The announcement isn’t a big surprise after the Flames failed to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season, and certainly sends a message that nobody is safe, both players and coaches. In the same announcement, the Flames confirmed that they will not renew the contract of assistant coach, Dave Lowry.
“Brent Sutter and I met and discussed a number of issues regarding the hockey team and the future,” said Flames general manager Jay Feaster. “Brent and I explored many options and ultimately determined that it is best to proceed in different directions.”
Translation: “we’re not trading Iggy and blowing up the team, so Sutter’s throwing in his hand and going back to Viking, AB to wait until the Winnipeg Jets come calling.”
Here is the Jay Feaster interview following the announcement:
As diplomatic as this announcement was, it is clear that the blame for the Flames poor season lands squarely on the shoulders of the coach, who failed to lead the team into the playoffs. I’m not sure I necessarily agree with this though. The Flames have a problem in their dressing room and I’m not convinced that any other coach would have been successful in sorting them out this season. I think that the Flames’ true problem is a two-faced one.
First, previous (D. Sutter) and present (J. Feaster) Flames GMs never added anyone to replace Iggy’s scoresheet contributions as he ages. It’s clear that Jarome will not be the main offensive guy for the team in the future, so they shouldn’t expect him to bear the brunt of the opponents’ defensive focus every night. But as long as he’s the main point-producer on the team, he will be. The last time any Flames teammate had more points than Iggy was in 1999-2000 when Valeri Bure finished with 12 more points than #12.
Second, too many Flames players are much too comfortable in Calgary. This includes Iggy and all the rest of the veterans, whose lackadaisical, inconsistent attitude rubs off on the young players. As we all know, Calgary is a great place to make your home, but something about the city doesn’t encourage hockey champions. The city takes talented hockey players and miraculously transforms them into lazy players who dominate on the ice ever other game and then drift off into dreams of spending their summers by the lake while watching their opposition shoot 40+ shots on Kipper.
Let’s put it this way: trade me to a nice city and I’ll be distracted by how wonderful it is and how much I like the great restaurants, quality schools and the beauty of the surroundings. Force me to live in an ugly, uninspiring city and I’m going to do everything I can to win a Stanley Cup to make it worth spending my time there. Is it any wonder that the Red Wings have made the post season for the last 21 years? I’ve been to Detroit and it’s nothing to brag about. Calgary’s definitely no Detroit.
The Calgary Flames can tinker with their lineup as much as they want, but they need to do some serious psychological/motivational work if they hope to see any different results in the coming seasons. My belief is this: with Iggy, Kipper, Cammalleri, Giordano, Jokinen, JayBo, Glencross, and Tanguay in their lineup, Flames management believe that they have some serious talent and can make a run of it before Iggy retires. They believe that they will be able to make a few off-season changes and find some magic addition that will make a huge difference. Unfortunately, there are too many Flames fans that have heard enough of that argument and no longer believe it. And I’m one of them.