Random Thoughts - Let's Talk Hartley

Kent Wilson
December 03 2013 10:24AM

 

 

There isn't a lot to talk about in Flamesland these days. The injuries have piled up and, predictably, so have the losses.

Perhaps the primary bone of contention is the coaching, thanks to Bob Hartley's predilection for controversial or at least counter-intuitive choices now and then. The focus on the Flames bench boss will likely increase in the wake of Scott Parker's recent accusations in the Denver Post, to say nothing of the continued scratching of assets like Sven Baertschi.

- In case you missed it, former Avs enforcer Scott Parker was recently interviewed by Adrian Dater because he is suffering from post-concussion symptoms. During the interview, Parker claimed that Bob Hartley was a bully of a coach who constantly threatened to send him down and demanded he play through injury:

"He would call me a (expletive), say that Hershey (the Avs' former minor-league affiliate) would be my next stop, where I'd be 'smelling chocolate fumes all day long.' I remember I thought I had a broken foot and told him about it, and he called me a (expletive) and said Hershey would love me," Parker said. "Nobody needed to question my commitment to doing my job. But I was just constantly belittled by Bob Hartley. I really have no respect for the man."

Hartley, now coach of the Calgary Flames, declined to comment when informed of Parker's remarks. The pressure Parker describes might not be as prevalent in today's NHL, as fewer teams employ a self-described "enforcer," but it still exists.

"If you're hurt, it doesn't matter. You're made to think 'I have to fight, or I'll lose my job,' " Parker said.

To some degree I'm guessing this describes the general treatment of fighters in hockey - all of them exist on the fringes of the roster and need to "justify" their existence by playing through pain and dropping the gloves.

That said, this accusation has to be at least somewhat worrying for Flames fans. While it can be argued that NHL coaches have used aggressive tactics to push and motivate their players since time immemorial, it's also obvious that this brand of discipline can alienate players and should be used strategically and sparingly at best. 

It's also worrying because Hartley has begun to turn the stink-eye on a couple of the organization's younger assets in Mikael Backlund and Sven Baertschi. We don't know what's going on behind the scenes and if Hartley is giving similar tongue lashings and ultimatums to them as he did to Parker, but it would be terrible to see one or both of them soured by a placeholder coach.

- Related: I call Hartley a placeholder because I don't see him sticking around beyond his initial contract with the club. Most coaches don't outlast extended rebuilds and I haven't seen anything on the ice in his first 60-or so games that would suggest he is above average relative to other bench bosses. The team is about as bad as one would expect, his need to have an enforcer dressed every night is archaic and indefensible and it's clear he likes to play favorites with his roster decisions, sometimes to the detriment of the club. Of course, all coaches obviously play favorites to some degree. It's just that the best coaches preferences also tend to more or less line-up with reality, however. Hartley, however, seems to grade on a steep, subjective curve.

- The series of starts given to Reto Berra during November has to be one of the most bizarre string decision making I've seen in the NHL this year. Beginning November 3 and stretching to Nov 29, Berra played in 11 games, which means Hartley used him almost exclusively. The Swiss goalie managed just four quality starts over that period and currently sports an .888 SV% - both of which are terrible results.

Berra struggled qualitatively as well. Although he made a few highlight reel saves during that period, he also had obvious problems on a nightly basis: tracking pucks through traffic, over-committing on initial plays and frequently losing his net.

It's entirely possible these are the struggles of a talented guy who is just trying to find his feet at this level, but Berra's performance is in practice not materially different than the play of many of the guys the team has banished since they began to look for Kipper's replacement (Leland Irving, Joey MacDonald and Danny Taylor). What's more, the organization has an alternative in Karri Ramo who has better results in a better league and is signed for an extra season after this one, whom Hartley ignored for an entire month of play.

To be fair to Hartley, Ramo had his own struggles at the start of the year, but then again, Berra hasn't really done anything noteworthy to be granted such a high degree of confidence.

- I've defended Mikal Backlund a lot the last few years and I bristle at his treatment at the hands of Hartley this year. That said, Backlund's offensive game has gone backwards so far this season, particularly in the last week or two.

At his most tentative, Backlund gets rid of the puck way too soon when he's in the opposition's end, usually throwing prayers at the net from the shallow end of the offensive zone. Last year and the beginning of this season he was starting to hang on to the puck with more authority, even driving the net and looking for ways to deepen the cycle. He has looked exceptionally nervous recently to my eye, however, and a lot like the kid who was surprised to find himself on NHL ice a few years back.

