Breaking - Flames Hire Bob Hartley

Kent Wilson
May 31 2012 09:54AM

 

 

According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, the Flames have hired former Avs and Thrasher head coach Bob Hartley to take over for Brent Sutter.

If the team confirms, I have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed by the move. Im not sure any bench boss is going to do much for Calgary next season, but this sort of decision seems on it's face to be a lateral move at best. Hartley won a cup with an all-star cast in Colorado, but didn't do anything special in Atlanta and hasn't even been in the league for 5 years.

For now, it looks a bit like Feaster hiring a buddy of his, when what the team really needs is someone with some new ideas and a more progressive view of the game.

More later.

UPDATE - Flames confirm the hire.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Graham
May 31 2012, 09:57AM
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Disappointed. I was hoping for a new direction, and to me, this is more of the same.

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#2 Shar
May 31 2012, 10:02AM
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Quick fixes won't get the team anywhere. If they didn't think Brent was the man for the job, what makes them think Bob would be?

Yikes, I was rooting for Feaster but he isn't doing anything to help this team out.

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#3 Gange
May 31 2012, 10:12AM
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For me, the only exciting thing about this is that the Flames have cock-blocked Montreal.

Otherwise it's a very Meh coaching decision.

I was really pulling for Ward but we'll see what happens.

Here's hoping for some line matching now!

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#5 Colin
May 31 2012, 10:13AM
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Again I don't think Ward would not be the answer for the next year ot two, and maybe Sullivan in NY told the Flames thanks but not Thanks, maybe he wants to stay in the East.

It's the expected move and hiring a buddy, so we move from one guy hiring all his friends and family to another.

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#7 Gange
May 31 2012, 10:20AM
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Here's hoping that Hartley embraces advanced stats and what they provide to him. Though, I'm not 100% confident the rest of management does yet. We'll see.

Perhaps this is an interim hiring until they feel that Ward is ready to make the leap.

In that vein I'll say that maybe this is for the best in that Ward has more time with the prospects and their development. It might be too early to pull him away from Abbottsford from that perspective.

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#8 Colin
May 31 2012, 10:24AM
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@Gange

Thats a great thought and unless Feaster told hartley he'd get an assistant GM job or something(goodbye Conroy), I'd doubt that is the case. I don't see Hartley wanting to be a placeholder, I think he wants to be the guy and the long term guy

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#9 Luc
May 31 2012, 10:28AM
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Being 23 I wasn't paying much attention to coaching systems when he was in the NHL. Can anyone describe his "style"??

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#11 RonR
May 31 2012, 10:34AM
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A disappointing development for sure. Hartley does not know any of the players, has been out of the league for 5 years, and at least I don't know what his record is in situations where there are major changes in the roster.

This seems to be all about hiring a friend, and as I know in my own business career, friends are not necessarily the best business partners.

I hope that we can keep Troy Ward, but I wouldn't be surprised that he has phone calls from elsewhere. Very disappointing.

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#13 Domebeers.com
May 31 2012, 10:40AM
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I keep seeing people going with the line "Bob Hartley is a winner!"

To which I reply: "Brent Sutter is a winner!"

Shoulda hired Ron Wilson.

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#14 Derzie
May 31 2012, 10:43AM
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Sounds like this move will eliminate the need for one-way forwards. How does Jarome survive this one? They have to move him.

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#15 Ed Ward
May 31 2012, 10:43AM
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Not a huge fan of the hiring. I was hoping for someone younger who really embraced advanced stats. Thats not to say Hartley doesn't/wont but it would've been great to see a young face come in and revitalize this team. Hartley just seems like more of the same.

That being said, I'm willing to give Hartley a shot and will reserve judgement until at least the end of the season. I have been a huge fan of the work Feaster has done so far and I am willing to trust him on this one.

On a side note, Feaster must really believe Hartley is the right guy. The best reaction he is going to get is "meh, he's ok" and a large portion of the fanbase will be up in arms over the hiring. Whatever goodwill Feaster built up with his good moves so far he used up with this hiring. If it doesn't work out, expect the calls for Feaster's head to be loud.

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#16 Reg Dunlop
May 31 2012, 10:43AM
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I think Hartley is a good hire for this edition of the flames. When MK,JI and OJ get ru-upped, a veteran laden squad led by a veteran loving coach... it fits. Also, good news for Oiler fans hoping for a BOA sweep next year.

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#17 Ryan Pike
May 31 2012, 10:48AM
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He's a re-tread, but so were a lot of the other candidates. If you're gonna hire a re-tread coach, you hire one with a Stanley Cup ring, I suppose.

But then again, he's flamed out of the only other NHL jobs he's had. But it's taken him five years to do so in each market.

A bit disappointed it's not Troy Ward, though.

@Kent. I had heard that Hartley had an "out" in his ZSC Lions contract to go to Calgary, Montreal or Quebec.

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#18 nolan moore
May 31 2012, 10:48AM
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@Kent Wilson

Aw crap! That's the last type of coach this team needs. Again shows up Feaster doesn't know hockey, just hiring a buddy. Don't think ward is right. Needs time. I think this will spell the end of iggy. I guess another 2 years out of the playoffs.

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#19 Parallex
May 31 2012, 10:54AM
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Since I don't really have any memories of Bob Hartley I'll ask the same questions that I posed in the Sullivan topic...

Can anyone describe his coaching style in detail (i.e. more in-depth then "Defense First", "Players Coach", "Hardass" and all the other cliche adjectives)?

How does he match lines?

Does he use zone start as a line assignment determiner?

Do his teams use a dump-and-chase entry or do they try to carry it in?

Does he ride one goalie or does he share the workload?

How often (if at all) does he dress a goon?

What kind of forecheck do his teams use(1-2-2, 2-1-2 etc)?

A description of his teams on the powerplay?

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#20 Nolan Moore
May 31 2012, 11:00AM
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my thoughts on interview decision process. Feaster: Hey hes my kids Godfather, he's gold Weisbroad: Sounds good. A Godfather will make the players an offer they cant refuse. Conroy: (sipping a coffee) Can't remember him, sure. Feaster: That's it, i dont know the other guys so we'll hire him. Weisbroad: Can he coach basketball too. Wish i was back in the NBA. Conroy: Do we have any sugar left?

Yup non hockey guys running hockey, that a recipe for success.

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#21 Ryan Pike
May 31 2012, 11:01AM
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Swiss media is reporting that Hartley's erstwhile assistant, Jacques Cloutier, will be joining him in Calgary.

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#23 Kevin R
May 31 2012, 11:10AM
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I wanted a new fresh change as much as anyone, but the market just doesnt support the wholesale changes to happen overnight & Ownership & Management arent into the Kablooey approach. Therefore, guys like Ward & Sullivan or Eakins are going to initially hit roadblocks with the vet core & either trigger yet another coaching change or firesale of some star players. Hartley, being Feasters guy, wont have to put up with that crap in the dressing room. So it's the beginning of the end for the old star core. If players are not coachable, Feaster isnt bringing in a guy from Switzerland & I'm sure Hartley, who had options, wouldnt have accepted the position to run into that garbage. Wolf should be happy, I see this as the prelude to Iggy being traded.

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#24 Luc
May 31 2012, 11:14AM
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Nolan Moore wrote:

my thoughts on interview decision process. Feaster: Hey hes my kids Godfather, he's gold Weisbroad: Sounds good. A Godfather will make the players an offer they cant refuse. Conroy: (sipping a coffee) Can't remember him, sure. Feaster: That's it, i dont know the other guys so we'll hire him. Weisbroad: Can he coach basketball too. Wish i was back in the NBA. Conroy: Do we have any sugar left?

Yup non hockey guys running hockey, that a recipe for success.

Non hockey guys? Weisbrod helped construct the Stanley cup winning boston bruins ( with tons of potential to do again I might add ) and Conroy was a player no less then 2 season ago..... Not sure what exactly qualifies as a "hockey guy" in your books.

