When Brian Burke was named the President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames this offseason, many NHL observers wondered just how long he would be willing to stay in the background. Well, the answer was 30 games. After an 11-15-4 start to the season, Burke held a media conference to announce the firing of Flames’ general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod.
Burke will head up the selection process to find a replacement and will serve as interim GM until a new man is in place. Even though he has extensive experience as a league GM, including being the architect of the 2007 Stanley Cup winning Anaheim Ducks, Burke maintains that he didn’t join the Flames to serve in that capacity. He says that he joined the Flames with the goal of pursuing a championship and felt, in the end, the move to replace Feaster was a necessary part in that process.
Feaster won a Stanley Cup in 2004 as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and took over in Calgary from Darryl Sutter in December of 2010. The team failed to make the playoffs under his guidance and seem destined to miss out on the post-season again this season. His biggest move was the trading of long-time captain Jarome Iginla to the Pittsburgh Penguins at last season’s trade deadline; it was part of a major rebuild for the team that had been long overdue.
Burke says the search has already begun and they’ve already received permission from one team to speak with a possible candidate. One name that immediately comes to mind is that of Joe Nieuwendyk. He’s a former general manager of the Dallas Stars, and was a key contributor for the Flames as a player when they won the 1989 Stanley Cup.
Burke wants to see the team get back to black-and-blue hockey, which is obviously an indication that they are looking to get bigger and tougher. Interestingly enough, the Flames also announced today they have sent first-round draft pick and smallish forward Sven Baertschi down to their AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports.