Friday, April 1, 2011

Ivanans Cleared For Game Action

Calgary (Dome Beers) - In a move designed to boost the flagging moral of the suddenly nose-diving Calgary Flames, the teams 'acting' General Manager, Ken King, announced that Raitis Ivanans is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered earlier this year, and will be in the lineup and ready to go when the Flames play the St. Louis Blues tonight (Sportsnet, 6:00 pm mountain).

The Flames could use the reinforcements. The team has gone 3-5-2 during their last 10 games, a stretch that has seen the team deal with injuries to key players Brendan Morrison and David Moss. The slide could not have come at a worst time for the once resurgent Flames, as they have seen their playoff hopes all but evaporate during this stretch.

"We are not out of it by any means. I would suggest that we have an extremely capable and talented team, one that will only get tougher to play against now that we have Ivanans back in the lineup. I'm not ready to mail back those playoff ticket refunds yet." Flames General Manager Ken King said when asked about the reasons for rushing back Ivanans into the lineup so soon after getting knocked out by Edmonton Oiler pugilist Steve Macintyre.

"Ivanans is a great player, and a tough player too. He wanted to get back in the lineup and help this team. You have to love that attitude. Really, the organization doesn't get enough credit for what it does right, and signing Ivanans to that two year, $1.2 million dollar contract this offseason looks like a steal of a deal now, doesn't it?" continued King.

Brent Sutter, the head coach of the Calgary Flames, and his charges all seemed generally surprised to hear the good news about Ivanans return. "Oh shit, are you fucking kidding me? Who the hell approved that?" the clearly jovial coach said when told about Ivanans being in the lineup.

The reactions from the players was similarly light, despite the fact that the team finds itself in tough to make the playoffs.

"Ivanans? Who is that?" Anton Babchuk joked, "I'm not joking, who is that? I really don't know."

"I think he is the new equipment guy," chimed in Calgary's top line centre, Matt Stajan, who is currently enjoying a scoring streak of one point in the last 5 games. "He's the new equipment guy, right?"

"Do you think I could get him to run out and get me a new handbag? I have my eyes on a new Herm├Ęs I could just die for!"

The joy of Ivanans return to the lineup was also felt by the blueliners. Upon hearing the news that Ivanans would be the added punch for the playoff stretch drive, Robyn Regehr was so overwhelmed with happiness that he quietly began to cry. Mark Giordano angrily stormed off when he heard the news, slamming the door in the traditional Italian fashion of when one hears great news. Jay Bouwmeester remarked "I don't get paid enough to put up with this stuff." when confronted with the good tidings.

Even the Calgary Flames normally stoic goaltender, Miikka Kiprusoff, couldn't contain himself when he heard the news. "Yeah, wasn't Ivanans dead? I thought he was dead. He looked dead, when he hit the ice."

Kipprusoff's counterpart, Henrik Karlsson, began his patented fist pumping when he heard the news. "Please, someone call a doctor. It's involuntary; I can't stop. I've been fist pumping for the last month. My girlfriend left me because of it. I'm actually incredibly sad inside: I couldn't start more this season? Kipper is sporting a .904 save percentage. I miss home."

Perhaps the most animated though, of all the players in the locker room, was Flames Captain, Jarome Iginla. "Hmm...Tampa Bay has a lot of capspace. Stamkos, St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Iginla. You go tell Ken King that I like the sound of that."

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview with Sun Tzu

Craziest shit, Domebeer-aholics.

So your humble Narrator, having caught a pinch of the yellow fever, was downtown Chinatown, scouting talent, when, following some coy geisha's down into an opium den, who did I run into but none other than Sun Tzu, chillin' with his homies, the Jade Dragon crew; chewing on the ladies, Tzu likes geisha's, too.

After several hours of corpulence inside that hedonistic hotbox, Tzu and his green coloured crew agreed to sit down with Dome Beers for an interview, wide ranging as always. Turns out Sun Tzu is a fan of the Flames; he was huge on Rejean Lemelin back in the day. Who knew?

DB: Mr. Tzu, it is a pleasure to be speaking with you. I know you are a very busy man, so I hope we can keep this relatively quick for you.

Sun Tzu: Speed is the essence of victory.

