Feaster, Sutter shoulder responsibility for a disappointing season
CALGARY, AB -- While there are plenty of theories swirling around about why the Calgary Flames are on the outside looking in at the postseason for a third straight year, general manager Jay Feaster believes he can pinpoint the main reason why his troops are packing up their stuff in early April.
"What troubles me the most about this season is ... every time our hockey club this season had an opportunity to push through, we failed to do it."
Feaster pointed directly to game 60 as a prime example of the Flames inability to find a way to push themselves to the next level, the level needed to make them playoff contenders.
On Feb. 18, the Flames grinded out a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The victory pushed them into 8th place. Riding high on their success, the Flames headed home to begin a four-game homestand.
Their first opponent: Edmonton. Game 60 on the schedule.
Rather than coming out with energy, the Flames sat back and the Oilers cruised away to a 6-1 win in Calgary.
"Edmonton runs us right out of the building," Feaster sighed. "From that game, from the game in which we moved into 8th place, from game 60 through game 80 - which was Mar. 31 in Vancouver - we were 7-7-7.
"Pretty mediocre and obviously not good enough to get into the playoffs."
In addition to the theories about why the Flames failed get over the proverbial hump, there is also quite a bit of finger pointing going on at the moment. It's human instinct to find someone to pin the blame on when it comes to any kind of failure and fans are, reasonably, looking for answers.
Feaster immediately shouldered the blame.
"The responsibility for where we are is mine. I'm the general manager of the hockey. I make the personnel decisions. I hire the coach. So, as we look at went wrong this season and as we review where we are, understand that from the perspective of the general manager of the hockey club and from the front office, the season has been a failure."
Head coach Brent Sutter echoed Feaster's sentiments.
"Personally, I feel like I let a lot of people down, starting with our owners and people inside of our organization and the great fans here. I take full responsibility, as a coach, for anything that's bad and anything that's not great."
Both Feaster and Sutter noted that the Flames start was also a major disappointment this year.
During training camp, a lot was said by players and members of the coaching staff about needing get the season started on the right foot and then they went 4-4-1 in the month of October. That kind of record doesn't exactly give the team a cushion when players go down with injuries or during the stretch drive.
"When all was said and done about a good start, a lot more was said than done. We didn't get off to that good start," Feaster said. "Our start put us behind the eight ball."
Going forward, Feaster will be reviewing the performance of every player and member of hockey operations before he makes any decisions as to what will be done.
Sutter, whose contract is up this year, believes there will be significant changes made throughout the offseason.
"You miss playoffs three years in a row with virtually the same group, you've got to expect that there is going to be some heavy discussions done and evaluations. You've got to think there's certainly going to be some changes."