The room falls silent as Ken King, Murray Edwards, Jay Feaster and a unknown man enter the room. Ken King approaches the podium and the press conference begins.
The Flames have now missed the playoffs for three seasons in a row despite being one of the highest spending teams in the NHL. Anticipation is thick in the air and some whispers occur among the press corps regarding the new mysterious man standing beside Murray Edwards.
Complete silence envelops the room as Ken King takes the podium.
Ken King: "This season has been a disappointing one for our organization. It represents our third straight year out of the playoffs. This is not acceptable and we view it as a failure. Ultimately the responsibility rests with me, I am today resigning as President of the Calgary Flames. It is clear that my personal relationship with Darryl Sutter (tears from King) blurred my ability to evaluate his decisions (sobs) and for that I must bear the responsibility for the state of the...
Edwards intervenes in what is becoming an awkward presentation.
Murray Edwards: "You're fired Ken. Get off the podium. Head over to McMahon Stadium, we'll let you be President there."
Ken King walks away sobbing and muttering to himself, "But Darryl was a great guy and I don't even know anything about Football."
Murray Edwards: "You didn't know anything about hockey either obviously. I am here to announce the new President of the Calgary Flames,
New President of Flames: "Thank you Murray.
My first act as President of the Calgary Flames is to offer an apology to our fans on behalf of the organization. Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Our goal is to put together a hockey team that is always moving in this direction. A team that will be among the upper echelon of the NHL consistently.
It is clear that we have failed to meet that goal. Hockey is a results based business and from the very top of this organization to the bottom we all have to face the results or lack of them. There are consequences.
You make the playoffs or you don't. You win a playoff round or you don't and the fact is the Calgary Flames, excluding the run of 2004, have not won a playoff round since they last won the Stanley Cup in 1989.
That is 23 years and that is simply unacceptable to us as an organization. Our fans deserve better, they deserve honesty from our organization about the state of the team.
We know tremendous support for the team is here. We know great hockey fans are here and we are grateful for that support. We have a responsibility to put a better team on the ice, one that gives better results. There are no excuses when an Ownership group invests as heavily as they do and the team still fails to make the playoffs.
As President I expect to oversee changes in this regard, result based changes but I am also here to ask for some patience from our fans. We know they are upset with the performance of the team and we hear those voices and we are embarking on change.
We want the Calgary Flames to be a team that is attractive to all NHL players to sign with, one that is a attractive destination for Free Agents and constantly competitive for the Stanley Cup. We are not wavering from this goal but we have work to do.
I know this will immediately provoke questions regarding the Flames going to a "Rebuild" and this is not how I see our process.
To me the word "Rebuild" means a total stripping down of a team and complete injection of new players. It implies the team will fall dramatically in the standings and finish in the bottom 5 for several years. We are not embarking on this path.
I do not believe any team in the NHL does so unless they are forced to.
The Calgary Flames are not at this point.
We may arrive at it in the future, we may not, but for the coming off-season and for the upcoming year we will be retooling in a direction to get stronger for the future and to continue to strive for the playoffs. Next season, we will do our usual post-season evaluation again and reevaluate.
Just as all NHL teams do, but at this stage and for this off-season we do not see a full rebuild as our only option.
So what is changing?
Going forward no player will be seen as off-limits in trade discussions. The Calgary Flames, like many teams in the NHL, will no longer have untouchable players. If the trade makes sense for the team and in some cases the player, it will be considered.
All players want to win the Stanley Cup and as much as we want them to win it here in Calgary, we have to be honest about the state of the team. If the path to the Cup for the team and player comes to a fork in the road, a parting of company is sometimes required for both to find their way to it.
This does NOT mean that players will necessarily be traded, the trade must make sense for our team, if it doesn't there is no reason to make the trade.
Jay Feaster will continue on as General Manager because his task has not changed.
The team is not going to full rebuild, it is continuing to strive for the playoffs. Even if moves in the coming off-season appear to be a step back, they will be with the intention of two steps forward in the near future.
I have discussed the state of the team extensively with Jay and his mandate continues. We want to build stronger without sacrificing our future. This is the normal mind set of the vast majority of NHL teams.
Overall I am satisfied with Jay's performance at this juncture. Not all the moves he has made have been ideal but the majority have been. I would like to let him take the podium at this point and announce another change in our organization going forward.
Jay Feaster: "Thank you Mr. President. My first order of business is to announce that Brent Sutter will not be coach of the Calgary Flames in the upcoming season. I have informed Brent of this prior to this press conference. We are considering several candidates at the moment but as of now do not have a replacement to name.
I've enjoyed working with Brent but as
I would like to address right away two players which I know you will be asking me about immediately. A preemptive strike if you will.
As most of you are aware Miikka's NMC expires on July 1, 2012 and as mentioned, we will be listening to trade offers on all players including him, going forward but these trades must make sense to the team. If they don't they won't happen, simple as that.
In my end of the year meeting with Miikka I discussed this extensively with him and he is well aware of the consequences of not making the playoffs and he is also aware that we do not consider his play this year in any way a part of the problem.
In fact his performance is masking the extent of the issues with the team.
Without his level of play last season we would be lower in the standings, this is indisputable. He is well aware of his contract details, he was well aware of them when he signed his contract. He like all players understand that this is a business and a result based business at that.
Moving Miikka is something we will consider very carefully before doing so because we know the consequences to the team next season.
Now onto Jarome
In my end of the year meeting with Jarome, he also understands the issues the organization faces at this crossroads. He understands that bottom line results are what matter in this business.
Jarome is a special player, he has spent his career here in Calgary and is the face of the franchise and Jarome wants to win a Stanley Cup, just as we all do.
His value to the organization is immense but Jarome is also aware of the cycle of life in the game.
He was never even drafted by the Calgary Flames, he was acquired in a trade for one of our elite players at the time, Joe Nieuwendyk - tough decisions have to be made.
I want to clearly state here to all Flames fans that Jarome and Miikka have NOT requested trades and even predating my time as GM the Calgary Flames, the organization has not considered moving them. As an organization the desire was to keep both of them until their retirement but that was all predicated with the assumption that our team would be a playoff team.
Despite spending to the Cap limit we have not been able to meet this goal.
The facts face us all today that this is the third straight season out of the playoffs.
The fundamental and over arching goal of the organization is winning the Stanley Cup. That will never change and if the composition of the team is not leading us even to the playoffs, changes have to be made and at this point everything is considered from the position of President of the organization to our franchise player.
Unlike Miikka, in Jarome's case he retains his NMC this season and will have to agree to the trade in question but as of now and going forward into the off-season we will be listening to other teams. We will only approach Jarome at the stage we feel we have a good trade in place and again due to Jarome's high value to our organization, if we are not seeing a sufficient return we will keep him for the season.
Jarome is a multi-faceted player who brings many elements to the team, we expect a significant return and if we are not hearing it, we will not trade him. Simple as that. There is no fire-sale going this off-season from my perspective. We are more than comfortable playing next season with Miikka and Jarome on the roster if we are not hearing significant offers.
In conclusion we are not blaming either of these players for the performance of the team this year or over the last three, it is ultimately a team issue. We have to be intellectually honest about the state of the team and the fact changes need to be considered and made for the betterment of the team if they are sound.
Changes from the very top to the very bottom of the organization.
I'll take your questions now...