DB: Uhh, yeah, sure. I will be quick then. I'm actually going to start then with some questions about the Flames front office. Recently, it has come to light that Ken King, and Murray Edwards through him, is trying to become more influential in the organizations decision process. King was in the war room at trade deadline day, for example. Also, recent reports imply that he is getting more and more involved in hockey decisions, a realm supposedly administered by Jay Feaster. What do you think about this situation?

Sun Tzu: So there are thee ways in which a civil leadership causes the military trouble. When a civil leadership unaware of the facts tells its armies to advance when it should not, or tells its armies to retreat when it should not, this is called tying up the armies...

DB: ...a critique of the cap management of this team?

Sun Tzu: Silence! When the civil leadership is ignorant of military affairs but shares equally in the government of the armies, the soldiers get confused. When the civil leadership is ignorant of military maneuvers but shares equally in the command of the armies, the soldiers hesitate. Once the armies are confused and hesitant, trouble comes from competitors. This is called taking away victory by deranging the military.

DB: So, not a fan of the overstepping and eradication of the boundaries of leadership, eh?

Sun Tzu: There are routes not to be followed...orders of civilian governments not to be obeyed.

DB: And of course, you would assign Ken King and his marketing team to the category of 'civilian' and Jay Feaster and the hockey operations as the 'military'. Fair enough.

Sun Tzu: In the army, you hear the orders of your generals, you don't hear the commands of the emperor.

DB: Alright, we get it. It's a bad idea to have Ken King making decisions on player personnel when he is also concerned about the teams image in the media and to the fanbase and myriad of other competing interests. We get it! Moving on, I wonder what your thoughts are, in general, about with regards to Ken King and Jay Feaster, the 'generals' (apparently) of the Flames.

Sun Tzu: There are eight kinds of decadence in generalship. First is to be insatiably greedy. Second is to be jealous and envious of the wise and able. Third is to believe slanderers and make friends with the treacherous. Fourth is to assess others without assessing oneself. Fifth is to be hesitant and indecisive. Sixth is to be heavily addicted to sex and wine. Seventh is to be a malicious liar with a cowardly heart. Eighth is to talk wildly, without courtesy.

DB: Umm, ok, not a ringing endorsement. But have you ever thought that it was an act?

Sun Tzu: I have. A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear incompetent. But no, with these guys, what you see is what you get.

DB: Fair enough. If you could name just one, what would be your biggest complaint with the teams leadership?

Sun Tzu: The Way means inducing the people to have the same aim as the leadership, so that they will share death and share life, without fear of danger.

DB: So you think the organization is showing signs of being rudderless, lacking direction; showing an inconsistency with the roster it assembles and its stated message of wanting to compete for a Stanley Cup?

Sun Tzu: Victories of good warriors are not noted for cleverness or bravery. Therefore their victories in battle are not flukes. Their victories are not flukes because they position themselves where they will surely win, prevailing over those who have already lost. 

DB: Uh...?

Sun Tzu: Talent, DB. You ever notice that every team out there has some sort of dynamic forward duo? There's probably a reason for that.

DB: That's not a quote from Art Of War...

Sun Tzu: Sorry, DB. I have been smoking opium for the last six hours. Back off.

DB: It's ok. Anyways, speaking of talent, Brad Richards is going to be available to sign through free agency. Would you recommend we sign him? Probably more importantly, do you think he would want to sign here?

Sun Tzu: Well, if the team could fit it under the cap, he would certainly make the team better. However, would he come? What causes opponents to come of their own accord is the prospect of gain. What discourages opponents from coming is the prospect of harm.

DB: So...80 million dollars then?

Sun Tzu: Yeah, it's going to take about that.

The interview doesn't end there. We talked about strategy, coaching, talent acquisition, a whole gambit of topics really. Maybe we will chop them up and air them one day, who knows? As it is, your humble Narrator is feeling the effects of the opium binge and the geisha's. It's time for a nap.Well, after dim sum, of course.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wrestlemania 17 Happened

WWE Creative: This happened, ok?

We know it happened...'s on youtube. Irony will die with this statement, but please, stop pretending HHH and Undertaker have never 'fought' each other before.

Because they have. At Wrestlemania 17.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Murray Edwards And The Dan Snyder Era Of Flames Hockey

Domebeer-aholics will know that Diane Francis's little bundle of joy doesn't usually get greeted with a triumph when he comes around these here parts. His column's are usually met with derision, with ridicule, with spite. Usually for good reason.

