Jay Feaster has been heavily criticized for failing to recognize a bad situation as general manager of the Calgary Flames.
Ask most observers what they’d do in Feaster’s position and they’d say, “Tear it down. Start again.”
And they were saying the same thing last year. And the year before that. And before that, too.
But the Flames steadfastly refused to enter a rebuilding phase.
Even now, after trading Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester, Feaster doesn’t want to say the Flames are rebuilding.
Is it possible, however, that it’s ownership, not Feaster, that’s been the most reluctant to accept a few losing seasons in order to build a contender for the long term?
We only ask because this is what Feaster had to say today when the trade deadline passed: “Murray Edwards told me last evening that he expects to be in the playoffs next year, so there’s my marching order.”
Edwards, in case it wasn’t obvious, is one of the Flames’ owners. In fact, he’s the chairman.
Feaster, of course, knows Edwards as “the guy who can fire me.” So what choice does the GM have but to follow orders?
Now, that said, let’s not pretend that Feaster has just been carrying out the orders of his delusional bosses all this time.
Feaster admitted recently that he’d erred in his approach.
“I should have had the intellectual honesty even earlier and said this isn’t working,” he said. “So shame on me, but I’m making sure we’re going to correct that going forward.”
The Flames have 14 games left to avoid missing the playoffs for the fourth straight time.
They head into tonight’s contest versus Edmonton eight points back of eighth place in the Western Conference.