Is Jay Feaster Chasing His Tail?

If it doesn't make its way into my twitter feed. I generally don't see it. Which is why I rarely see anything from Mark Spector. But, it just so happens that Spector's article on sportsnet.ca found its way before me and when I read the headline - "Getting it Wrong in Calgary" - I had to check out his take.

Now - Spector makes a lot of good points in his article. These thoughts are, for the most part, shared by the team of writer's here at Matchsticks and Gasoline. Unfortunately for Spec, he does miss the point, much like Adam Proteau, Eric Francis and others who've taken their chance at playing pocket GM and addressing the Flames current situation.

The mandate is to make the playoffs. End of story.

NOTE: I feel the need to specifiy that despite my actions in this piece that say otherwise, I'm not a Feaster supporter.

So, when Spector writes,

Is there a fan in Calgary who can look in the mirror today, even after clearly getting the best player in their deal with the Montreal Canadiens, and say the Flames have a prayer of beating the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-game series in Round 1 of the playoffs?

First of all - really? You're lecturing the fans on the move? That's just laughable. And, secondly - Flames management has made it clear that 8th spot is good enough for them. It's strictly a matter of making the playoffs and getting those extra playoff dates (ie. the extra $1 million in revenue that comes with every home date). It's not about the Flames having a prayer of beating the Canucks in a 7-game series, its about the almighty $. But, besides that - would anyone have given the Oilers a prayer of beating the Red Wings in 2006 in a playoff series? Just a thought. I'm not even sure the Flames could beat the Canucks once, let alone 4 times in 7... but, you won't know unless you get there.

From that quote - Spector goes on to include some general inaccuracies to further prove his point. Which works well if your facts are correct. When they're not - it makes you look like a kid trying to win an argument on the playground by pulling out all stops.

Feaster is officially caught up in the vortex of selling off tomorrow for today. Caught up in the futility of shooting for the Brad Richards' of the world, and when that doesn't work signing Alex Tanguay to a ridiculous five-year deal that pays him through age 36.

Um, you're just finding out NOW that Feaster is "caught up in the vortex of selling off tomorrow for today."? Very impressive.

Also, this quote is factually wrong. I've been on the record saying I was not on board whatsoever with the wild goose chase the attempt at Brad Richards was. However, Alex Tanguay was signed BEFORE that attempt. He and Curtis Glencross both. And, yes, the term of the contract isn't great - but the cap-hit is more than manageable for the team and he's a perfectly tradeable asset. This contract is hardly ridiculous - but it's also very easy to write when Tanguay is sitting on the LTIR and not producing for the club. Had he been on the fast-track for 70 points, like last year, we wouldn't be seeing these bold claims out of Mr. Spector.

We know: There are some contracts up after this season. Some cap room will open up. That means Feaster can build a winner through free agency, that all-or-nothing process where you get to sign over-priced, long-term deals with older players. Like the one Tanguay got.

The final nail in the coffin. Where Spec tries to make one more dig to polish off his turd of a rant. This quote implies, again, that Tanguay was signed in the UFA period, which of course, is not true. And, sure, the Flames will have some holes to fill but it's hardly a Florida Panthers situation of handing out cash to whomever will take it. And, arguably, it's worked for the Panthers so far.

It's very easy to point fingers and assume a team's direction - but, the reality is that there are any number of ways to re-stock your club. Signing UFAs is just one of them.

Finally, I just don't like Spector's idea with the article; attempting to kick a franchise while it's down - and not a moment sooner, because then it's not totally hit-you-over-the-head obvious, which is what it seems to take for the majority of the MSM to take a shot at someone... anyone.

The Michael Cammalleri acquisition can help the Flames, not only this year, but in seasons to come. And, the extra cash brought on will be lost in the millions of dollars of dead weight this team is currently carrying.

Suh-wing and a miss, Spec. But, don't worry, I'm sure Feaster will lob an even bigger meatball your way before the end of his tenure with the club.

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