Owner: Feaster resigns as Lightning GM
Jay Feaster at the Stanley Cup celebration in 2004. [Times photo | Dirk Shadd]
Well, that didn't take long. Lightning GM Jay Feaster resigned, owner Len Barrie said Friday with additional confirmation by vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton.
"Yes," Barrie said, "we came to an agreement."
It should not come as any huge shock. Feaster's duties have been sharply curtailed since OK Hockey took over the team, and his name has been absent from the team's player personnel announcements.
Feaster's compensation was unclear Thursday morning, but considering he has three years left on a contract that pays between $800,000 and $900,000, he will not leave empty-handed.
"Jay's done a tremendous job," Barrie said. "It's more of when you come in, you want to go with your own culture. "And our culture is Oren and I are owner operators. Jay has been here a long time running it himself. Any time you come in, you evaluate things."
Feaster said he will not be available to the media Friday, but had two extensive quotes in a team release.
“For the past two weeks I have watched from the sidelines as Brian Lawton, Len Barrie and Oren Koules executed to perfection the game-plan they shared with us prior to the NHL Draft in Ottawa," Feaster said. "During that time it became apparent to me that this new ownership group did not need my advice or expertise, and I came to the conclusion that it was time to move on. When I expressed that sentiment to Oren and Len they immediately agreed to honor my contract and accept my resignation. I thank them for working with me through a difficult time and I wish them every continued success.”
“I want to thank Mr. Davidson for giving me the chance to manage his hockey team for the past six seasons, and I want to especially thank Ron Campbell. Like Bruce McKinney did 12 years earlier in Hershey in the American Hockey League, Ron believed in me when no one else did. Even as those around him questioned his judgment and wanted to look elsewhere for a GM, Ron stuck with me. He was, in my opinion, the unsung hero of our 2004 Stanley Cup Championship and our success through the years. I thank him deeply for his unwavering support. Finally, I want to thank our great fans who make it possible for all of us to enjoy working in this great game."
The resignation ends a long run for Feaster, 45, with the Lightning. He came on as an assistant general manager in October 1998 and in February 2002 became general manager, taking over for the fired Rick Dudley. Feaster, whose teams won 207 games and had a .547 winning percentage, was a big part of the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup run. His trade for defenseman Darryl Sydor is considered one of the best in Lightning history, and he was the Sporting News' 2004 NHL executive of the year. Too bad, he also will be remembered for one of the worst trades: the deal for goaltender Marc Denis, who turned out to be so bad he was bought out last month, for Fredik Modin.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the front office. Lawton took time Thursday to run through the changes and job descriptions. Tom Kurvers and Claude Loiselle are co-assistant general managers. Kurvers had more player/personnel duties, especially on the minor-league side. Loiselle is in charge of contracts, negotiations and CBA compliance.
But Barrie said Feaster's job, per se, will not be filled and he believes Kurvers and Loiselle will keep their current titles.
"We're going to do it as a group," Barrie said. "At the end of the day, Oren and I are going to have the final say and be accountable. We're going to lean on surrounding ourselves with the right people."