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"http://twitter.com/mslepp"
Okotoks, AB • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
Most of you probably read that headline and thought, "Thanks tips."

Yes, we all know Darryl Sutter left us with very little to go with on the farm in terms of prospects.

And, we all know that we don't have a 2nd or 3rd round pick this year. The 2nd was thrown in on the Primeau/Stralman deal for god knows why and even more mystifying was the 3rd being thrown in to Edmonton on the Staois/Johnson deal last year.

That's what we already know.

What I propose is that with new management will come increased changes to the organization, and while lack of assets will prevent Feaster from making a player transaction splash at the deadline, there will be more changes to the team by a managerial perspective.

Jim Playfair is on his last legs and will be fired in the off-season. He's running Abbotsford into the ground and they're playing hockey that would make the Minnesota Wild look exciting.

Why Jim Playfair was retained after Darryl cleaned house with the coaching staff two seasons was unexplainable. He began digging the whole the franchise is currently starting to escape from when he had the coaching reigns following Sutter, and then only added to the fire when Mike Keenan was hired and put the franchise into an EVEN DEEPER hole. Having the two of them on the same coaching staff and it's a wonder the Flames ever made the playoffs.

Ok, enough of the bashing. We know Darryl Sutter drove this team into the ground and if I'm sick of writing about it, then you're for sure sick of reading it.

Here's why I think Playfair is on his last legs.

In the past week, I've ran my theory about Playfair past two friends who are friends with members of the Abbotsford Heat. So, keep in mind that this is second-hand info. I'm not reporting anything from a source... just food for thought...

Anytime a member of a team asks for unconditional release you know there's an issue. J.D. Watt, once thought of as a premiere checking-line prospect for the Flames was released and allowed to pursue other options. The reason from what I was told is because he couldn't stand to be around Jim Playfair any longer. The players HATE him.

Now, I won't name names on this second one but there is a player in Abbotsford who has said if Playfair is retained that he will be off to Europe next season.

Ok - so Playfair's a hard ass. Maybe these guys are just overreacting to working hard?

I highly doubt it.

Watching the Heat at the Saddledome on Friday night was an eye-opener for me.

It was the MOST boring game I've ever had the privilege of watching live.

The Heat's game plan was basically to try not to let the other team score. All they did the entire game was play defense. Any time spent in the offensive zone was wasted by dumping the puck into the corner and attempting a lame cycle. Defensemen never took a straight line to the puck, always allowing defenders to get to the puck first then following from behind. Scoring forwards were used in defensive situations and defensive forwards were used in the offensive zone. What's important about these things? It's exactly the problems the Flames had when Playfair was behind the bench. Problems they are STILL trying to combat after it was drilled into them after so many years with Playfair.

Add to this the fact that since Craig Conroy has been hired as Special Assistant to the GM, with his duties being focused mainly on Abbotsford and prospect evaluation, he has noted to these players that they are being underutilized. I'm not sure who he was specifically talking about, but Stefan Meyer comes to mind. The player who beat Conroy out for a roster spot (non-scratch) at the beginning of the season is getting less than 10 minutes per night in strictly an energy and penalty killing role. While with the Flames he proved capable of playing in nearly all situations.

The writing's on the wall, and if stories like this are leaking out, then you can only imagine what is ACTUALLY happening down there.

Like Darryl Sutter as GM, the longer you keep Jim Playfair in charge of developing young talent in the AHL, the further you set back your team. It would be one thing if he were a hard-ass while getting results; but, there are no results. Abbotsford is currently a place where scoring forwards go to die. At this point, I'd rather have Mikael Backlund playing 6 minutes/night then going back down to Playfair.

