching staff throughout this season.

– Doesn’t think re-signing Brodie will be an issue. Team believes there are special things ahead for Brodie and that this was his break-out season.

That’s the good folks. Discuss.

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  • Captain Ron

    This trading up talk is crazy talk…. I mean I’d love it too, but I’d also like it to be plus 30 on the weekend so I can hit the beach.

    Just think about how painful this season was. Now think of another team going through that same pain, and then trading away the only good thing that came from it. For Stepniak? BAHAHAH. Or for late 1st round picks that are essentially 2nd picks that are essentially spins on the roulette wheel.

    Now if Edmonton was in the top 4 MAYBE they would consider trading down because they already have too many young prospects and need NHL ready players. Hoping any team above us trades down is just crazy talk. We simply do not have the assets to get it done…

    Unless you want to trade Backlund or Baertschi, which defeats the purpose.

    Sucks, but those wins down the stretch really screwed us. in a way in could be a blessing because mgmt will take a deep breath and not try to blow the future and make the playoffs next year. This team needs at least 1 more year wandering in the desert and grabbing another top 5 pick.

    • BurningSensation

      Agreed! We need a number 1 center and although Barkov and McKinnon will not be available Lindholm will be I hope. He is very capable and I have been a fan of his since watching the world juniors. Monahan I’m not too sure about his skating looks a bit choppy to me but that’s just my opinion. Lindholms ceiling is higher and I can see him being a Forsberg at best and a Kreci at worst

      • T&A4Flames

        I’m not so sure Barkov won’t be available at 6. There is always one top player that drops. Barkov is injured so he may be that guy. Jones, Drouin and Mac will go 1,2,3. CAR I think takes a D, either Nurse or Ristolainen. If NSH or one of the others take Nichushkin, boom, we have Barkov.

        • the forgotten man

          Carolina’s reluctance to take defenders in the first round is well documented. Ryan Murphy was incredibly out of character for them, and they traded the 8th overall last year. It’s probably a safe bet to assume the Hurricanes are going for a forward this year.

    • MC Hockey

      If that situation presents itself I’d do it. But I read today that MacTavish said he wants to trade down because they want NHL ready players not more prospects. I highly doubt they’d trade up.

  • MWflames

    Given what the feaster has been saying about team needs recently:

    Centre, bigger, harder to play against. Also, our management values hockey IQ arguable above anything else.

    Those qualities are pretty much summed up by Monahan. Also, he’s one the older players in the draft if i’m not mistaken, so that much closer to the nhl. We’re drafting in 6th which by all accounts is around where he should be drafted. IMO, this is exactly the guy they are targeting at the 6th position.

    Pre season rankings had Monahan going top 3 or 4 I beleive. I’m sure this point has been made, but if he had 1 or 2 offensively respectable linemates his point production might have been enough to keep him in that conversation.

    I’m not saying he is the right or wrong choice at 6 because my opinion doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Rather, this is who I believe the Flames are targeting of the players expected to be available at 6.

    • Truculence

      One can only hope. He`s not the sexy pick at that spot (that would be Lindholm), but I believe the best pick for us. Quite frankly, we won`t know for a few years who is the better player of the two, and I can`t help but smile when I see arm-chair GMs become arm-chair scouts and start ordaining which player is better right now.

      I, for one, will wholeheartedly accept whomever the scouting dept. selects at that number, as they have had far, far more personal viewings of these players than any of us have, and are employed precisely because they are better able to project talent. And quite frankly, I think one would have to be pretty inept to screw up a No.6 pick in what is supposedly a deep draft.

  • Just watched Nichushkin’s WJC hilights. That dude is a bull on the ice.

    With the obvious “Russian Factor” aside, I think if available at 6, Feaster should give some serious thought before grabbing one of the other C’s available.