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#25 gussey
May 31 2012, 11:16AM
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What a brutal move. I gave feaster a chance, but I'm done. I heard tsn and sportsnet talk about what a blah coach he is. These flames seem like the late 90s when we were hiring wierd coaches like pierre page, there was no direction and no hope. That's what this is. Wait for the trade of iginla for the same kind of thing we got for regeher.. This sucks on so many levels

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#26 Danny Gray
May 31 2012, 11:16AM
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Oh jeez. Nepotism FTW.

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#27 suba steve
May 31 2012, 11:32AM
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Not sure why it is so shocking that a GM would hire someone he is familiar/experienced with. It's not like this is just some guy who grew up across the street from Feaster. They know each other from being in the hockey business together. They had success together.

If this in any way indicates that Iggy is on his way out of Calgary, then I am giving my support, at least for now. I reserve full judgement on this hire till I see what comes of it. Good luck Bob, I loved your TV show in the 70's.

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#28 beloch
May 31 2012, 11:56AM
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From the Edmonton journal profile:

"Less than two years after winning it all, Hartley was canned after a slow start for the Avs. He left the team with a 193-108-48-10 record as head coach."

"About a month after being fired, Hartley landed in Atlanta as the new head coach of the Thrashers. He helped the team to a much better record in the second half of 2002-03, but the next year ran into some adversity early, as Dany Heatley was injured and teammate Dan Snyder killed in a September 2003 car crash. While 2003-04 was a disappointment, the next two seasons would see the Thrashers post their best-ever performances under Hartley, including the club’s first ever playoff run. Hartley was fired after an 0-6 start in 2007-08 (during which time the Thrashers’ save percentage was an ugly 0.869) but still posted a decent career record as Atlanta’s head coach (137-118-13-24)."

From a globe article (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/flames-hire-bob-hartley-as-new-head-coach/article2448465/):

"One month later, Hartley was appointed head coach of the Atlanta Thrashers. He guided the young Thrashers through four seasons of steady improvements but it was the 2006-07 campaign in which they won their first Southeast Division title, setting new franchise records for wins and points with a 43–28–11 record, good enough for 97 points and third seed in the Eastern Conference. The team also clinched its first playoff berth in franchise history. A slow start for the Thrashers in 2007-08 season resulted in Hartley and the club parting ways. "

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Hartley doesn't sound like a guy who flamed out of two NHL jobs and was rightly banished from the league. He just had bad luck with two slow starts, one of which seems to be largely caused by a goalie slump. Seriously, who fires a coach after an 0-6 start? That's simply not smart. I'd expect that of Montreal!

Yes, it's concerning that Feaster went with the guy he knew, like Dutter would have, but how would going with another guy he knows from his own farm team be any better? Age is not a predictor of ability to understand stats. It's entirely possible that, in addition to embracing advanced stats, Hartley has picked up new tricks from coaching on a different continent. The team appears to have cash to spare and coaches don't have a cap-hit. Also, he must have balls of steel or an insane degree of confidence to be willing to step into Calgary right now. This year's team is not likely to be an easy team to coach to any large degree of success!

I'm not disappointed. Yet. The proof is in the pudding.

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#29 T&A4Flames
May 31 2012, 11:59AM
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Swell!

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#30 everton fc
May 31 2012, 12:01PM
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This will make or break Feaster. Obviously.

I was hoping we wouldn't get a re-tread. But we have. Perhaps he'll do for us what Hitchcock did for the Blues. Perhaps.

They have to promote Ward. Is they dump Hartsburg, or keep him as an assistant (not associate) and move Ward to an associate role... Then one would think Hartley is an Asst. GM candidate, to groom Ward. I wonder if we'll see this materialize?

Certainly a let down of sorts, but I always had a feeling Feaster would go back to his past. He did w/Modin, Richards, Jones...

Habitual. Which scares me.

