Jay Feaster says the Tampa Bay Lightning's assistant GM job is not for him
As we wrote in Sunday's paper, Jay Feaster said he had a 90-minute breakfast meeting about a month ago with new Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik to discuss Feaster's interest in getting his old job back as the Lightning's general manager. That didn't pan out. But what about returning as Tampa Bay's assistant GM under newly hired Steve Yzerman?
"Oh, no," Feaster said. "I think it would be a difficult and awkward thing here."
Feaster has stayed in the area since he resigned as general manager in the summer of 2008, when the new ownership group of Oren Koules and Len Barrie was getting revved up. And he certainly wants back in the game. Feaster was considered last year for general manager jobs with the Wild and the Panthers.
Feaster said he believes his best way back will be as an assistant, a position in which he served for Tampa Bay under former GM Rick Dudley. Feaster was elevated in February 2002 after Dudley was fired, and helped lead the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup title.
"I'm going to have to go back in an AGM role and serve my time and hope somewhere down the road at some point in time I get another opportunity to be a GM," Feaster said.
He just doesn't see that first step happening with Tampa Bay.
"It's important for Steve (Yzerman) to get someone he has confidence in who can manage the CBA, can manage the league directives and mandates and that sort of thing," Feaster said. "I just think that having been GM here, that's an awkward situation for anybody."
As for Vinik, Feaster had nothing but praise after their breakfast meeting.
"I came away thinking he's going to do great things here," Feaster said. "He thanked me for the candor of my answers and my interest."
Vinik also gave Feaster a heads-up Tuesday that the GM search was over. Feaster said the call, that came before Yzerman was announced, was "a first-class thing."