  • the forgotten man

    I think if in some way Feaster can get tampa’s pick without giving up our 6th he should do it no matter what. We could take a safe pick with Drouin or barkov there, and then take a flyer on Nichuskin at 6. It sounds like a good strategy, all Wdwards has to do is cough up some money. I don’t think Yzerman is under the opinion that Lecavalier is that bad though, which he isn’t. I could see Lecavalier and a first coming to us in exchange for Stajan, STL’s first rounder and a later pick.

    • T&A4Flames

      The problem isn’t that Vinny is a bad player, he certainly isn’t what he was prior to signing the contract, but he’s not bad. The problem isn’t even so much the cap hit (which is bad). The real problem is the term remaining on the contract. 7 more years at $7.727mil cap hit is loooooooong. If we had to give up a 1st in that deal, it would be the lowest pick we have.

  • everton fc

    Feaster – “Team’s Needs: size and grit, centers, physical presence on blueline, accelerating “physical development of younger players.”

    He doesn’t draft size and grit. One can argue Seiloff has grit. Not sure if Wotherspoon does.

    He ripped the defence. Is Gio part of the problem back there?

    A couple of long shot draft pick “hopes” (I think all are draft eligible). Note I’m looking at size/grit, for the most pary, though not all fit that bill. And I really like Roy and Verrier. These are guys who may be around for a while. But I feel we’ll draft more “U.S.”

    Eric Roy – Defence/Brandon
    Jerome Verrier – RW/Drummondville
    Adam Chapman – Centre/Gatineau
    Austin Carroll – RW/Victoria
    Max Domi – Centre/London
    Kerby Rychel – LW/Windsor
    Darnell Nurse – Defence/Sault Ste. Marie (Not sure he’s draft eligible)
    Connor Crisp – Centre/Erie
    Tyler Yaworski – Defence/Brandon
    Keegan Kanzig – Defence/Victoria (Not sure he’s draft eligible)

    • supra steve

      “Darnell Nurse – Defence/Sault Ste. Marie (Not sure he’s draft eligible)”

      seriously? You don’t pay a lot of attention to draft coverage, do you? He’s ranked in the top 10 in pretty much every draftboard everywhere.

  • Truculence

    At least we’re in good company at 6th overall, in previous years, players that have gone at 6 are : Hampus Lindholm, Mika Zibanejad, Brett Connelly, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, then Filatov, Gagner, Brassard, Brule. So I guess the hope is for a solid top 6 guy. Which should be possible.

  • the forgotten man

    Is Feaster trying to inflate Matty Franchise’s stock…5 goals in 43 games?? Wow, if that is considered a huge improvement and something for Matty to be proud of then this Club is truly in trouble…what a joke. Funny thing is he played a ton of top quality minutes this year and his goal output was essentially indistinguishable from his entire tenure with the Flames. McGratten would have scored more than 5 goals with Franchise’s playing time.
    PS…don’t care about his 18 assists…forwards are compensated for goals.

    • Avalain

      Yeah, seriously. It’s really all about goals. That’s why it’s really questionable if Sidney Crosby is worth 8.7 million when he only scored 15 goals in 36 games! Man, for such a so-called “elite” player, you’d think he could score at better than 42nd in the league for goals. Malkin was even worse with only 9 goals! And even though St. Louis was the scoring leader, 17 goals is still rather average at 28th in the league, especially since he played all 48 games. You must be really happy that Calgary gave that guy away.

      • This is a flawed argument.

        All of the guys you listed had a BUTTLOAD of assists.

        Stajan had 23 points in 43 games. While it is an upgrade from his previous year of CRAP, it still isn’t great – he may be an improved player, but he’s not a rookie, so who cares.

        • Thing is, although 18 assists won’t normally be considered a ‘BUTTLOAD’ of assists in a normal one, n this shortened season it arguably could be.

          Not saying he had a great season but anyway, it was at least a good bounce back for him and a solid season no matter how you wanna spin it.

        • Subway

          So, in other words, if anything, your argument is flawed. Since this season was cut in half, 18 assists THIS YEAR could be considered decent buttload of assists.

          • Subway

            I said it was a decent buttload of assists for 43 games played and he had a SOLID season and a good bounceback from his last 2 years, that’s it.