The house-cleaning will continue with the Flames, just don't expect it to be player related.
Filed Under:   Flames   Playfair   Conroy  
February 22, 2011 3:58 PM ET | Delete
I agree that he should be let go. However the part where you say the flames still have problems due to his teachings is false. They were better team then what he got out of them and they still made the playoffs. The problems that Brent had to rectify came from Keenan, and that was the complete lack of any structure that seen the Flames go from one of the best teams in GAA
February 22, 2011 4:03 PM ET | Delete
To one of the worst in only one season. Anyway thats here nor there, IMO your right Playfair should be let go if for no other reason than, to allow the guys that have been there a few years a fresh start and fresh perspective. It gives them a clean slate.
February 22, 2011 4:31 PM ET | Delete
so one of the youngest teams in the ahl, with few offensive options, wiht some injury trouble throughout the year, play defensively, and aren't the greatest of teams, and the coach should be fired??when was watt considered a 'premier' anything?!?
February 22, 2011 5:20 PM ET | Delete
Usually like your blogs but couldn't disagree more with this one.
February 22, 2011 5:40 PM ET | Delete
I agree with Whipper, sorry mslepp. Watt was in serious state of flux prior to the season. He wasn't sure if he wanted to sign because didn't see eye to eye with the organization on his place and value. Obviously that trend continued into the season, hence the request for the release. I don't get to see many Heat games or even highlights, but they definitely don't have the offensive guns to be playing much of an offensive attack game.
February 22, 2011 7:03 PM ET | Delete
No need for apologies... I tend to overstate myself when writing. Watt - "Premiere" may have been slight hyperbole as well :) Most of my thoughts on Playfair stem from what I heard and then it was compounded when I watched them play. I will stand by my analysis of Playfair... time will tell I suppose...
February 22, 2011 7:53 PM ET | Delete
I think the leading scorer on the Heat is around 0.5 ppg and ranks at around 140th overall in the AHL. Or at least that's where Keith was a few weeks ago. Anyways they're basically forced to play a very defensive game when they have no offensive weapons.
February 22, 2011 9:08 PM ET | Delete
I agree totally. Playfair coaches a boring old school defence first game. Booooooring. The players he has are young and full of piss and vinegar he needs to let them go. Last year in the playoffs these guys came in right out of junior and got a average team to the second round. Hockey in Abbotsford will not last in if this keeps up. I for one will not be renewing until an effort is put in by the management and owners of this franchise.
February 23, 2011 10:08 AM ET | Delete
I was thinking the other day. We're very quick to jump on the "Sutter was horrible at drafting" bandwagon but lets not forget that there was also some bad luck involved there. We had one top prospect break apart and another pass away.
February 23, 2011 1:54 PM ET | Delete
Flames in 6: That's very true. But even if those two players had panned out (believe they were a 3rd and 4th respectively), would you change your opinion on the way he drafted? I'm not sure it would have made that big of a difference. The problem lies in the Matt Pelech's, Kris Chucko's and Tim Ramholt's of the world. Imagine if he drafted quality players THEN.
February 23, 2011 2:18 PM ET | Delete
Hey, hey... I think Pelech was an Ok pick, he should get a shot but keeps getting injured, for the 5 games he was up during Keenan's last year he got 3 points and looked capable of filling Cory Sarich's role..... As for Watt, I thought that he was definitely going to make the Flames in a year or two, reminded me of Prust a little.... interesting blog... you may be on to something here.....
February 23, 2011 2:21 PM ET | Delete
If look at Watt's performance on the Giants and seen him play on Abbotsford you would agree that he is top checking prospect, like a Prust.... will fight, can put up points....
February 24, 2011 2:49 PM ET | Delete
Speaking of Prust... isn't he the missing link for the 4th line LW spot that Hagman is taking right now? *sigh*
February 24, 2011 7:54 PM ET | Delete
Daryl had said that two years ago the draft philosophy changed to go for skill before toughness. Watt's disappointing but its not like they're short on checking players. Playfair is getting a very poor team in terms of offensive talent alot of wins, its hard to argue with results.
February 24, 2011 9:10 PM ET | Delete
I'm not as concerned with wins at the AHL level... more with player development.
February 25, 2011 3:18 PM ET | Delete
Playfair has never been an offensively creative coach and therefore you shouldn't expect it from him. However we do have offensive talent down there they just aren't being permitted to play offensively anyone else watch Rheault and Nemisz in the pre-season? Rheault was amazing when allowed to play but as a checker/defensive role isn't thriving one bit. With Playfair holding the reigns, Nemisz won't be able to flourish either. It's time for change in Abbotsford!
February 25, 2011 3:29 PM ET | Delete
Caperz: You are exactly right. The Flames don't need Nemisz to be another checking winger, they need him to be a top 6 winger. Was looking forward to watching Rheault at the 'dome last Friday and he was VERY disappointing, unfortunately.
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