“I think you will continue to see activity and transactions take place which in aggregate will be an improvement to the team.
“We’re not naive. We’re not saying we’re going to stand pat and see what happens. It is forever a work in progress — every team is.”
So far the Flames have been a disappointment. Part of the reason for that is the way they played during the last half of the year.
Fans, coaches and management believed that was a sign of things to come. They haven’t yet been able to recapture that magic.
“I think we were all teased a little bit from Dec. 28 onward. I think we maybe thought we were further advanced than we actually were,” admitted King. “Maybe we should have been smarter, maybe we should have been able to see that wasn’t quite as firm as we thought it was, but nevertheless, so be it.”
So while young guys like Paul Byron, T.J. Brodie and Roman Horak are getting their opportunities to help on the ice at the moment, more efforts are taking place all over the globe to re-stock the cupboards. They have eyes (Craig Conroy’s currently) in Europe. Feaster just returned from Kalamazoo. They’re putting an emphasis on scouting overseas and the college ranks.
“We got thinner than we should have when it came to prospects. There are two ways to fix that. One is though the draft, which takes time. The other is through hard work and some creativity,” King said. “There’s a vast amount of work going on on a parallel basis. And that doesn’t matter to a lot of people. But I think everybody understands it takes a while for a new philosophy, a new approach, a new plan, to do it. And when you’re doing it on the fly ... they are doing, in my view, a superb job of ensuring that our near future and our longer term future has a greater likelihood of success than not.
“Organizationally, we’re pretty happy about that.
“It sounds like a bunch of window dressing when you talk, so we don’t like to talk about that much.”
He talked at length Thursday, upon request.
And while some may not agree with him or the ownership group, they feel the broader picture of the club is promising. Of course, they all realize that big picture is always against the backdrop of the last game or last period played.
There haven’t been many great ones this year.
“That’s obvious to everyone, including the people that are on that team. That’s not part of the plan. That’s not part of the program,” said King. “It’s getting closer to a (tipping point).”
But King also mentioned the coach and GM are not giving up on that short-term mission of making the playoffs. The three of them had a long conversation on the visitors’ bench Thursday, with Sutter doing much of the talking.
Expect those three to remain in charge of this team as they give the plan presented when they put Feaster in control last December time to come to fruition. Continuity wasn’t always important in the organization’s eyes — four coaches have been employed since the lockout — but it is key at the moment.
“There are also times when you need to stay the course when all others maybe think differently,” said King. “In terms of organizational determination, to get this right, that’s kind of where we’re at.
“We will persevere and we’ll see where it gets to. All I want is for those people to have the kind of success they deserve given the hard work that they put into it, and the team. And the fans to enjoy the benefit of that.
“The sooner that happens, the better for everybody.”