Hello Folks, Mac here and I've been lucky enough to have been invited by Paul to contribute some blog entries on KK. I'm a long time follower here on KK, since the Breaking Sports days. I'm also a big fan of the Calgary Flames and I have a blog called Flames Page, where, as I'm sure you have guessed, I post news and information on the Flames. What I hope to do here at KK is give my two cents on all things Flames as well as some other hockey related items. I do not deal in rumours - unless they come from a very good source - or speculation. What I do deal in is fact, which I will bring to you along with my opinions. OK, with that out of the way, let's get down to business.
I'm going to break the offseason down into three parts, first I will look at the Flames coaching change, second will be who's in and who's out player wise and finally I'll take a look at the Flames outlook as we head into training camp.
One of the biggest stories for the Flames this offseason was the news that Head Coach Darryl Sutter was handing the reigns over to assistant Jim Playfair. With Sutter holding both the Head Coach and GM duties, everyone knew that it wasn't a matter of if, but when he would step aside and put his focus on the front office rather than coaching. As Sutter put it this was a succession plan that was stalled a year by the lockout. He felt that he would coach one more season after leading the Flames to the 2004 Cup final and falling short to Tampa Bay in seven games.
Who is Jim Playfair? Many people thought Sutter would opt for a more established coach to take over his team - most notably brothers Brent and Brian - but Brent is firmly entrenched as Owner/GM/Coach of his Junior Team in Red Deer and has turned down NHL offers recently. Brian, the Flames Coach from 1997 - 2000 was never really an option for Darryl. This brings us back to Jim Playfair. After leading Calgary's farm club in Saint John to the Calder Cup title in 2000/01 - his first season as Head Coach there - he was an assistant from 02/03 up to the point when Darry Sutter decided to hand the team over to him. Playfair was drafted, oddly enough, 20th overall in the 1982 entry draft by the Edmonton Oilers and played 21 NHL games and nine pro seasons before retiring due to injury in 1992.
Playfair takes over a team with an established leader in Jarome Iginla and an All Star Goalie in Miikka Kiprusoff, but he also takes over a team that struggled to score goals last season and were knocked out in seven games by Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.
In future posts I'll go further into these topics. We'll look at who's on board for 06/07 and can they provide the goals needed to take the team deep into the playoffs.
Until next time, thanks for reading!