Flip-flop Flames Still Don’t Trust Burke With The Wheel

Brian Burke Flames
Brian Burke has still not been given full control in Calgary. (Wikipedia Commons)

The writing was on the wall for Jay Feaster the minute Brian Burke arrived in town.

It was difficult to see how the two were going to work together despite Burke’s conciliatory statements when he arrived on September 5th. Sure enough, Feaster’s two-and-a-half year tenure came to an abrupt end Thursday as the Flames announced he had been relieved of his duties.

That’s a grand total of two months and one week that the Flames gave the dual-GM model a run out. The Flames needed a shake-up, no doubt about it, but one can only imagine the sheer volume of sweat that Feaster produced hearing Brian Burke on the phone in the office next door.

Goodness knows what the decision-making process was for the last two months. Maybe something like this:

Brian Burke: “Hi Jay, we’re going to do this. What do you think?”

Jay Feaster: “Um… I don’t know, Brian. I don’t think…”

Brian Burke: “We’re doing it. Thanks, Jay”.

He was a dead man walking from the moment Burke showed up. He was, effectively, damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. If the Flames had started winning games, you can bet it wouldn’t have been him who got the credit. In reality, they haven’t won games, or at least not enough, and the new guy won’t get the blame for that either.

But the to-ing and fro-ing hasn’t ended with the demise of Feaster. Burke isn’t the new GM, he’s the ‘interim GM’. As a club the Flames have been terribly indecisive in recent years and it clearly hasn’t ended quite yet. Burke is now tasked with finding a new GM. He could do with someone who stamps his authority on a club, makes confident, brave personnel decisions and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Wait a minute…

None of it makes sense. As the press conference Thursday, Burke said he didn’t want the GM job which is nonsense. We all know what Burke is like and the chance to prove he can still cut it as an NHL GM and rub it in the face of his former employers in Toronto (something he specifically said he’d love to do) would be an opportunity he’d relish. But clearly the Flames don’t trust him enough to get the job done and they want someone else with him, which hardly worked brilliantly the last time around.

All of it smacks of a team lacking identity both on the ice and in the front office. For Flames fans it’s uglier than Brian Burke’s new hairdo. You want stability in a hockey club? Stop flip-flopping around and have the balls to appoint one man for the job. Instability will kill you.

3 thoughts on “Flip-flop Flames Still Don’t Trust Burke With The Wheel”

  1. I see your point Curtis, though I’m not sure Calgary didn’t need a jolt of some kind – I entirely agree that hiring Burke as underminer-in-chief was a poor move, though.

    I think Burke has, to a certain extent, been found out. His bluster in Toronto belied a poor record and his relationship with Ron Wilson was unacceptably buddy-like. Whatever leadership you have it has to follow a clear structure of Coach, GM and Owner. Anything else muddies the waters.

  2. This is one of the few articles that actually says it like it is. During the press conference, all I could think was why are none of the reporters asking any real questions? As a Lawyer, Burke should know when he is making a hypocritical argument. The worst part is that none of the reporters picked up on it.

    Burke claims that Feaster did a good job getting the team out of cap jail and “hitting a home run” at last year’s draft. He then said that after his evaluations, he determined that Weisbrodt and Feaster were not the people to lead this team to a championship. “We need to start winning games”

    How is winning games 6 months into a rebuild going to help this team to a championship? If “we have to get those picks right,” doesn’t the probability of getting them right dramatically increase as you approach the top 5? Kane, Crosby, Toews, Malkin, Ovetchkin, Tavares…..

    Calgary doesn’t need Bulk: Bulk can be bought. Calgary needs elite skill and you have to grow it. If you trade for it, the odds are you lose. Say what you want about Feaster, but he knew that drafting was about asset value, not necessarily what you need at that given moment. Weisbrodt and Feaster turned the Heat into an AHL powerhouse, and restructured the entire farm system. For the first time in years, Calgary had prospects coming through the pipes.

    The fact of the matter is that Ownership and King didn’t have the stomachs for a rebuild. 6 months in, and they are getting cold feet. It is a sign of how out of touch they are with the fan base in Calgary. Read all the comments on TSN, THN, or Sportsnet. 80% of the fans hated the GM change and were quite happy with the way Calgary was playing. Go to any bar and ask a Flames fan what they are most excited about and they will tell you “Monahan” or “Baertschi” It is ridiculous to think that the Flames should be winning games with that Roster, or that the coaching staff needs to be replaced.

    For the first time in a long time this team looked like it had direction and potential. Ownership took that hope, and squandered it by appointing Burke as the dictator d’jour: Sutter 2.0. Is any new GM actually going to be the GM or just some lap dog?

    I like Burke… I do. But let’s be honest. He did not fix Toronto. Toronto had a first round exit, and will be lucky to have a chance at a playoff birth this year. He accelerated their rebuild, and if they fall short it will be on him. Just like, if in 5 years Calgary has to rebuild, it will be on Burke and Ownership for “rushing” a good thing.

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