Last week I wrote a little bit on Mr. Feaster and his managing history/style, especially in regards to trading and asset management, but I'd like to address a couple of consequences that arise from the replacement of Darryl Sutter.
There's two things that I think we'll see pay off long term, partly due to Jay Feaster being the interim GM and partly due to Darryl Sutter not being the GM anymore: media relations and players willingness to sign with the Calgary Flames. Follow the jump and I'll break both down.
Long Term Payoff #1: (The Obvious One) Media Relations
To put it nicely, Darryl Sutter had a combative relationship with the media, and a complete lack of a relationship with "new media". Jay Feaster? Well, he's been incredibly candid in his pressers already and has a history of communicating with blogs (I seem to recall Bolt Prospects occasionally talked to him) as well as encouraging the rest of his office to do the same (email me Mr. Feaster!).
Darryl? Not so much. I'd be surprised if he ever looked at Flames blogs or twitter accounts. I'm not sure if the official Flames.com "blogs" (though the word hardly fits) ever even had an interview that wasn't just a transcription of a video interview or something. This will be good: if he's more open with the press, we get more information. The more information we have available, the more feedback we can give.
Long Term Payoff #2: (Okay this one is pretty obvious too) Prospective Player Relations (Not to be confused with prospect relations)
Remember the Andrew Ference trade of 2006? The one that saw him sitting on the side of the road in Western NY after unloading his own bags (after signing with the Flames at a hometown discount, no less)? I bet Andrew Ference and all his professional friends do. Or how about Darryl Sutter trading Brandon Prust to the Phoenix Coyotes, making nice and signing him back in the off-season, then trading him again to the Rangers while making him and Olli Jokinen play in a game knowing they were about to be traded? Bet the house that Prust and all his buddies do too.
Darryl Sutter made it clear he had little regard for the sacrifices made by other players. I'm not saying you shouldn't make the deals you need to make, but there's a line between trading someone and treating them like crap. Sutter crossed that line so many times. How we ever managed to sign anyone these past few years is beyond me. Oh right- the gratuitious handing out of NTC's and NMC's. There's a reason the Flames have eleven right now: it's the only way players would sign with them.
Now that Darryl Sutter is gone, this will change. A lot. Jay Feaster has a reputation as a guy to sign for and stay with. Take note of the Vincent Lecavalier situation back in the early 2000's. Lecavalier was holding out, then fighting with John Tortorella. Rick Dudley had put together a package for spare parts from Toronto including Antropov (whooo!) and then-AGM Feaster stepped in to mediate the situation as well as prevent the trade from occurring. In the long run, Lecavalier was signed, he was prevented from being traded, then finally his relationship with Torts was mediated. This sort of stuff gets GMs a good reputation. More importantly, it gets them a good reputation with players. Would you want to play for a guy who'll trade you on the side of the road or a guy who will fight to keep you around? Guess which one most players will take any day of the week.
I have no doubt Feaster has and will have his faults; right now, it's just nice to look at the brighter and better qualities (or as Ken King would say, "Different") for now. Doom and gloom has been the mood for far too long.