UPDATE: Click link at bottom for King's response to this blog!
It’s the start of September 2010. Summer is over; well, in Calgary, it never really began weather wise but that's neither here nor there.
For the Flames, it was time to give their “Hot House” members (people who are on the waiting list for Flames season tickets) an update on the team.
The Flames invited all of their HH members to a lunch with Ken King, the Flames President. He answered questions for about an hour on the team, the potential for a new ‘Dome, the new TV contract, and the waiting list for season tickets amongst other things.
My friend/fellow blogger and I had the opportunity to grill him about the issues we cared about; Olli Jokinen and Ales Kotalik.
Me: “Isn’t it like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole?” Referring to re-acquiring Olli.
King: “Well we are either going to look like geniuses or we are not.”
A not all that surprising response, but still a pretty candid response from the team’s President. He didn’t really have a justifiable response to the Olli question, other than that the Flames believe in him.
I wish I had the same optimism.
Us: “With Kotalik on waivers, can he go to Europe like Cristobal Huet did?”
King: “He (Kotalik) can go to Europe all he wants.” Shock. Awe. Truth?
The room went silent and so did King as he realized he kind of said something he probably shouldn’t have said, but said it nonetheless; sometimes the truth can’t help but seep out. He kind of nervously chuckled and so did the rest of the room as he changed the subject and moved onto another question.
King then opened up about young Dion Phaneuf: “He would rather be the Captain of a bad team. He wasn’t happy ‘not being the man’ here in Calgary.” A solid Leaf blast from the President of the Flames; definitely a highlight of the lunch.
He also said that the team was likely to trade a defenceman, given the roughly 2.5 million dollars the Flames are over the cap and the surplus of defence on one way contracts. Something that was quite obvious but at least now it’s not a mere rumour. He mentioned Regehr’s name a lot. You can read into that all you want.
A little light was shed on the Langkow situation. King re-iterated that he should be ready for training camp, which I found a little significant given the severity of the injury Daymond suffered. I thought the Flames might be able to put him on the Long Term IR and have his 4.25 million dollar contract not count against the cap, which would temporarily solve their problems. This is still a possibility, but less likely now with this new information.
In reference to the new TV contract, he said that cable providers Rogers and SHAW are currently in negotiations so that people in Calgary can actually get the new Sportsnet ONE (a channel that will broadcast upwards of 10 games this year), because currently we can not. He said there is a slight chance that Calgarians WON’T be able to get the channel. Talk about a PR nightmare. How could they not figure that out while negotiating this contract over the past two years? You would think this would be major issue; televising games on a channel that people in the city can actually WATCH! Talk about really doing your due diligence Flames brass.
And to cap off the lunch, I won a golf shirt; so, you know, I have that going for me, which is nice.
Read King's response here: http://www.thesportsroundup.com