Earlier today, the Calgary Flames announced that they were hiring Brian Burke as a member of their front office. Burke, most recently running the show with the Toronto Maple Leafs up until this past January, will be working with the Flames as their President of Hockey Operations. During the press conference this morning, it was announced by team president Ken King that Burke will be overseeing all sports-related aspects of the Flames.
If it sounds familiar, don’t worry, you’re right to be confused. You see, that’s kind of the job that GM Jay Feaster has, too, minus that whole “president” thing. Essentially, Feaster still has the same duties as before, but now he has to run all decisions by Burke first.
Is it just me, or did the Flames just hire a babysitter for Feaster?
This move is odd for a number of reasons. First of all, any team with essentially two GMs has to be a well-run operation, right? Nothing says, “We have confidence in our GM,” much like, “As long as he gets everything approved from the guy in this brand new position first.”
Secondly, Burke is not really known as someone who is OK with making joint decisions; he had more than a few head-scratching moves in Toronto that had local media calling for his head. He famously dealt two first round draft picks to the Boston Bruins for Phil Kessel; one of those picks ended up being the No. 2 overall pick in 2010. Sure, Tyler Seguin, whom the Bruins picked that year, didn’t pan out as hoped, but that’s still a lot to give up for a streaky player like Kessel.
In 2011, Burke gave a contract extension to then coach Ron Wilson, who was enduring consecutive losing seasons. Many in Toronto were obviously confused at the idea of rewarding a coach who wasn’t winning very much.
It should be noted that Burke didn’t seem to have a problem with either of these calls.
However, let’s put the most focus on the most ominous aspect of this hire. Today, Burke mentioned he wasn’t originally interested in this position because he, get this, sees himself as more of a GM.
So, you’re Jay Feaster. You’re the GM of a team that dealt all of its talent at the trade deadline last season. Your team is probably going to struggle again, and now you’ve just been introduced to someone who you have to report to regarding everything you do. Oh, and he publicly announced he also kind of wants your job, too.
I’m sorry, tell me again how this is going to work?