Yes indeed, it was yet another 'dollar short and day late' season for the Flames after missing the playoffs by a mere three wins. The casual observer and even some knowledgeable fans and media members have concluded the Flames’ owners are ‘crazy’ wanting to forego an all-out rebuild keeping their goaltender and captain and the 2012-2013 season will just be more of the same-old-same-old.
To me it is a tougher call than most people seem to think. In my first blog, I would like to examine the ‘owners are crazy’ perspective.
Although a full blown rebuild seems to be the only option for a lot of the Flames critics, Jay Feaster has a mandate from ownership to win now. Or at least be a playoff team now. This has spawned endless online commentary from the media and fans questioning how the Flames ownership can be so myopic. But as Flames’ fans know, the owners are not only charged with having to run a hockey team, they also have a commitment to build a new arena in their business plan. Since the prospect of financial assistance from the various levels of government is dubious at best, the owners need to do what they feel will generate the most revenue. This would seem to speak to the ownership’s intention of prioritizing the macro-view of the future of the club. So from my viewpoint the owners game-plan really isn’t myopic at all, it just isn’t too obvious.
If the bean-counters determine that competing for a playoff spot is the best way to maximize revenue, well, that is what responsible NHL team-owners do if they want to have enough money to build a new rink Some of the current owners saw the Flames attendance slip gradually in the dark-days of the 90s as the team fell from contender to pretender, only to see it fall off of a cliff after trading Theo Fleury. The moral of the story: Star power attracts fans.
It would seem the calculations from the MBAs are complete, and it looks like the numbers indicate that trading Miikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla for players/picks/prospects would keep a lot more fans at home than missing the playoffs yet again. Adding significant infrastructure requires an expensive initial outlay. However, ownership of the venue where both the Flames and Hitmen play is clearly an important piece of the puzzle to ensuring long-term viability for both franchises in the years to come.
This rationale may still seem crazy to some people, but if it does, it is my hope that this blog deconstructs the black box surrounding the motivation of ownership. Until the Flames try to maximize revenue to replace the venue of their newest acquisition (McMahon Stadium) I will defer to their expertise.
So with the owner's mandate in hand, Feaster has set out to try to build a winner while also building for the future. He was officially hired as the Flames GM on May 16, 2011, just six weeks before the draft last year. So what has he done since?
In my next offering I will look at what Mr. Feaster has done since taking the reins of the Flames up until this off-season, and in a subsequent blog I will look at what he has done in his second off-season to date.
Factoid: To the multitudes who would query:”Wasn’t it Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?” the short answer is ‘no’. The only verifiable source of this quote is from page 68 in Rita Mae Brown's 1983 novel, Sudden Death.
So give it a rest already! ;-)
Thanks for considering my blog.