Today though, Mr. Eric Francis is welcomed into the Terrordome that is Dome Beers with open arms, a welcome smile, and, well, that's about it. We don't have it in the budget to break out elephant parades.

But why, DB? Because Mr. Eric Francis managed to extract some pretty juicy quotes from the molochs (Malaka?) who are running this team 'on a day to day' level. And the best part is, King and Feaster seemed to want Eric Francis to publish them. The term 'hoist by your pertard' comes to mind. (Shakespeare reference!)

Mr. Francis begins his column with the bitchy whine of an agent wheezing about Feaster not rolling over to give Glencross a four year contract extension (which would be fucking insane, but we digress). The agent complains that Feaster would have of course rolled over for Glencross and the agents 5% fee if he was not the 'acting GM' but rather the 'GM...err, GM'

All so much smoke. This agent is concerned about the Flames? No, this agent is concerned about his client, unnamed in the story, named on Dome Beers 'Curtis Glencross'. If Curtis Glencross's agent isn't concerned he won't be able to secure a four year deal for his client come July 1st, crying to Mr. Eric Francis about Feasters reluctance to cave is a funny way to show it.

Regardless, the agent story is merely a prop for Francis to get the story moving to the topic of Feaster, the title of 'Acting', and the involvement of ownership. And so we use it the same way here.

Eric Francis uses the agent's tirade to extract some of the most damning quotes one could use about the organization and their decision making process.

We all live in fear of it: the thought that Murray Edwards, his lieutenants from business who he has brought in as co-owners, and his vassal Ken King, men who know nothing about hockey, are in fact in charge of decisions relating to hockey when it comes to the Calgary Flames. Eric Francis smuggles quotes out of the bowels of the 'Dome that seem to confirm this. And we trust Eric Francis why? Because he takes his meals with Ken King in the owners box. In vino veritas, and loose lips sink ships.

First, the words of Eric Francis: Much to some critics’ chagrin, King and the ownership group spearheaded by Murray Edwards are intimately involved in many of the hockey moves made.

Much to the critics chagrin? Much to 'best practices' chagrin. Much to 'winnings' chagrin. How many times have you heard Ken King say he doesn't know hockey? How many times have you heard Ken King say he isn't involved? And now we learn that the truth to those oft repeated statements is compromised. Ken King may be telling you the truth when he says he doesn't know anything about hockey, but he is certainly lying to you when he says he isn't involved in hockey decisions.

And we know because of Eric Francis.

More damning quotes, this time from the man who makes buffets quake with fear, Fat Feaster: “Maybe someone like Lou (Lamiorello) doesn’t have to go through anyone for approval, but I’ve never been anywhere in hockey there isn’t a chain of command – an approval process,” said Feaster. “The only difference here is we have an owner involved on a daily basis, whereas in Tampa, Mr. (Bill) Davidson got involved a couple times a year.

We have an owner who is involved on a daily basis. Pray tell, what has the owner done to earn the position of GM? Has he coached hockey before, at any level? No, ok than. Has he played? No, well, alright. Surely he apprenticed under a knowledgeable GM for many years before being handed the reigns of the team? No? Oh, Murray Edwards bought the team? Ok, that gives him a right. But is it right? Of course it isn't.

Would Murray Edwards let Brent Sutter run his oil and gas pipeline? No, he wouldn't, because Brent Sutter wouldn't have a clue about what to do. So why is Murray Edwards allowed to make hockey decisions?

Similarly, we should ask questions about Feaster. A real, independent person wouldn't put up with the bullshit of having an owner 'involved on a daily basis'. We know from Feaster's days in Tampa Bay that if the owner says 'jump', or 'sign Vinny to a 10 year 100+ million dollar contract', Feaster replies with 'how high' and 'yes sir'. If an owner tells Feaster to trade Brad Richards to a team for an AHL goalie...
More quotes, this time from the vassal, King: "I’d be shocked and stunned if any team is making million-dollar, multi-year deals that didn’t include management and ownership reviewing it."

Ownership and management review the contracts. That comes from Ken King himself. Which means that ownership and management reviewed multimillion dollar contracts handed out to, oh, let's just take a name from random, Matt Stajan.