Backlund has the raw skills that should help him get results, but it's pretty clear he's never going to be a true point-getter at this level. He's better than he's shown recently though and his struggles aren't simply because he doesn't always get to play with good players in offensive situations.

Backlund is good enough at other things like positioning, skating and anticipation that he's almost always useful, but he'll never get over the hump in this org without a least some offensive bite to his game.

- In one way, the above observation may vindicate Hartley's ambivalence towards Backlund this year. In another, they are an indictment of the coach - Backlund's game has regressed under Hartley's tough love this season and if this coaching staff has one key objective guiding their efforts this season, it should be to develop and improve guys like Backlund. Not push them backwards.

- I am growing more and more fearful Hartley has taken a genuine dislike to Sven Baertschi and the organization will have to make a choice between the two down the road. Baertschi has some gaps in his game to be sure, but the Hartley seems quick to punish and slow to reward the youngster this year. If this is a tactic desgined to make him a better NHLer then so be it, but I have visions of Greg Gilbert and Marc Savard dancing in my head with each new healthy scratch.

Picking coaching over exceptional talent has a way of blowing up in a franchise's face sometimes.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
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 the-wolf
December 03 2013, 11:52AM
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Hartley is an idot and should be fired. I gave him the benefit of the doubt earlier on, but his tactics are having the reverse effect.

We're in a rebuild, so play the young guys, don't destroy them.

The confidence Backlund had from playing in Europe has now been compeltely undone. I still say he has enough offensive ability along with everything else we know about him to play as the defensive conscience between two skilled wingers on the 2nd line, but even if he's only a 3rd liner, fine, he's an amazing 3rd liner and only 24. Why are we running himout of town?

Kent took the words right out of my mouth, but I've stated the example in previous posts as well. Baertschi vs Hartley is just Savard vs Gilbert. St. Louis is another guy never given the minutes, never given the opporunity to play with other top players or on the pp, run out of town for being too small. It's crazy.

Seriously, this is madness. We're in a F$#^#%&$%@#$^&^@#$%!!!!!!! REBUILD!!!!!!!!! and our most talented and celebrated prospect of only a year ago (and still 2nd behind Monahan) is being jerked around while our best possession player who is a 24 year old center can't even earn quality minutes with Stajan hurt.

Hard to "earn" more minutes when you're never given a chance. No wonder the confidence of both guys is destroyed. Who wouldn't have their confidence destroyed under those conditions? McG over Sven during a rebuild, it's beyond ludicrous.

And playing Berra like he's Patrick Roy in his prime during the middle of a Cup run, what the hell? Any casual observer can see the guy swimming all over the ice, made to look like a foolish amateur, sporting terrible numbers, deflating the play of the entire team and Harltey runs with him???

Damn it, why aren't these article being written in the MSM? Hartley needs to be fired NOW! What is Feaster thinking? Oh yeah, that's his boy and their wagons are hitched.

How much comes from BB, if any I don't know, but both of those morons need to be let go yesterday.

Problem is, BB is buddy-buddy with Feaster and will give him too much slack which Feaster will then pass onto Hartley. One giant Flaming circle jerk.

If the Oilers overplayed their youngsters, Calgary is surely doing even more damage in the extreme opposite fashion.

Watch our cap space, already not used during the Iginla and JBo trades, and apparently not planning to be used in any trades for picks/prospects this season, go to some "post-apex" FAs this summer or in some disaster of a trade this season in order to try and get the club back to 8th.

Can Hartley before he completely ruins the rebuild we all had to wait for for way too long to get in the first place and do it now!

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#2 cunning_linguist
December 03 2013, 11:34AM
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At the beginning of the year, I would have fought tooth and nail for Baertschi to stay with the big club. As the season has progressed, however, I'm starting to think the Flames should consider sending him down to Abby if for nothing else than to protect him from the coaching of Bob Hartley.

Hartley's gotta deserve some credit for the start he's given this club, wins/losses aside, I think most Flames fans would agree as far as entertaining/somewhat competitive hockey goes, Hartley's got about as much juice out of this stone as a coach could get.

That said, his handling of any prospect not named Sean Monahan has been suspect. I still believe Baertschi is an important piece of this franchise moving forward. The more I look at players like Kadri, Vey, Toffoli, Neidereiter and now guys like Ryan Strome over in Bridgeport, I just can't help but think, selfish-desire-to-watch-Sven-on-TV aside, the best thing for him and for this club moving forward is to go down to Abby, play 20 mins a night, play for a team that's winning, play 1st PP, play top line minutes, play in the dang playoffs. Arguably better than protected 14mins a night in NHL, and 100x better than sitting in press box.

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#3 kittensandcookies
December 03 2013, 12:28PM
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If Ron Wilson gets hired here, I will be forced to write some strongly worded letters to the Flames'.

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#4 Nighteyes
December 03 2013, 01:03PM
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Does anyone think Troy Ward would be a good coach at the NHL level? I personally really like the guy, and he seems to be the type that is good with working with players in terms of development. I honestly thought he would Calgary's next coach after Brent Sutter parted ways.

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#5 sathome
December 03 2013, 10:49AM
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I saw Elliotte Friedman draw some comparisons between Nino Niederreiter with NYI and Sven with the Flames. I really hope the Flames don't keep making the same mistakes the Islanders made.

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#6 scottn
December 03 2013, 12:25PM
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Not sure if the vitriol being spewed Hartley's way is completely justified. The majority of posters complain about not giving Sven ice time (he gets over 14 mins) and he is not outplaying the other LW's on the team that are taking his ice. He only has 2 goals....while the talent is obvious, it is also obvious that he needs more seasoning (in the minors). Then the same posters bemoan Hartley for giving a goalie a chance. He gives Berra 10 games and in a couple of them he was pretty good and Hartley is an idiot for not giving the ice to someone else. I was glad to see him try and give Berra a chance to learn the NHL game now lets see if Ramo can carry the load. While I don't love watching the losing, I am not sure what ANY coach could do with this group...

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#7 clyde
December 03 2013, 11:59AM
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Scott Parker shows he has no respect for Hartley in his description of him. I believe it was Hartley who gave Parker heck for taunting Bob Probert as a rookie. Probert did not hold back in a fight and gave Parker a concussion. Hartley commented that he hoped that would teach Parker a lesson. All coaches have issues with some players. Lemaire and Robinson were critical of Scotty Bowman, Pat Burns threw an ashtray at John Kordic. It will be interesting to hear if more players come forward to support Parker or to support Hartley.

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#8 TRAV
December 03 2013, 01:25PM
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A good article that is sure to generate page hits and debate.

Is it not sort of par for the course to turn on the coach part way through the rebuild? From my perspective things are sort of as I would have expected, though we are able to compete with top teams much better than I ever could have imagined.

Fair to criticize Hartley's handling of Baertchi. Though it is sort of like naming someone guilty without all of the facts. We simply do not know what is going on at the team level. (This still does not justify his sitting from my perspective. I agree with others who have suggested AHL is best place to learn.)

I also am nervous about the team's use of Backland. Again I don't think he is as good as some here would suggest not do I think he is as bad the team seems to think. He is being given a prime opportunity right now so the onus is on him.

I have zero problem with Hartley playing the heck out of Berra. This keeps getting brought up as a negative. I think that this is exactly what you do in a rebuild. Run with a guy to determine his value/ability. Most goalies will concede that this is a good way to get a feel for the net and establish a rhythm. Now what we need to do is give Ramo the same opportunity to find a groove. Let's use this year to evaluate our crease so that we know what we have and what we need.

Let's also not forget that under Hartley Brodie has developed into a top minute eating d-man. He plays well at both ends of the rink and his ceiling keeps going up. Monny has come into the league and prior to injury was in the running for Calder. When was the last time we had a young player come into the league and look so solid? He is 19 and his numbers were up there with some of the top players in the league. Colborne has improved significantly in his short time with the team. Faceoff numbers are improving and he is showing increased confidence with the puck and an ability to play in all zones. Plus sick moves on shootouts.

Team culture- This team works hard nearly every game. They have to if they want to compete. It is so much more fun to watch a team that doesn't quit and competes hard. (mostly) Having watched years of Flames hockey where the give a damn factor was pretty low this is a huge improvement that is essential if we want to be successful into the future. (This was neglected in Edmonton's past and is now what they are hoping to create. Much tougher after guys are established NHLers.)

In short (well not that short I guess) when evaluating Hartley lets look at both the good and bad. Would another coach really help this rebuild to be further along, or players to develop more effectively? Perhaps but after 65 games things seem about where I would have expected. Some good and some meh... I haven't seen anything that makes me want to hit the panic button and fire the coach. I also don't think we should nominate him for the Jack Adams...

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#9 wineeditor
December 03 2013, 04:40PM
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WRT the Parker's interview slamming Hartley one must always remember there are two sides to every story. If Hartley did "bully" Parker there is no defence but everything must be taken in context re the situation and the specific player involved (see the next quote .... saying something in a gentle fashion doesn't always work with all players ). I personally have no problem with Hartley refusing comment. He cant win. If he said it I hope he has learned from his mistake and there wont be a repeat because as a society we have evolved.

From Wikipdia (and again I have no frame of reference so take it for what it is worth.)

"In an interview with milehighhockey.com, Parker defended Bertuzzi and spoke disparagingly of Moore, being quoted as saying "he (Moore) always thought he was better than everybody else. He went to Harvard, you know what, blow me. College grad. I never went to college, but I can kick your ass. I'll bring you right down to my IQ level if you want. I'll hit you about four times in the skull, that'll bring you right down"

I'm confused.... who is the bully? If Parker did say this maybe Hartley was more "colorful" in his language to make a point.... again no defence but lets look at the context and who Hartley was talking to).

WRT Hartley and Baertschi: With the wingers we have I don't think I would be placing him on either the pp or pk on a regular basis.

Looking at Even Strength Minutes if you take away special teams and 4th line minutes the average ice time for a forward would approximate 14 1/2 minutes (being the remaining 3 lines). Baertschi averages about 12 3/4 while even Monahan is only 13 1/2. Those aren't bad for a rookie feeling his way in the NHL. (Bart is about a shift per period off the average)

More importantly, if you are of the belief that Hartley is singling out Baertschi wrongly look at those even strength minutes for the 3 games following each of his healthy scratch games. An average forward would still be getting, after taking away special teams and 4th line minutes, about 14 1/2 minutes while Baertschi got 14 1/5 minutes while Monahan got 14 minutes. At least Hartley doesn't hold a grudge!

Unless you are of the belief that Baertschi should be taking pp time from our experienced forwards (Glencross and Sempniak specifically but also Hudler and Cammy) then good luck trying to resign any of them for next year and watch out when returning forwards and UFAs either want out or refuse to come to Calgary in the off season. Rebuilding is one thing but taking time away from established players will only hurt the cause both on the ice and bringing in new players.

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#10 Colin.S
December 03 2013, 12:58PM
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Hartley is only part of the bigger problem IMO. It's obvious now that he hates playing younger players aside from the Flames shiny new first rounder. McGratton and company could get hemmed in the Defensive zone, have who knows how many shots/scoring chances against but as long as no goals were scored they come back out for a regular shift. Backs or Baertschi give up the puck in the offensive zone after 30-45 seconds of great cycling and generating shots, benched for the rest of the period.

Colborne has been Hartleys favourite pet for whatever reason, but he's done NOTHING to deserve it. Both Baertschi and Backlund have made bigger contributions top this team, but it's Colborne who gets more PP time than either of Baertschi or Backlund, maybe if they got more PP time they would get more points??

I think the biggest issue is the disconnect between PoHO(president of hockey ops)/GM/Coach. THe PoHO has an idea of the team he want's going forward and I don't think it's the same one the GM was building towards(Less rebuilding talk more winning now). The GM meanwhile hired a coach for a team that doesn't exsist(A team that's competing for a playoff spot with a solid veteran presence). And the coach is running his lines/players like this isn't a team that's gonna get younger and worse for the next couple years. He doesn't seem interested in young players period.

What I hope happens is Baertschi is demoted, he isn't going to learn anything here, while it seems guys are doing really well under Ward. And then I hope that Flames do so poorly that they can Fire Feaster/Hartley just for the fact that at this point almost anybody else will be an upgrade.

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#11 SVENSANITY
December 03 2013, 01:52PM
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What is with the BURKEITIS.. Something goes wrong blame Burke? Hartley was Feaster's guy and he was hired under a delusional belief that Flames could still be competitive with the Iginla's and Bouwmeester's.

Look. I'm just basing the next few sentences off of observations and how Ken King operates. But, I don't think Burke would have been hired as PRESIDENT of Hockey OPS a pay grade above GM to be a placeholder for Jay Feaster only to take over when the time is right. IF they were going to use Burke as a place holder they'd have hired him like they did Feaster to be an executive on Feasters level and then promoted him when they fired Feaster.

