Almost immediately after the termination of Calgary general manager Jay Feaster yesterday, rumours circulated naming former Flames captain and Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk as a possible candidate to inherit the executive role. And as quickly as the Nieuwendyk buzz began, it has come to an abrupt end, with this tweet from CTV‘s Darrell Romuld:
Reliable Source: Joe Nieuwendyk has said 'no' to the Calgary Flames and will not be the next GM of the team.
— Darrell Romuld (CTV) (@CTVDarrell) December 14, 2013
Flames president of hockey operations, Brian Burke, was clear in his conviction that he intends to hire a “young guy” to replace Feaster, who was fired for making poor trades, among other things. Nieuwendyk made sense – he sounded like the perfect fit, and logical first conclusion worth jumping to because of his NHL GM experience, and connections to the Calgary Flames organization. For reasons unknown at this time, the former Flame obviously doesn’t agree.
If the CTV analyst’s tweet is indeed from a “reliable source” like claimed, then the former two-time 50 goal scorer and Stanley Cup winner in Calgary has declined an offer to become GM, which means he was offered. In little more than 24 hours Burke has fired one GM, and gone far enough into discussions with an-other to warrant a declination from said other.
Thus, it appears Burke is in fact in a hurry to replace Feaster quickly, as was hinted during his presser yesterday, which can be viewed by visiting this link to the Calgary Flames official website.
If you put stock into the validity of tweets, the Buffalo Sabres have interviewed every assistant general manager in the NHL at this point, and they still haven’t found a replacement for Darcy Regier. Whereas Pat Lafontaine, the newly appointed president of hockey operations for the Sabres, seems convinced the answer to his GM dilemma will be solved by a current assistant – a professional who has earned experience and is ready to adopt new challenges – take a lead role; Burke’s given us the impression he’s looking for different qualities in his future hire – a recently retired NHL player will suffice. He told media:
“either a young guy with great promise and maybe some experience, or just a young star that hasn’t been given a chance. That’s the beauty of this management structure – you could literally take a guy out of uniform if you believed in him and turn him loose, and he could avoid those big mistakes that young GMs make”
Sounds like Garth Snow II except in this case, the puppet master at least has experience as an NHL GM. In other words, Burke is open to, and possibly even more in favour of, hiring an up-and-comer he can mentor, rather than handing the reigns to a wily old veteran with a track record of NHL management. Hiring a recently retired ex-star is all the rage these days – look no further than the Colorado Avalanche for evidence of that.