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.