Saturday, February 5, 2011

Craig Conroy Helps Keep Unemployment Low

By A Z R

Calgary (Dome Beers) - While Craig Conroy's retirement had most of the hockey watching world in a melancholy mood, there were at least two segments of that population that were extremely pleased with the news. Members of the media, and those charged with lowering Canada and America's respective unemployment rates.

Broadcast personalities, sport pundits, and hockey commentators across Canada and the United States let loose a collective sigh of relief when the news came out that Craig Conroy had, upon retiring, accepted a job within the front office of the Calgary Flames. The move came as a bit of a curveball, as Conroy had been widely expected to take a job, perhaps every job, in the sports entertainment marketing industry.

Sportsnet released a statement that said, in part, "While we are very disappointed that Craig made the decision to stay with the Calgary Flames hockey club, we are at the same time pleased to announce that Peter Loubardias, Charlie Simmer, Roger Millions, Jamie Thomas, and that weird bald guy, Lindsey something, will all be keeping their jobs."

"Cocksucker," a jubilant Roger Millions exclaimed. "My wife is going to be thrilled."

Other media personalities were similarly jocund. When reached for comment, Peter Loubardias said, " That's some kinda news. And hey, let me tell you what type of person Craig is. He could have had a number of jobs in this industry, including mine. I say, and I think the viewers would agree with me on this, that he is going to be a great GM in this league one day for a very long time."

"He better. I have a 30 year mortgage. SKEEEYORES. Hey, did you know Adam Pardy is from Bonavista, Newfoundland? I'm uncomfortable with silence."

While Craig Conroy's unexpected course of action may have caught everyone off guard, it was a welcome surprise nonetheless. Mark Carney, head of the Bank of Canada, had already baked in the expected mass media unemployment into his recent forecasts. When asked, he said he would be happy to revise his numbers.

"I am more than happy to admit my mistake on this matter. Who knew in this time of corporate and political greed, in this 'get yours' world of ours, that there are still benighted souls out there who are willing to sacrifice for the good of the nation. Craig saved a lot of jobs today by doing what he did. For this country, and for our neighbours down south." 

Indeed, because of Craig Conroy's American nationality, it was also speculated that he would naturally go to work with the sports giant ESPN, and take every position at the network. Observers of the sports media world have been warning ESPN for weeks that their lack of talent at every position across the board left ESPN vulnerable to Craig Conroy's natural charm and talent in front of the camera simply overwhelming the American broadcaster, which is said to have about 5700 employees. That would have the effect of forcing massive layoffs, these observers say. 

Of course, with Craig Conroy taking the position within the Calgary Flames hockey club of the Special Assistant to the Acting General Manager, the fear of 5700 more people hitting the already swollen unemployment lines can be put to bed, at least for the short term.

Jay Feaster, the man who himself was once a special assistant to a man who liked to act like he was a GM, seemed to be genuinely pleased with the move. When Jay Feaster was first hired by the organization, his media relations skills were heralded, and with this action, the reputation seems to be justified. Within the sports world, it is seen as somewhat of a coup that Feaster was able to hire Craig Conroy when the competition for his services was so fierce.

"We are thrilled to get him. Ken and I are happy that Craig chose to stay within the Calgary Flames family. I hope the media takes note and adjusts their coverage of the team accordingly."

In his new duties as Special Assistant to the Acting General Manager, Craig Conroy will be expected to fill a variety of roles in the organization. Scouting, mentoring, monitoring, communicating, negotiating, and more are skills Craig Conroy will have to develop and hone in his new role. While all these skills will take time to master, Craig Conroy's natural ability should serve him well.

Perhaps Craig Conroy's biggest duty, however, will require simply observation. "Yeah, I kinda laughed about that with Jay. I told him I was going to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't trade Jarome for Mike Smith."

"Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Craig Conroy Retires

By A Z R

Calgary (Domebeers) - In a move that will no doubt leave observers both hurt and confused, Craig Conroy announced his retirement today. After playing regularly in the NHL for 15 seasons, the former Selke award nominee has decided to call it a career.

"Yeah, umm, I actually haven't made up my mind about that yet, so..." said the always affable Conroy when asked about making the tough decision to hang up the skates for good.

The Calgary Flames had placed, and had Craig pass through, waivers a little over a week ago. Since that time, Craig has been considering his options of playing with the Abbotsford Heat or retiring.

Ken King, the Flames President, said, "Today is a hard day, it's a sad day, but it's also a joyous day as well. Craig is moving onward and upward with his life, and we wish him the best. I'm glad that he was able to make a decision, and more importantly I hope he is at peace with that decision."

"Loubardias is probably a little worried." Ken added.

"Complete shock," said acting General Manager Jay Feaster when reached in a buffet line. "They're out of dumplings. Can you believe that? Anyways, Craig has been a valuable member of this organization,and well, you know how the fans feel about him. We felt that it was only right to give him all the time he needed to make this decision. We would have loved him down at Abbotsford."

For Conroy, joining the Abbotsford Heat and mentoring the youth there was not a realistic option. With his daughters growing up, Craig felt that it was important to be with and share time with them.

"I actually haven't retired yet. I don't know why you keep saying I have and are asking for a quote. What paper did you say you write for?" said a clearly emotional Craig Conroy when asked about the possibility of playing in Abbotsford. "Would I play down there? Probably not. How did you get this phone number?"

Some have questioned the wisdom of adding a near 40 year old player to the organizations farm team, which would take away a roster spot from a younger player. However, by announcing his retirement today, this issue seems to have been put to bed. When reached on the street, a random man in a Flames toque said, "I kinda question why they would send him down there (to Abbotsford). We don't really have too many forward prospects as it is. I guess he retired though, and it wasn't that big of a deal anyways. Remember he called the radio during the playoffs?"

The relationship Craig Conroy had with the fans of the Calgary Flames was one of the more unique in sports. Never known for his ability to score goals, never the fastest skater or the best passer, the fans appreciated what type of player Craig was on the ice, and more importantly, the type of person he was off it.

On ice, he was a Selke nominated defensive forward who finishes his career a +98. He collected 542 points, 182 of them being goals, in 1009 career NHL games. Off the ice, he was always involved in the Calgary community, and many in that community would call the man a friend. His affinity for the city and the cities affinity for him would manifest itself visibly over the years, especially whenever he scored a goal.

When asked to reflect on the career of Craig Conroy, his long time friend and team mate Jarome Iginla had this to say, "Don't yell at me in practice. Dion used to that and we traded him. I though everyone would get the message. I guess everyone didn't. I bet they do now. But he (Craig Conroy) did retire though, eh? I thought he would have at least waited until we (the team) got back into (Calgary)."

"It's sad, though, you know? I thought he would have figured it out by now. I have a decibel threshold in practice. You go over that, you're gone, I don't care who you are."

Looking back on a career that spanned more than a decade, and several CBA's, Craig said, "Listen man, I'm not retired, ok? I haven't announced my retirement. If I do though, you will be the last to know. If you call me again about this stuff, I will call the police. Understood?"

"Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired."

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dap To Feaster For Kutting Kotaleech

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.