Burke Won't Stay on as Flames GM

Bruce Bennett

Brian Burke announced his intention to hire a replacement general manager after firing Jay Feaster earlier today at a press conference held at the Saddledome this afternoon.

Brian Burke will be the Flames general manager, for now.

With his tie done up and his hair standing on end, the President of Hockey Operations announced that he does not intend to stay on as general manager of the Flames long-term, but he will fill the position in the interim while he interviews candidates for the job. Some have already began speculating about who these potential candidates may be:

Burke said he has already interviewed one person and intends to interview more in the New Year, but doesn't want to be fined for "tampering" by speaking with GMs already under contract without the team's permission.

He also said that the GM vacancy in Buffalo is partially what motivated him to make the decision to let Feaster go when he did. He believes the Flames could be competing with the Sabres for available candidates.

Bob Hartley and the rest of the Flames coaching staff will not be in danger of losing their jobs any time soon, Burke said, and neither will Special Assistant to the GM Craig Conroy (although he specifically stated that Conroy is not a candidate for the GM position).

Burke's favourite buzzwords certainly popped up more than once over the course of the presser, with the former Leafs GM stating that while he believes there is room for small skilled players in the game, he thinks the Flames need "more beef" in their lineup to surround the smaller skilled players on their roster and those in the system, specifically mentioning John Gaudreau. He also emphasized the importance of drafting in the position the Flames are in and getting a good return on trades, and that he hasn't been thoroughly satisfied with the recent results the organization has garnered with respect to these activities. I suspect, along with many others, that this could be one of the reasons John Weisbrod was also let go today.

In a brief interview with The Fan 960 after the press conference, Burke also talked about the progress of 2011 first-round pick Sven Baertschi. He said he has seen improvements in #47's game, but believes he still needs to show more "commitment" to being an NHL player, which includes consistency and demonstrating that he wants to play in all three zones, which hasn't changed much from when Burke called him out at the beginning of the season.

Burke's Christmas trade freeze is already in place, so he won't be making any moves as interim GM until after the New Year, and emphasized that there are no impending player moves.

More to come later.


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