Could there be actual change on the horizon for the Flames?
I know it's been a long time since I've written anything and I'm hoping to get back into more of a regular schedule as things start to move into more of a normal pace... but for now, I'm going to just tackle a few Flames-related things that have caught my attention of late.
- For starters, I know we're all eagerly awaiting a short-list of some sort or any indication of who may become the next Flames head coach; but, I'm here to tell you that it's pretty much redundant.
- I've long been a fan of John Davidson's work in the broadcast booth and was very jealous of the St. Louis Blues when they hired him on.
- Everyone's favorite feather-ruffler, DomeBeers, has been at it again with the local media and what stories they should be picking up and expanding on. I agree with him to a point - and, given some of the things I've written in the past, that point may surprise some.
I'll touch on all of those things after the jump.
OUR SAVIOR IN A SUIT AWAITS?
Brent Sutter had to go. Despite the Sutter pom-pom's being waved amongst Cowtown newspapers and radio shows, the fact remained that he never accomplished much of anything let alone the goal he was hired to achieve of "taking the team over the hump" - which seems laughable at this point.
Now, we've all turned our attention to who comes next. FlamesNation has been profiling some candidates and there's been a lot of talk about Troy Ward jumping up from Abbotsford to fill the post. Bob Hartley (blech) and Mike Sullivan's names have been brought up and I even spotted someone on Twitter suggesting they wouldn't mind Ron Wilson (which would send me into a rage-induced Flames rant the likes of which we've never seen).
Not a single one of those names excites me. Although, I'm not sure there even exists a name at all, at this point, that would excite me.
We all know the Flames have been heading in the wrong direction for quite some time with most feeling that would end this offseason. Except, I'm not falling for that notion and you shouldn't either. Jay Feaster preached that change was coming in his state of the franchise media address and just sentences later reiterated that playoffs remain the goal.
Yep, 8th place remains the mandate.
Nothing has changed; Feaster just has a little more money for Ken King to tell him what to spend it on. So, really, do you think a new coach is going to come in and turn around a franchise that will continue to build a mediocre team for said coach to play with?
I don't care if they hire Scotty Bowman circa 1972. Hell, they could've resigned Brent Sutter for another year and I would've been fine with that because until there exists the actual belief that wholesale change is needed throughout the organization, nothing will change - regardless of who's wearing the suit behind the bench.
A HOCKEY GUY FOR A HOCKEY JOB?
Now, there is one thing that could help. Hiring a new president for the club. That's why the rumours of John Davidson being approached by the Flames got me a little excited. Moving King to oversee the entire business aspect of the Calgary Flames empire would be a wise move from ownership. Hiring JD, who has had ample success in his time with the Blues, would be a wise move.
But I have to say, given the number of "wise moves" made by the organization over the last 8 years, I'm not going to hold my breath. Although I doubt Andy Strickland just came up with this story on a whim, it does seem a little too good to be true.
If I were Davidson and asked to take this position, my first demand would be the authority to change the franchises overall direction. Obviously he can't ask ownership and King to take a complete backseat because that's not realistic, but he would have to have the freedom to move the club as far away from the current mandate as possible. Otherwise, no dice.
DOMEBEERS AND THE CALGARY MEDIA
Finally, DomeBeers was calling out members of the media for not picking up the Dreger comments about the Flames looking for a "coach they can bend", and, he's right to do so.
To a point.
I'm not always kind to the gang at Fan960 but I'm going to take their backs for a moment. We can't reasonably expect them to chase a story that demeans the ownership and management of their golden ticket, the Calgary Flames. 960 wouldn't exist without the rights to that team and the last thing their hosts should be doing is biting the hand that feeds. I'd wager a guess that either it's an unspoken rule at the station or a downright no-go rule from the station manager. With the importance that the Calgary Flames hold on that station, one phone call from Ken King and Andrew Walker is out on his ass for calling them out on a regular basis. This is the (not even) new world of conglomeration, asking for a little objectivity is never out of the question, but asking for a witch-hunt, is. And, further to that, the hosts of the shows are not investigative journalists, they're personalities.
I do think they should have addressed it but I'm not going to chastise them for not. Walker's excuse of not wanting to address the report because it came from another company is just as ridiculous though. It's a topic that people care about, either way.
But, again, DB is not wrong. Without a doubt, the newspapers and other media outlets not owned by Rogers should have been all over this (I can't tell you how much I hate that sentence... ugh). That includes TSN's local staff, the Herald and the Sun. In Toronto or Vancouver the media would've had a field day with a nugget like that. Here, the beat writer's are worried that King might shoot them a glare next he sees them.
Of course, the whole Calgary management story is starting to get a little old. Mostly because some of us here in Calgary have been suspecting this be the case for years - spearheaded by Mr. DomeBeers himself (It's how I discovered his work). I find it funny that it basically takes something like this to be kick-in-the-nuts and stamped-to-your-forehead obvious before any of the MSM pick it up.
There is a good and bad side to having a media frenzied city like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. On one hand, they add heaps of unneeded pressure to the clubs and will feast on any inkling of news. On the other hand, they feast on any inkling of news. In one of those cities, the Ken King/Murray Edwards fiasco would've been brought up eons ago and it all would've been exposed and would've forced their hands much sooner. The direction of the club would be scrutinized time and time again, helping management to realize some of the errors of their ways, which are plentiful.
I guess one has to decide which version they like better? Reality? Or being spoon-fed pseudo-propaganda that makes us feel good?