February 24, 2012
Flames GM's trade suggestions hollow threatsFeaster's hints he'll be making changes to floundering team fall flat
By ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The emotion in Jay Feaster’s voice was genuine.
In the midst of the Calgary Flames’ second consecutive lackluster effort, the club’s GM was clearly a frustrated man.
However, it’s highly questionable his sentiments were genuine.
Asked in the second intermission of a game in which his Flames had just squandered a 2-0 lead, Feaster suggested on air to Sportsnet’s Roger Millions that unless his club shows the type of urgency required at this time of year, Monday’s trade deadline will be a busy day for the club.
Simply put, he suggested anything less than a solid third period and a meaningful effort Saturday against Philadelphia would result in significant changes to the club.
Not Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff-type changes, but changes nonetheless.
I call bull.
The Flames have simply come too far and shown a tremendous resiliency against all odds for the GM to wrangle with a roster that just got significant help from returning players like Curtis Glencross and Derek Smith. David Moss will also be back soon.
Last year, Feaster reasoned he had to reward the club’s second-half surge by allowing the club to finish out a string that inevitably saw them fall short of the playoffs.He resisted the urge to sell off spare parts with an eye on the future and gambled on an eighth-place finish that never came to pass.
As he said last night in the midst of his rant, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Tough talk, clearly aimed at trying to light a fire under a team that suddenly appeared to go limp in consecutive outings following a month of admirable grit with a handful of minor-league scrubs on board. Someone forgot to tell Feaster the players don’t watch the intermissions.
Full marks to Feaster for being candid, but his threats were hollow, not just because the appetite to effect major change at this time of the year is near impossible given his salary cap restraints, but also because the list of tradable Flames he’d be willing to part with would land very little in a trade market devoid of impact players.
No, Rick Nash is not on their radar. Mere talk of doing anything drastic while tied with two teams for eighth place speaks to just how intense and emotional things will be at the Dome for the last 21 games. Feaster said he needs more from his veterans, and considering how many inexperienced youngsters pepper his battered and bruised lineup, he’s right.
In the end, he got a sliver of what he wanted — a bounce-back effort from the lads courtesy of an Olli Jokinen goal late in the evening to salvage one point.
However, the 4-3 shootout loss to the Coyotes likely returned him to his sour mood. Now, he’s in a position where a loss to the league’s highest-scoring squad tomorrow puts pressure on him to make good on his trade threats. If only his players brought the emotion he did to the rink last night, such threats wouldn’t have been uttered.
Make no mistake, the Flames gave away last night’s game. The Coyotes’ second goal came courtesy of Blake Comeau’s attempted clearing pass across the middle of his own zone that peewee players don’t make.
That alone likely incensed Feaster mere minutes before he hit the air on what was likely expected to be a relatively harmless chat.
Feaster said he will address the media for the last time Friday before the trade deadline, and it will be interesting to see if he backs down on his threats or reiterates his plans to liquidate should the Flames lose their next game.
It says here, win or lose, the Flames stand pat, give or take a third or fourth-line winger.
Over to you, Jay.