February 24, 2012
Flames GM backtracks on threat to shake up team
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
After a night's sleep, Jay Feaster took a step back.
"The crazy GM lost his mind on the basis of one bad period and the bad game against Edmonton," the Calgary Flames architect admitted Friday.
After the second period of his team's 4-3 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, Feaster was on the television broadcast and lambasted his troops for what he felt to be a sub-par effort coming on the heels of a 6-1 throttling at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers two nights earlier.
Feaster said another ugly performances, Saturday's clash with the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m., CBC), would result in a busy trade-deadline day on Monday, with veterans shown the door.
Feaster pulled back somewhat from that proclamation.
"It's not as though we're walking into that group and saying, 'It's do-or-die tonight. Lose tonight and you're all gone on Monday' but we all want to see what the response is," Feaster said. "It isn't just on the basis of what happened (Thursday) night. It isn't just on the basis of that (Edmonton) game. And it probably won't be on the basis of what happens Saturday."
However, if the Flames perform as poorly as they did against Edmonton, Feaster's hands may be forced to put the "for sale" sign on the lawn.
"The guys in the room have heard the discussion ... so if the message is received and the answer is, 'We're Tuesday night's team' maybe that's answer given," he said.
That said, it's refreshing to see such emotion from the Flames GM. It would be nice to see as much from the players.
To their credit, those same players rebounded from that 9-0 beatdown in Boston in early January when they appeared destined to be also-rans went on a strong run to move into eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.
But, almost immediately after reaching that perch, the Flames fell back with a couple of listless performances.
Thus, Feaster's concern.
"We have not demonstrated as a group we're serious about bursting through and taking that next step, and that's why I got everybody excited," Feaster said of his outburst.
That said, the clock is ticking for any last-minute moves, and the Flames are in an uncertain position.
"I don't want to say we're buyers or sellers. We're looking at all of our options," Feaster said. "It's about improving our team both short-term and long-term. Right now, as I'm talking to other GMs, there are things we're talking about that wouldn't be just rentals. It wouldn't be guys coming in who are UFAs to the mix. It's guys with another year or so on the contract. If there are ways to do that, it's something we would look at.
"At the same time, if there are offers we feel are too good to pass up, and feel we have players in Abbotsford who are able to come in or guys we acquire are able to come in and help us be a playoff team, then -- with the exception of a handful of guys we're clearly not going to move -- we have to be willing to listen."
Plus, Feaster noted the club added to the roster last game with the return of left winger Curtis Glencross and defenceman Derek Smith, with forward David Moss due to return in early March.
Once again, Feaster re-iterated he has no intentions to deal Miikka Kiprusoff or Jarome Iginla.
"In terms of moving those two guys, it's a non-starter," he said. "If we were to trade 34 (Kiprusoff), is there a position lower than 30th? If we were to trade 34, we'd be sub-30, whatever that number is in a 30-team league."
For now, though, the goal is to be in the West's top eight, as high as possible.
"It shouldn't be about trying to be one of six teams racing for that eighth playoff spot. A win against Phoenix in regulation, if we close the deal, we're nipping at their heels and be trying to catch the team in seventh," he said. "I think every player on the team needs to look in the mirror and has to ask that question, 'Am I doing everything I can?' "
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