            Never said it was amazing. Way to misquote me!

            And since when has Stajan had the same quality of talent as Malkin or St. Louis??

            Like I said, solid season for Stajan. Nothing more than that. Case closed.

          • He’s not the same quality of talent – which is why your initial argument, using St Louis, Crosby, Malkin was confusing.

            Moot point now.

            Stajan’s 18 is a bounce back from total garbage, but still, garbage.

            He doesn’t crack the top 6 on 90% of the teams in this league, and isn’t worth his salary.

  • TheRealPoc

    “(Our scouts) believe there are four elite franchise players, and a lot of very, very good players. But in terms of that top level? There’s a belief that it’s four deep. We’ll have more conversations about that in the next couple of weeks.”

    – Jay Feaster, April 29th, Calgary Herald

    Perhaps that’s simply common knowledge, but why on Earth would our hockey ops department think it’s a good idea to state this publicly and adamantly if we’re trying to move up?

    I’m beyond fed up with this FO repeatedly sticking their feet in their mouths.

    • TheRealPoc

      It’s to give us fans an idea of how their draft board looks. Honestly it’s not a big deal I’m glad he said that because if he realizes he wants a franchise piece he can move up and get it. Just because Feaster said this , in no way does it matter to other teams. Even I know the top 4 are elite then there’s a drop, and I’m not a scout so quit hating on Feaster. Why would anyone trust what the Flames say about the draft anyways?

      • TheRealPoc

        “If he realizes he wants a franchise piece, he can move up and get it.”

        Jay: Hey, [GM of team in the top 4], our scouting staff thinks if you stay in that position, you’re definitely drafting a franchise player that won’t be available for us at 6th overall. So…um, wanna discuss a trade?

        Yeah, things just got a whole lot easier on that front.

        • seve927

          I can’t believe it makes even the slightest difference. Those top 4 will be in demand, if there’s any indication that one of them might be available, and the market will set the price.

    • supra steve

      Guess it might be an issue, if you know who his top four are. I won’t be surprised if Feaster gets one of his top four at his current draft position (6th). You know he’s gonna tell you he did, that’s a given.

      There is never complete agreement on any selection–be it 1st, 4th, or 24th. The Hockey News has a different top four then is generally agreed upon on this site. Just between you and me, I say THN has better info on these prospects than anyone on this site. Even then, they will be wrong a large percentage of the time. No guarantees when picking 18yr old hockey players.

    • Aside from Brodie, Backlund, Glencross, Giordano, Sven & our higher end prospects playing in the minors, I’d give them whatever they want for that pick.

      Imagine if we could get one of Lindholm/Monahan AND Nichushkin!?

      • icedawg_42

        my thoughs exactly – but I’d include Glencross or even Gio in there. My only “untouchables” are Sven, Backs and Brodie.

        And most people on this board know how much I’d be loathe to see Glencross go anywhere…

      • piscera.infada

        I’m worried about Nischukin, but I think that if we make our pick at 6, and Nischukin falls past 7, and we have an opportunity to move up, I would be all over that!

        • Parallex

          If Nischukin falls then I would assume that he didn’t do well in his interviews at the combine. I don’t think many folk pass on a size/talent combo like that if there wasn’t a major red flag flying.

  • Michael

    – Team’s Needs: size and grit, centers, physical presence on blueline, accelerating “physical development of younger players.”

    Feasters team needs are basically the complete opposite of what he ‘actually’ did last season.

    • loudogYYC

      Calgary has historically done terribly with Russian players and Nicushkin is on a pro KHL contract with 2 years remaining. That’s too much of a gamble for a team that needs a sure thing.

      My hope is that Carolina goes after him now that they can dangle Semen as a linemate/friend on the team.

      I also disagree with the highest ceiling. MacKinnon to me has the highest ceiling and he’s one of the youngest players in the draft along with Barkov. After watching MacKinnon in the WJC tryouts at Winsport, I thought he was a mix of Mike Modano and Taylor Hall.