Flames fans speak out

Head coach Mike Keenan failed to lead the Flames past the first round of the NHL playoffs. (Sun...

Head coach Mike Keenan failed to lead the Flames past the first round of the NHL playoffs. (Sun Media/Darren Makowichuk)

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:39 PM ET

The people have spoken -- and they're not happy.

Fire Mike Keenan.

Fire the entire coaching staff, in fact.

They want heads to roll after a fourth consecutive first-round playoff disappointment.

Those people are the 2,500-plus Calgary Sun readers who voiced their opinion by taking part in the You Be The Boss survey posted for the better part of a week both in the paper and online calgarysun.com.

Asked if this team needs a major overhaul, more than 1,500 voters said 'yes.'

Based on the survey results, that shakeup should begin just under the GM on the totem pole and end with former Norris Trophy finallist Dion Phaneuf.

In Sutter they still trust, apparently, after he assembled a team that in January was walking away with the NHL's Northwest Division title.

It would be interesting to see a follow-up vote if the GM doesn't do what they hope and expect and rid the team of Keenan before next fall.

Three-quarters of the participants suggest Keenan goes and takes associate coach Jim Playfair and assistants Rich Preston and Rob Cookson with him.

Only goaltending guru David Marcoux was spared -- but not by much.

Some want them gone because of the team's horrid powerplay.

Others point to the way the Flames choked away the division lead over the last couple of months.

There are also those who believe the Flames struggle to stay mentally stable with their current coaches leading the way.

One thing's for sure: Flames fans want to see someone new in charge.

They also want to see what Sutter could fetch in a deal for the much-maligned Phaneuf.

The 24-year-old defenceman, once viewed as the hottest commodity in Calgary, has seen his stock plummet thanks to an injury-plagued season that had fans frustrated with him from start to finish.

Finishing the regular-season with a minus-11 rating, Phaneuf admitted for a final time during his exit availability that he wasn't happy with his year a season removed from standing in the final three up for NHL defenceman-of-the-year honours.

Apparently, so are many fans who considered him the future of the Flames blueline.

However, there is some hedging where Phaneuf is involved.

A slight majority of those presented with the option to keep him, trade him or give him a raise chose to keep him around.

When it came to a specific question: "Should the Flames try to trade underperforming Dion Phaneuf and his massive salary?" there were only 20 more 'yes' votes than 'no.'

Phaneuf, though, wasn't the only player to get the boot from the thousands putting themselves in Sutter's shoes.

Pending unrestricted free agents Todd Bertuzzi and Adrian Aucoin wouldn't be back.

Neither would backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney -- who won his first NHL contest in the final regular-season game -- or injured players Wayne Primeau and Rhett Warrener.

Bertuzzi made just under $2 million in his first year with the Flames.

Scoring 15 goals and posting 44 points in 66 games, the 34-year-old winger was a defensive liability who angered some with a penchant for taking bad penalties in the playoffs.

Aucoin's $4-million mark is set to come off the books, but it would be interesting to see how many would like him back at a big discount.

Andre Roy had his teammates in stitches in the locker-room.

He didn't have fans laughing, apparently, as more than 1,400 suggested he be let go.

At the other end of the spectrum, Flames fans haven't lost faith in their captain.

Jarome Iginla was one of the many core players they want to see stick around.

Same goes for rearguards Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich, who also were among the top seven in terms of popularity.

No. 1 was winger Rene Bourque, who along with Eric Nystrom (at No. 2), David Moss (No. 3) and Curtis Glencross (No. 5) deserve raises.

First-time 20-goal-scorer Moss, who excelled in the playoffs, is getting his with an extension that will pay him $1.3 million a season for the next three years.

The sentiment among fans is obvious.

The Flames have the players necessary to make a serious run.

They just need the right crew of coaches to take them there.


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