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Flames GM Jay Feaster keeping his options open

Friday, 02.24.2012 / 7:15 PM / 2012 Trade Deadline

By Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

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Flames GM Jay Feaster keeping his options open
One night after saying he wouldn't be fooled again by his team's performance, Calgary GM Jay Feaster adjusted his comments -- but said he wants to see how his team plays before deciding whether to be a buyer or seller.
CALGARY ­-- After promising Thursday not to be fooled again by his team's on-ice product after their bid for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth fell short a year ago, Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster painted a much calmer picture Friday.

Prompted by his team's poor on-ice performance while pushing for one of the final playoff berths in a tight Western Conference race, Feaster vowed Thursday to be busy if he didn't see a dramatic improvement out of his club before Monday's trade deadline.

But after a good night's sleep, those comments were adjusted Friday.

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"I know that last night certainly it seemed as though the crazy GM lost his mind on the basis of one bad period and the bad game against Edmonton, but we've been looking at this in terms of how we've been playing," Feaster said.

"It isn't just on the basis on what happened last night. It probably won't be on the basis of what happens Saturday. It's not as though we're walking into that group saying ‘boy, it's do or die tonight; lose tonight and you're all gone Monday.' But again we want to see what the response is."

In other words, the Flames have yet to determine whether or not they will be adding or subtracting bodies, or a combination of both.

"I don't know that I want to say that we're buyers or sellers," Feaster said. "We're looking at all of our options and everything is done with the idea of trying to improve the club. I think our faith, our destiny, is in our own hands and we're going to see how the group responds – the group that is here Monday."

The collection of players that inhabits the Flames dressing room might not be all that different from the one that will face the Philadelphia Flyers at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night, despite Feaster's claim a day ago. But that doesn't necessarily mean the message wasn't delivered to those that it will significantly impact.

"Jay, he's a manager who really cares about winning and wants to get us to that next level," defenseman Mark Giordano said. "His frustration, obviously for players we saw it. It's up to us now to respond."

"Our job isn't to manage or to coach for that matter, our job is to play," forward Michael Cammalleri said. "The simple message for us is to win games. We all want to win a Stanley Cup. If we go win games, it takes care of itself."

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The question remains whether the players themselves can deliver on their messages. In order to do so, the team will have to break through the barriers that have kept the Flames out of the playoffs for the previous two seasons. Calgary's inability to get over that hump in the past is something that concerns Feaster as he evaluates his squad.

"This team has demonstrated, not just this season, but if you go back to last year, we get to a level – we were as high as fifth last year in the Western Conference at one point – then we stumble, we falter," Feaster said. "Again we get to a level, we get to the eighth spot, then we have the effort – or the lack thereof – that we did on Tuesday."

Feaster has yet to see the Flames take control of their fate and put their destiny in their own hands.

"Clearly we have not demonstrated as a group that we're serious about bursting through and taking that next step, and that's why I got everyone excited last night," he said. "I expressed my frustration last night because we still believe the answers are inside that room. You have to seize this opportunity by the throat."

Feaster's message is the same one coach Brent Sutter has been trying to drill into the Flames, who currently hold a share of eighth place with the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings. The Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks are all within four points of the last playoff berth.

"It's not a situation where it's just going to happen for you, you just can't come to the rink and let it happen," Sutter said. "You have to grab it. The position we're in, we've got to grab it. We have to go out and go after it. Let's go after this. Let's be the team to dictate how we're going to play. Let's be the team that dictates what the outcome of the standings are going to be in April."

If Calgary isn't able to control its fate, a busy offseason awaits Feaster.

"If we can't break through, then we realistically have to ask what personnel moves must we make in order to make sure we have the right people in place to break through," Feaster said. "It's incumbent upon those who are in these positions of responsibility to find the answers and to solve it going forward."

All this could actually make for a quiet trade deadline for Feaster on the Flames front.

Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares