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As a fan it is entertaining to debate about the dramatic topics. The fun topics. Should the Calgary Flames trade Jarome Iginla? Should the Calgary Flames blow up the roster? Perhaps the Flames can trade Iginla for Brayden Schenn and then target Yakupov in the draft. Can you imagine a first line of Baertschi-Schenn-Yakupov? Maybe they get Parise as a free agent. What if they trade Bourque for a first rounder and pick up one of the many D-men in this seasons draft. Drool.
Good times no doubt. Fun topics. But they are the wrong topics.
As a fan I don't need a specifically prescribed strategy followed. Trade Iginla? I can support that. Don't trade him? I can support that as well. Go ahead and blow up the roster. Or don't. I am easy. I am happy to support the Flames management as they apply their strategy to this team. They just need to sell me the right product.
Today Mr. King and Mr. Feaster are trying to sell me wins. But the thing about a win-now strategy is that if you employ it then you better win. Sell me that strategy and then lose and I am going to get a annoyed. Repackage the team to sell me the same thing next season and I get frustrated. Throw a bow on it to sell it to me for a third season and still lose and I am exasperated. Don't you dare to try selling it to me for a fourth time. I am not buying. I don't care how fancy your bow and wrapping are.
What do I want? I want the light at the end of the tunnel. I want a plan with a future. I want hope. I want Ken King and Jay Feaster to stand up and admit that the team they put together can't win right now and then show me a plan to put one on the ice that will in the future. In the absence of wins then sell me hope.
At the end of the day Hockey isn't a product that I can put on my shelf or hold in my hands. Its emotion. Its entertainment. I can rally around a team that I can think will win in the future. I can be entertained by watching Sven Baertschi get better season after season. That is infinitely more appealing then watching this boring brand of hockey not bring results while I wonder what in the heck we are going to do when Kipper and Iggy stop performing.
"We are a lunch pail team with only two stars" (said in my best old father voice). I agree. So go get a better team.
Some of you will tell me that is what Feaster is doing. I disagree. Feaster goes on national television and tells the country that he won't make a trade unless it helps the team today. He guaranteed us a playoff spot. He went after Brad Richards. He went after Ryan Smyth. That sounds like a win-now attitude to me.
Feaster isn't Daryll Sutter sure. He isn't selling the future to buy wins today. Rather he is trying to balance the tight rope of winning today while building the team of tomorrow. The problem is that only works if your team of today is good enough to win today and your prospects and young players are good enough to win tomorrow. Neither is true for the Flames.
In the absence of that you have a non direction. Inactivity. Are you willing to trade players for future assets? Well you can do that. Do you want to trade future assets for players? Because you could do that. Or you could just make a trade for the sake of making a trade. Want to trade my problem for your problem? How about my second liner for your second liner? Those are available. Don't want to do any of that? Well then do nothing.
Very few moves of substance helps you to day and tomorrow. So you do nothing. Or perhaps it is fair to say that you do just short of enough to put a winner on the ice. Well almost winning is getting old. I want to be better then mediocre. I want my bite of carrot already! If you can't give me that then at least tell me about the steak sandwich I can get down the road.