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Button Faces the Media

D'Arcy McGrath

June 26, 2001

Fresh off a successful fishing trip to Florida, general manager Craig Button met with the Calgary media at the Saddledome on Tuesday.


On the trip itself Button managed to haul in a new center, winger, and goaltender, not to mention unprecedented media attention with the team's gathered for the NHL Entry Draft.


"We are pleased where we stand", Button told the group, "With Turek, Niedermayer and McAmmond we feel we have changed the team in a positive way".


Some are debating the won/loss record implications in the deals, but nobody is arguing that change was needed in a franchise owning a more than quiet recent history.


"This is an organization that has been muddling along for five years now", Button remarked on the failed attempt to build the Flames into a winner, "there will be no more muddling".


"We've added some good players to an existing group of good players. Iginla and Morris aren't that young anymore, they are ready to move into the experienced group of players".


"We feel a team is either moving ahead, or it's falling behind, you're never done looking for ways to improve a team, you're always listening".


With that said, Button was noncommittal as to what additional changes can be expected by the city's hockey fans.


"We'll look at all avenues, we may look into the UFA market, but we may turn away from it altogether."


Finding Offence


Button wasn't as concerned about offensive output as many pundits in the hockey world would suggest.


"What happens if we lower our goals against?" asked Button.


"Might end up with more goals than we give up", suggesting the recently acquired players have a penchant for defence, something that should help in tightening the defensive reigns this winter.


"It's all about five on five play".


Team Toughness asked the Flames general manager if felt toughness needed to be addressed with the suggested change to the instigator rule.

"That isn't going through as far as I know", said Button on the rule change itself.


"I've never even the seen the issue tabled in any of the meetings I've attended".


"Bob Gainey once told me, that rule was brought in because people were instigating fights", said Button with a grin.


"Ninety percent of players playing in the NHL today have never played without the rule, so I don't think it's that big a deal".


On the Draft


The Calgary Flames took Boston College winger Chuck Kobasew in the first round 14th overall.


"He was one of three or four players on our list, we're happy to get him", said Button on the Penticton junior star.


The Flames seemed to stay away from Canadian junior players in the draft, instead opting for Europeans, US high school and college players, all a matter of circumstance according to the general manager.


"Next year we could just as easily draft 10 Canadian players", Button told, "that's just the way it fell".


"With our first three picks, we drafted winners, something that is very important to me", Button remarked on Kobasew as well as his two second round picks goaltender Alexie Medvedev, and center Andrei Taratukhin.


Turek's Contract


Roman Turek's option for next year will be picked up at $2.8 million U.S., leaving the goaltender an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2001-02 season.


"I haven't talked contract with Roman's agent as of yet", said Button on extending the new number one stopper's pact.


"I did contact Turek himself, and welcomed him to the organization".


Though no contract talks have taken place, Button didn't seem concerned as to the long term future of Turek in Calgary.


"We made a move to acquire a number one goaltender", said Button, "If we can find ... we will find a way to keep him".


"If you can upgrade your goaltending you do it".


Season Ticket Renewal Date Extended


The general manager mentioned the deadline to renew Flames season tickets has been extended to June 30th.


"With outside situations existing, like the draft, and the city council meetings, we felt it best to push back the date".


The Flames in partnership with Ford Canada announced a new renewal program that features a $500 rebate off the purchase or lease price of a new Ford vehicle.


"When Ford provided us with this tremendous offer, we believed it was important to extend the renewal date in order to offer our main stakeholders the extended priveleges of being a Flames season ticket holder", said Flames Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Garry McKenzie.