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Flames fire GM Feaster, assistant GM Weisbrod

The Canadian Press

12/12/2013 6:53:32 PM

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames shook up their front office Thursday after a disappointing start to the season, firing general manager Jay Feaster and assistant general manager John Weisbrod.

The Flames have just 26 points this season, good for 13th place in the 14-team Western Conference.

Brian Burke, the team's president of hockey operations, will serve as acting general manager. He said the search for Feaster's replacement is underway.

Sources tell TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger the Dallas Stars have granted Calgary permission to speak with former Flames player and Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk.

Burke felt the moves needed to be made to get the franchise back on track as it tries to pursue a championship.

"I wouldn't have come here if that wasn't the ultimate goal," he said. "I have to look at the steps that have been taken and figure out what's the best way for us to get on that path.

"And I reached the conclusion that we needed to make this change."

Burke, who was hired by the Flames in early September, added that one of the team's priorities is to get tougher and more "truculent."

"We want black-and-blue hockey here, that's what we do in Alberta," Burke said. "We've got to be big and more truculent -- I know you're all waiting for the word, there it is. I want a little more hostility out there than what I'm seeing right now."

Burke said it was tough to fire Feaster, who he called a friend. But he said potentially unpopular decisions come with the job.

"I'm not kissing babies up here," he said. "I'm not running for office. This is about winning hockey games. And I have to take the steps that I think are going to lead us to win the most hockey games we can win."

Calgary took an 11-15-4 record into Thursday night's home game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"If you look at our record, it's not where we want to be and we have to change it as players," said Flames captain Mark Giordano. "You could call it whatever, but the bottom line is this: as an organization, I've been here for a while now, and right from our owners down, we want to win.

"Nothing else is acceptable. We've got to start winning hockey games and push this forward."

Burke said there are no plans to make any changes to the coaching staff this season.

"When he came in he told me he likes the way that we play," said head coach Bob Hartley. "And this morning he told me again. But at the same time, it doesn't change my job. You come in every day, I have a great coaching staff, we have players that want to learn and they want to work.

"It doesn't really change our day-to-day operation."

Burke said one of the reasons for the shakeup is that he believes the Flames are giving up points in games they should win.

"I'm frustrated like all of our fans are with our inability to hold leads," Burke said. "I love how this team works, I love how the coaches are playing the kids ... I'm just frustrated that we seem to routinely turn third-period leads into losses."

Calgary did not make the playoffs in the two full seasons Feaster served as GM. He took over in an acting role midway through the 2010-11 season, and Calgary did not qualify that year either.

"We wish Jay the best," said forward Matt Stajan. "He's a great man, he did a lot for the guys in that room. It's too bad we didn't show better on the ice but we've got to keep grinding here and find a way to win games."

Feaster previously served as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who he guided to a Stanley Cup win in 2004.

Burke has had a long career as a hockey executive. He has previously served as GM of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Hartford Whalers and Anaheim Ducks, who won the Stanley Cup under his watch in 2007.