CALGARY - Here they come.
Here come the rumours, blog bull and innuendo that so sadly surround the wayward, the struggling and the conflicted.
Seven games into the NHL season and the Calgary Flames are all of the above, prompting the rumour mill to pump out pulp fiction.
The latest laughable link to the Flames suggests perhaps Daniel Alfredsson would be the object of the teamís desires at some point down the road.
At a time when the Flames are finally ready to stop the aging process and start a retooling of sorts, acquiring olí Alfie and his deteriorating 38-year-old frame makes about as much sense as Matt Stajanís contract.
One thing that is very real is the Flames interest in holdout centre Kyle Turris. A source close to the situation confirms the Flames are one of six teams that have made ďsignificantĒ offers for the Phoenix Coyotes forward. Feaster refuses to comment, but it makes sense as the acquisition of the disgruntled Turris would address two of Calgaryís biggest needs: A centreman and youth.
Coyotes GM Don Maloney insists he has no plans to trade the 22-year-old Turris, who has made it clear he wants out of the desert.
Rene Bourque rumblings are so popular early on that betting site bodog.ca released odds Tuesday on whether heíll be traded. (It pays +145 if heís swapped, -190 if not)
His 30-goal potential is attracting attention in the media, as several GMs evidently believe they can somehow be the one to motivate the wildly inconsistent winger. Feaster needs to decide if Bourque is capable of reaching his potential or if the organization should cash in on the frustratingly talented winger via the trade market.
Yes, Feasterís cell phone needs constant recharging, as curious GMs around the league try picking his brain and picking through his roster.
During those calls, Feaster has to continually explain to the slower of GMs that Mark Giordano is not available and is, in fact, one of the few cornerstones of his franchise moving forward.
There arenít many others in Calgary who are untouchable, and if the clubís early woes continue well into November, thereís little question Feaster will start the overhaul early.
No, they would not be the type of renovations that would see Jarome Iginla jettisoned, although those ridiculous rumours and fruitless debates are bound to resurface soon. (Sigh.)
Weíre talking about Feaster starting early with his plans to try getting whatever value he can from any number of the 13 players whose contracts expire at seasonís end.
And every move would have to have an eye on the future, not just to shake things up for this year.
Last yearís second-half surge set the franchise back, as management couldnít possibly sell at the trade deadline.
If these early woes continue much longer, itís not likely Feaster and the Flames will sit idly by.
If so, the clubís slow start could be a blessing in disguise, turning short-term pain into long-term gain ó a concept this club hasnít embraced for over a decade.
Olli Jokinen wants to re-sign in Calgary ó something Feaster will have to make a decision on before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
Tim Jackman and Tom Kostopoulos are both unrestricted free agents at seasonís end and could draw minor interest.
David Moss is one of the clubís few building blocks, and every effort will be made to extend his US$1.3-million contract past this year. He will not be traded unless itís evident he simply wants out of Calgary ó a notion few could fathom.
You can bet the Flames will do anything they can to package up Stajan and his $3.5-million salary, but itís unlikely anyone on the teamís roster is attractive enough to warrant such charity.
Feaster spent the summer identifying his handful of core players heíd like to build around, and you can bet everyone else is expendable if and when itís determined this clubís playoff hopes have been dashed.
Granted, weíre a long way from that happening.
But with every early loss, the chances increase that Feaster will start his rebuild early.
Sadly, it also means the trade rumours will get worse.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBCís Hockey Night in Canada.