Domebeers caught wind of a piece by Eric Francis in which he tears off the curtain hiding some bizarre practices by Flames MGMT and ownership. While Domebeers tears into those practices here, spurring some great discussion and some good points from commenter "Rubbertrout", I thought I'd tackle it too, and add in what I think it means for the Flames in the offseason and going forward.
It seems like the Flames management manages to miss the mark going both ways. The article implies that the ownership is currently not letting Acting GM Jay Feaster do much of anything, if not outright telling him what to do (shades of OK Hockey?). On the other hand, there's the general assumption that they were 100% hands off with former GM Darryl Sutter, choosing to let him do as he wished. Clearly these are both awful ideas.
We'll go chronologically:
1. The Gloves
Off Nowhere Near Darryl Approach
At this point, you’re basically saying “Do what you want without regarding ramifications.” You’re giving him free reign. Darryl Sutter mostly likely barely answered to Ken King and most likely just informed him of what he was doing. There were no checks and balances. No AGM to say “What the hell man?” And thus you end up with Matt Stajan signed at $3.5M.
2. The OK Hockey Approach
Apparrently this follows Jay Feaster around like a starving dog. The ownership is heavily involved in hockey affairs, which becomes a problem since the ownership is not "hockey people". Jay Feaster isn't necessarily either, but then again, he theoretically understands how to listen to advice and so on.
Whether this means the ownership is telling the MGMT who to trade for, who to trade away, and so on, or they're simply telling them "Do nothing. At all.", they are preventing Jay Feaster from properly doing his job. And you can't have a team if you don't let the personnel do their jobs correctly.
No matter how you look at it, the revelations of Eric Francis' piece are bad. On the other hand, this does indicate one good thing going forward.
If this is the case, then Jay Feaster has not "all but been given the title of GM" as many assumed. Feaster clearly does not have the trust of King, Edwards, and the rest. Feaster is a placeholder until the offseason. Now what that means for the offseason is another issue entirely; it could be that there is someone already in line and ownership is simply waiting for the current season to end. It could also mean that they intend on doing a full hiring process in the offseason and letting Feaster run amok beforehand would scare away potential GMs.
Unfortunately, that's about the only good news. Ownership should not be entirely hands off nor entirely hands on. A light touch is what is needed. Ensuring the huge contracts offered by the GM are up to par (something that should've happened with Sutter) while not telling the GM to not sign anyone or who specifically to sign.
Let's hope the Flames ownership can find that middle ground once a full GM has been hired.
by Arik Knapp