The Act: Cutting Conroy
The Message: We are here to win. This isn' a retirement home, this isn't a country club, this is a hockey team in the business of winning. If you can't contribute, you have to go home.
The Act: Cutting Kotaleech
The Message: We don't care if you have a contract. We need you to play up to your potential. Nobody is safe unless they are contributing to wins. If you aren't giving us what we need, we will pay for you to play in the minors. Fans, are you watching? We are not cheaping out. We are paying Kotaleech 3 million dollars to play in the minors next year, just so we can clear the cap space so we can spend 3 million more dollars to improve the team. We are trying to win, and money isn't an issue.
You could call these two moves Feasters first biggish moves, and if you want our verdict on it, we think they are great moves, obviously. They send the right message, both for the team and for the fans.
For the team, they see that all this talk from management is more than just talk, it's real. Conroy couldn't play. Replacing him with a 20 year old who may or may not be able to play is probably the right move, just because a 20 year old will be excited to get in and will probably play his guts out. Especially if Feaster rotates two or three of the Abby kids through the press box, which will only add to the energy the kids give you on the ice. Kotaleech is even better, because Kotaleech was a 'veteran' who could (squint hard) still play, and he had a contract. Kotaleech was the classic pouter though, and from all indications he was worse in the locker room than Olli.
What could the team do? All season Coach Sutter has been sitting one legitimate player, whether it be Stajan or Hagman or Kotaleech or Olli. We aren't going to go all Jonestown on you and say the players got the message and have responded by playing up to their potential, because they haven't. But all those players save Kotaleech have at least gotten a little better. Kotaleech just pouted. He was benched, if memory serves, after Stajan and after Hagman. He responded by getting into Coach Sutters face and telling the Coach he (Kotaleech) wasn't being used correctly. And then the Coach puts the cat on the powerplay!
That is coaching. Kotaleech feels the world is against him, and his coach responds by backing him, and even puts him on the powerplay. And you know what? It's bad coaching, not because Coach Sutter is backing a player, but because of the particular player the coach is backing. Alice Kotaleech is like 230 pounds. He is 6'1"+ feet tall. He can skate decently enough, and we all know about his shot. Have you ever seen a player with more tools use less of them?
In short, Alice Kotaleech is a bitch who shows up only to collect a paycheque. A wet dog like that has no place on this team, especially now that we are apparently making a charge for 6th place. And Coach Sutter even tried to get the guy going. Honestly, it's kind of sad to see the waste of talent that is Alice Kotaleech just, well, waste away. It's even sadder that we have to pay for it because Darryl Sutter caught a boner over Chris Higgins.
Feasters first two moves have been good ones. The owners need to be dapped for paying Kotaleech to play in the minors for the rest of his career (you think someone is trading for that cat next year?). Now we will have to see if they really step up to the plate and replace the three million dollars in cap space they just freed up (but still are paying for) with three million dollars worth of cap space addition (ie: Kotaleech is three million plus three million dollar new player equals six million dollars).
The work is not done, however. Steve Staios is still on this team. Why?
Honestly Feaster, why?
If we are sending messages about how we are serious about competing and having no passengers, then you have to waive Steve Staios, end of story, period.
The Flames don't need to win this game against Nashville to make the playoffs, but if they want to make the playoffs, they better win this game against Nashville.
Especially if they want the fans to believe in them, because if you ask us, they have no street credibility anymore. We will believe the players want to make a push for the playoffs when they show us they are serious about it. Sure, they beat some good teams on this little win streak of theirs, but any Flames fan will testify to the fact that this team has a nasty habit of thinking it is better than it is, and it manifests itself when the Flames play teams the Flames don't think are good. Which is insane, because the Flames themselves aren't good, but it is what it is. And Nashville might be a good team standings wise, but Nashville isn't Vancouver, and the Flames usually treat these games as such.
On the road, after a break, against a team that they have traditionally had trouble against. This has 'L' written all over it. If they do take home the L, we will be thinking same old Flames. If they get the win, it makes it easier to ignore reality, grab the pompoms and start believing.
And the tone of this website notwithstanding, we like believing.
How enjoyable was it to have three days without Loubardias?
If the Flames are going to go for the playoffs, they probably will not be having that fire-sale we have been crying for. Shitty. But does that mean the team is going to be a buyer at the deadline?
You would have to think the team would. Do you have any faith in this team, as presently constructed? This team is going to beat the Red Wings? The Canucks? Actually the Canucks lack toughness, so this Tommy K and Jackman, Esq, led team could actually beat the Canucks. But could we beat a real team? Probably not.
So the question is, and this is primarily a question for the 'Let's go for it' crowd, will you bitch and moan when Feaster trades our first round pick in an attempt to make the team more competitive for the next two months?
All-Star game sucked. We know that is an out-there take. But the lameness of the ideas around 'How to fix it' suck more than the game itself. What world are we living in here, people? Are we not allowed to be honest? You want to know how to get the players interested in playing in the All-Star game? Offer a million dollars cash to the team who wins. It's pretty simple. Dome Beers wins the idea contest.
Congratulations to Alberto Del Rio for winning the Royal Rumble.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.