Bob Hartley is a big fan of Jay Feaster

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When the Flames hired Bob Hartley to be their new coach this summer, it seemed to come about suddenly. That wasn’t exactly true as Hartley and Calgary GM Jay Feaster have history together from their time working together in the AHL.

Hartley tells Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun that he’s excited to work with Feaster again and he’s a big fan of his work.

“For me, I know what Jay Feaster did for us in my two years in Hershey, and I’m sure that he was as instrumental to the Tampa Bay Lightning when they won the Stanley Cup. And I know one thing — he’s going to be a big part of our our organization in Calgary.”

See Flames fans, there’s some positive talk for you.

Feaster’s offseason has seen him add Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman to the Flames lineup while losing David Moss and Olli Jokinen. That’s not exactly inspiring work, but it’s up to Hartley to make it work. Keep in mind, he hasn’t had a head coaching job since being fired by the Atlanta Thrashers six games into the 2007-08 season.


Flames GM Feaster: “Now we’ll get accused that the top two lines have too many Czechs”


Jay Feaster’s faced a fair amount of criticism since taking over as Calgary Flames GM.

His response? Brush it off with a chuckle.

“I have to laugh,” Feaster said during Monday afternoon’s conference call. “The perception is that the front office is too full of Americans, and behind the bench now is too full of French Canadians, and now we’ll get accused that the top two lines have too many Czechs.”

This, of course, was in response to Feaster signing a pair of Czech skaters: Roman Cervenka — who spent last year in the KHL — and Jiri Hudler, who scored 25 goals for Detroit in 2011-12.

(The Flames only had one Czech skater last year: Roman Horak, who played 61 games in a mostly bottom-six role.)

The deals came under fire for two particular reasons. One, Cervenka and Hudler didn’t come cheap and are a combined $7.75 million cap hit in 2012-13.

Two, they’re both big questions marks.

Cervenka, 26, has no NHL experience. He was a dominant KHL scorer in 2010-11, but was aided by playing alongside Jaromir Jagr — after Jagr bolted to Philly, Cervenka’s production dropped off, going from 61 points to just 39 last year.

Questions also surround the 28-year-old Hudler. He finished second on the Wings in goals (25) last season, yet was seen by many as a byproduct of linemates Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula.

But while some see a red flag, Feaster sees opportunity.

He figures Hudler will be given a more prominent role than the one he had in Detroit (Calgary even plans to use him on the penalty kill) and could flourish like a player he knew from his days in Tampa Bay — Fredrik Modin.

“I’ve thought about it in the same context as when Rick Dudley was the general manager in Tampa,” Feaster explained.

“He acquired Freddy Modin, in his prime, from Toronto. Freddy was playing there in a third-line role. Ultimately, he came to Tampa and he was a top-line guy and scored 30 goals multiple times.

“I’m not comparing the two — but [Hudler] is going to have even more opportunity to flourish in our organization.”

Calgary signs Stempniak, Jones to two-year deals


Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster continued to be a busy man on Thursday, agreeing to terms with free agent forwards Lee Stempniak and Blair Jones.

Stempniak, 29, agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $2.5 million.

The veteran winger has seen his production (though not his earnings) plummet since scoring 27 goals with St. Louis in 2006-07. That effort that netted him a three-year, $7.5 million deal from the Blues.

Last season, Stempniak had 14G-14A-28 points for the Flames in 61 games, missing a large chunk of time to an ankle injury.

Jones, 25, agreed to a two-year, $1.3 million deal after receiving a qualifying offer earlier in the week. The former Tampa Bay center was acquired by Calgary in January and debuted nicely for the Flames, but was lost for the season after breaking his ankle while blocking a shot in February.

With the moves, Calgary now has 21 players under contract for 2012-13 and roughly $8.5 million left in cap space. One would assume the Flames will be in the market for some help down the middle, as their current depth chart projects Jones, Roman Cervenka and Matt Stajan as the top three centers.


Flames re-sign Sarich to two-year, $4 million deal

Report: Jokinen won’t be back in Calgary

Welcome to the rumor mill, JayBo

Dennis Wideman traded to Calgary, signs five-year, $26.25 million deal with Flames

PHT Morning Skate: In which the Kings take the Stanley Cup to Las Vegas


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Las Vegas isn’t too far from Los Angeles so why not take the Stanley Cup to the country’s biggest party city? There’s no way this can end poorly. (Los Angeles Times)

Mark Spector of Sportsnet says the Oilers won’t be trading the top pick because their asking price is way too high. (Sportsnet)

You’ll never guess who Sens coach Paul MacLean believes should win the Norris Trophy. OK maybe you will: Erik Karlsson. (Senators Extra)

The Capitals are loaded up with 11 picks at this year’s NHL Draft. (

Francois Bouillon says Michel Therrien “deserves” the Canadiens job. Those two have some history in Montreal already. (Montreal Gazette)

Calgary’s top pick in the draft is a big one for GM Jay Feaster to get right. (Sportsnet)

The Predators are holding out lots of hope they can keep Ryan Suter in town. Good luck there. (Tennessean)

Down Goes Brown gives you his unique take behind the scenes at the auditions to host the NHL Awards. (Down Goes Brown)

PHT Morning Skate: Where Darryl Sutter wishes you peace


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Darryl Sutter has a funny way of closing out some of his press conferences by flashing the double-peace sign. Richard Nixon couldn’t be prouder. (Backhand Shelf)

With a Radiohead concert taking over The Rock the last two days, the Kings are proving they don’t need roadies of their own. (Los Angeles Times)

Willie Mitchell is looking to do his part to change the way concussions, rather brain injuries, are talked about. (The Sporting News)

There are plenty of celebrities taking in the Stanley Cup finals. (All Habs)

Jonathan Quick’s road to the Stanley Cup finals has been an interesting one. (

Jay Feaster has a lot of new decisions to make after hiring Bob Hartley. (Calgary Sun)

Chris Pronger’s playing future will be his decision to make. (

The Blues may have a deal done with draft pick Vladimir Tarasenko. (TSN)