That is, until now.
In the middle of the night last night, while everybody was sound asleep except for Pat Steinberg and the dozen gluttons for punishment still listening to the third hour of his Overtime call-in show, I named myself the Flames interim GM and head coach.
No, I didn't fire Bob Hartley or Brad Treliving. I'm not foolish enough to want to do either of those jobs full-time, but I am taking over their jobs for the duration of this article to share with you some of the moves I'd be pondering as an attempt to remedy Calgary's miserable 1-5-0 start.
The latest blow was a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, which runs Calgary's record at the Saddledome to an ugly 0-4-0. Never before in franchise history have they opened with four straight setbacks on home ice.
Heck, in 1988-89, they only lost four times at home all season. That's right, they went 32-4-4 that Stanley Cup year. You can imagine how enjoyable it was for fans going to the Saddledome that season. That, plus 'trumpet guy' and add in some some classic John Denver and Johnny Horton tracks being spun, many good times indeed.
But that was then and this is now. For more on the latest debacle including some candid reaction from Mark Giordano, Matt Stajan and Bob Hartley, here's my story from Tuesday for The Canadian Press.
Meanwhile, here are eight GM/coaching moves I'd strongly consider making ASAP.
1. Guarantee Ortio the Next Two Starts
Joni Ortio has not played a meaningful hockey game in over eight months. While everybody is focused on the lack of activity the young Finn has received in October while Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller continue to flounder, we forget the 24-year-old also missed seven weeks at the end of last season with a high ankle sprain.
The last time Ortio played the full 60 minutes in a meaningful hockey game was way back on Feb. 13, 2015. Since then:
- It was 7:16 into Adirondack's game on Feb. 20 that he got injured. He returned from injury to start in Calgary's 5-1 loss to Winnipeg in the regular season finale on Apr. 10, a game in which numerous Flames regulars were rested. He went back out East and with the baby Flames already eliminated from playoff contention, he started twice on the final weekend -- Apr. 17 and 18.
- This pre-season, he stopped 12 of 13 in a half-game against the Oilers on Sept. 21. He stopped all 35 shots in a 1-0 win over the Avs on Sept. 24. Then in his most recent appearance, he was beaten three times on 26 shots in a 3-1 loss in Winnipeg on Oct. 1.
Considering the Flames deplorable defensive play these days, you could say that not starting him after such a long period of inactivity has actually been the right thing to do. It comes down to a human rights/working conditions issue! Yet it's time.
What I would do in starting Ortio against Detroit on Friday, which you have to do at this point, is tell him from the outset that no matter what, he's also starting Sunday night at Madison Square Garden as Calgary kicks off its three-game road trip with back-to-backs with the Rangers and Islanders. Knowing that it's not a one-game do-or-die appearance would hopefully allow Ortio to put less pressure on himself in that first game.
Hiller and Ramo received three regular season games each for their audition, Ortio surely deserves at least a couple games in succession to get on track -- especially considering the long lay-off. He hasn't even dressed as a back-up in three weeks.
Same thing for Hiller. He's only worth something if there's another GM interested in acquiring him. I'd argue a team would rather give up a draft pick to get Hiller at $2.25 million then claim him for nothing but pay him his full $4.5 million ticket. Most teams just don't have that kind of cap space.
Update: An hour after this article was published Wednesday morning, it was reported that Ramo had been placed on waivers as of 10 am.
By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.
- Last in the West: A Glass Half-Full and Glass Half-Empty Look at the Flames Start: The Flames have equalled their worst start in franchise history and the result is a divided fan base. Here are eight reasons to sleep soundly and eight reasons to be fearful that the night terrors will continue. (Oct. 19, 2015)
- Left in One Batter Too Long: Karri Ramo's Night and NHL Career in a Nutshell: For eight-and-two-thirds innings on Friday night, Karri Ramo essentially pitched a shutout. But all that goodwill was lost when he surrendered an awful go-ahead goal with 88 seconds left. It seems the only thing that's consistent with Karri Ramo is his inconsistency. (Oct. 17, 2015)
- Eight From 80 Feet: Monday Ramblings on a Thanksgiving Long Weekend: Boyz N The Hud, Raymond's resurgence, the 411 on Stockton, Mason McDonald's fight to make Canada's World Junior Team. All this and more in my latest eight Flames thoughts. (Oct. 12, 2015)
- Three Goalie Remedy? Buffalo's Loss of Lehner is the Perfect Storm for Calgary: I examine six reasons why Robin Lehner being lost to the Sabres for 6-10 weeks should be the perfect opportunity that Flames GM Brad Treliving has been waiting for. (Oct. 9, 2015)
- Eight From 80 Feet: Eight Keys to the Flames Returning to the Playoffs: There are plenty of things that need to go right for that to happen and I've taken some time to identify a few areas where they either need to remain good at, or get better at. (Oct. 7, 2015)