The teams own words. The team claims it has a review process for making decisions, on players and everything else. But what value does a review process have if the people doing the reviewing have no clue? The review process is inherently worthless if the people doing the reviewing are not qualified to be doing the reviewing. Internal controls are nice and all, but only if they work.

This vaunted review process allowed Darryl Sutter to trade the expiring contract of Olli Jokinen for Ales Kotaliks multi year cap space killing contract. The vaunted review process granted Matt Stajan a four year, $14 million dollar contract. The vaunted review process overpaid Jay Bouwmeester by two million dollars (which, if you know Murray Edwards background as an accountant focused on proper valuations, you should find especially jarring). The vaunted review process allowed this team to trade a third round draft pick for Steve Staios and his 37 games played this year (at 2.7 million dollars in cap space). The vaunted review process has the team wasting cap space on Ivanans (who's that?) next year.

We know from the columns written at trade deadline that Ken King was in the war room. The vaunted review process brought us Freddy Modin over a Zherdev. In other words, the vaunted review process brought in a player who couldn't play to provide depth in case injuries happened (which they did) instead of an actual player who could play and provide depth in case injuries happened.

The vaunted review system is operated by clowns who are out of their league. Ken King, Murray Edwards, people who have no inkling about hockey (see the Stajan extension) are 'intimitely' involved in hockey decisions. Maybe Darryl really did quit.

Ken King, on Feaster: “I think he’s doing a wonderful job, and we’re really encouraged.

Of course you think Feaster is doing a wonderful job, Ken. He does whatever you tell him to do.

Look, Ken King used to get a pass from us when we thought all he was there to do was sell tickets and merchandise. Now that we know, from Kings best friend Eric Francis no less, that King is involved, 'intimatly', in the hockey operations side of the business, he doesn't get that free pass anymore. If the owners are okaying every transaction, then they need to bear the blame for the wrong moves they have okayed. Was Darryl stabbed in the back to provide cover for Ken Kings mistakes? Wouldn't surprise us, now that we know that the PR department is apparently in charge of running hockey operations.

Ken King needs to be fired. If the owners want to be involved in the day to day of the team, they should get someone who knows something about constructing a hockey team to be the teams president, not someone who rode Darryl Sutters miraculous 2004 Cup run into a jersey selling genius label (honestly, he wasn't this marketing genius before that run). If Murray likes King, that's fine, but demote him to head of marketing. He is in over his head as president. And because he is, he is providing Murray Edwards with bad information. Which leads to signing Matt Stajan to a four year contract.

Feaster needs to be fired as well. It is becoming clearer by the day that Feaster was brought into the organization because he is willing to 'play ball' with the owners and King. The organization knew Feaster would 'play ball' because that is what he did in Tampa. We don't think empty suits should be making the hockey decisions for this organization, call us crazy. We would much prefer someone with character and professional gravitas, so that when Ken Kings comes running down the hall screaming that they have to resign Matt Stajan because that is what is good for the media story (we can't not sign Matt Stajan, we traded Dion for him!), he can tell Ken King to fuck off without fear of never getting a job in hockey again.

The best part about all of this is that now we know. Thanks to Eric Francis, we now know that it is indeed amateur hour at the Flames front office. We know that roles are not clearly defined, that there is indeed organizational overreach, that people who know a lot about marketing and oil and gas, but very little about hockey, are in fact doing the drafting, and signing the free agents. We know that the GM is just happy to be there, is essentially a cypher, and provides no 'checks and balances' to Ken King and the owners. And thanks to the agent quotes, we know that others in the hockey industry can smell the weakness and confusion emanating from the Flames front offices.

Domebeer-aholics, you have read it once, you have read it a thousand times. Lanny McDonald should be the teams president. Bob Gainey should be this teams GM, Michel Goulet should be the director of player personnel, and Craig Conroy should keep looking fly in the owners box, apprenticing under McDonald and Gainey. If Ken King triple promises to know his role, he can be kept on as the head marketer, although the word on the street is he even micromanages the creation of those pedestrian opening videos the club shows, which, if true, is a fireable offense in our books on it's own.

Anyways, yes, Eric Francis, you are receiving dap on Dome Beers. It is indeed a mad, mad world.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.