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#31 RonR
May 31 2012, 12:15PM
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They must be screening the comments on the Flames site. So far every comment (all 9 of them) is positive!

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#32 Big Red
May 31 2012, 12:20PM
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Funny, I didn't know he was an American. This is a moot point until we get rid of Iginla and change the culture. Refer to Playfair's comparison of Iggy and Shane Doan as captains.

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#34 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:24PM
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RonR wrote:

They must be screening the comments on the Flames site. So far every comment (all 9 of them) is positive!

I don't think it is that terrible of a choice, it looks bad, as in nepotism but overall it isn't terrible.

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#35 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:24PM
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Big Red wrote:

Funny, I didn't know he was an American. This is a moot point until we get rid of Iginla and change the culture. Refer to Playfair's comparison of Iggy and Shane Doan as captains.

Iggy is going this off-season, I sincerely think he is and at his inclination.

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#36 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:26PM
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The best part of this hire to me is that it helps quell the Feaster as Puppet GM talk.

This hire is all Feaster, no way King or Murray held his hand on this one.

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#37 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:27PM
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Big Red wrote:

Funny, I didn't know he was an American. This is a moot point until we get rid of Iginla and change the culture. Refer to Playfair's comparison of Iggy and Shane Doan as captains.

Hartley isn't American. He was born in a small town in Ontario on the Quebec border, French is his first language...

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#38 shutout
May 31 2012, 12:30PM
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I would have hired Mike Sullivan myself. I think that Hartley is another coach that fills the same mold of coach that the organization has had for what seems forever.

King, Page, Brian, Hay, Gilbert, Darryl, Playfair, Keenan, Brent, and now Hartley all have that hardassed mentality of my way or the highway type coaching. I dont see a change in the expected outcome for the team from the last few years.

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#39 Tach
May 31 2012, 12:30PM
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I will say this, while it may be nepotistic, I don't see this as being a King/Edwards signing. If they truly wanted a coach they could "bend" as per Dreger, I would have thought Ward was the guy.

As for all this stuff about coaches using advanced statistics - precisely what use would you have them make? More particularly, what use of advanced statistics would you have him make that you know for sure prior Flames coaches did not?

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#40 shutout
May 31 2012, 12:34PM
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Sounds like Jacques Cloutier is going to be the assistant coach based on the Lions website.

http://www.zsclions.ch/index.php?id=62&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1837

question is whether or not he is going to be the assistant coach that Lowry vacated or is he just a goaltending coach?

is there room on the coaching staff for Eric Veilleux who was the head coach of the Shawinigan Cataractes. This article sounds pretty high on Veilleux and he would be a good young coach to bring in to help balance the coaching staff. But would he have only been an option if Hartley had gotten hired in Montreal as opposed to here in Calgary?

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Montreal/2012/05/28/19809351.html

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#41 Bikeit
May 31 2012, 12:35PM
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Well he had to hire somebody and this one works for me. He has good experience, good relatonship with the Manager which i think is more important than people realize.

Seem like this hire is the flames are still going for it and keep doing the soft rebuild. Defense first coach that can implement the right system with the limited tools he has.

Only time will tell

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#42 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:36PM
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Is this thing going to start soon or what, I don't know how much longer I can handle that low pitched howl on the audio feed...

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#43 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:38PM
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Thank god, they stopped it. I was going deaf...

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#45 suba steve
May 31 2012, 12:41PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah, but then you had to listen to Rome, worse than any high pitched howl.

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#46 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:50PM
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Hmmm, new culture and identity coming for the Flames from Hartley ? Interesting comment, to start...

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#47 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:52PM
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Definitely no rebuild coming : (

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#48 Justin Azevedo
May 31 2012, 12:55PM
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@Tach

zs%, corsi and quality of competition stats

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#49 Mitch2
May 31 2012, 12:55PM
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Owners had to sit with Feaster to meet with Hartley, Edwards just had to meet him and get to know him *sigh*

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#50 Dion
May 31 2012, 12:56PM
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I heard Hartley said himself that he uses advanced stats? Does he?

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