I honestly believe Burke has resigned himself to a different role. Burke is a smart business mind and he knows hockey. With the rumours of the arena project, the continuing growing of sports entertainment, including the acquisition of the stamps having a guy like Burke available to run the Flames day to day operations and possibly get involved in the arena and future negotiations for naming rights that arena is simply a good business move. Trust me with all this money being thrown around through Edmontons new arena and Rogers buying the rights and naming rights the Flames will definitely be announcing something very soon. I am confident this is and will be part of Burke's future role.

That being said there's no reason to think that Burke won't eventually fire Jay Feaster and hire his own GM and everything will cascade down from there. Including Hartley.

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#12 Burnward
December 03 2013, 04:59PM
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Awwww, poow wittlw Scott Pawker.

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#13 Veggie Dog
December 03 2013, 11:01AM
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I agree with what you have said about Backlund, I used to be grumpy about his handling, but he is not doing himself any favors this year with his play. In his case Hartley's disdain might be somewhat justified. In the case of Sven though, he is quite bit younger, and he needs a damn chance without being benched.

If Hartley can't separate his feelings from doing his job properly, then we should think about getting rid of him. His top priority absolutely has to be handling prospects and helping the rebuild. If he thinks sitting Sven every other game is accomplishing that, or that some sort of personal dislike is infecting his decisions, then he is not doing his job.

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#14 RexLibris
December 03 2013, 11:50AM
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Hartley has long been considered a "veteran's coach" but the comments from Parker speak to something a bit more sinister.

Were I a Flames fan (knock on wood) I think I might be more concerned about the coach who follows Hartley.

Brian Burke is going to be the next GM of the Flames. Perhaps by draft day this year, or sometime this summer in an orchestrated management reshuffling that moves Feaster off to become Special Consultant to Hockey Operations on the Eastern Seaboard.

Hartley was Feaster's hire, and likely won't be on after his contract is up. But Burke showed a disastrous reticence to fire his last head coach Ron Wilson, someone not all too different from Hartley in many respects, in Toronto. He then replaced him with Randy Carlyle, another coach with a reputation of being better suited to veteran rosters than rookies. This despite his declaring that the Leafs would rebuild using a variety of means outside of the draft and bringing considerable numbers of young players into the Maple Leafs' system.

So if Burke is the next GM, and given his history of coaching hires and past strategies for rebuilding franchises, can anyone suggest that the next coach will be a dramatic improvement over Hartley?

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#15 RickT
December 03 2013, 12:57PM
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I wonder if they could (or if they would) experiment with Backlund on the wing. I've brought it up before, because it worked well in Sweden. If they decide that he's not going to be one of the top three centres - why not just play Byron or Reinhart (or Knight, or, or, or) as the 4C, and Backlund on the wing while we have some guys out to injury?

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#16 Derzie
December 03 2013, 02:18PM
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"Of course, all coaches obviously play favorites to some degree. It's just that the best coaches preferences also tend to more or less line-up with reality, however. Hartley, however, seems to grade on a steep, subjective curve."

- Great comment. Bang on.

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#17 please cancel acct
December 03 2013, 11:54AM
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IMO B Hartley is a old school coach that would fit in well with a veteran group.In past interviews he has spoken about thinking in black and white terms, and how that has served him well.I can't see how that belief can be successful on a rebuild..

Backlund has moved backwards and does appear to playing desperate hockey.I agree with those who believe the coach has has done little to improve the game of Backlund and Baertschi.

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#18 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 04 2013, 09:39AM
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everton fc wrote:

Yes. He was my hope, as well. But you have Feaster here. Hiring his friend (godparent to one of Feaster's kids). Not unusual in life, I suppose. But Hartley is not the kind of coach you need in a rebuild, with kids.

Ward is. He's proven he can assess and develop (Ferland, B. Jones, Ortio), or dump (Howse, Aliu) kids based on their committment to the game and living as professionals. It is what it is.

It also works.

Why have Hartley "develop" Baertschi? Madness.

Colborne could use a bit of Troy G. Ward. But my feeling is this is now Burke's team. Which may prove disasterous.

I love my Flames. I can't stand Burke. Funny, too, that Feaster may end up getting the same treatment as Darryl, Feaster being brought in to "assist" Sutter, and now Burke being brought in for what appears to be the same reason.

I bet the Oilers would trade Yak strait up for Burke right now.

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#19 FireOnIce
December 03 2013, 11:17AM
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I just don't get why the Flames would trust the opinion of a, as stated, very obvious placeholder coach. When you draw up a long-term plan, you take the coach's opinions into account, but you should already be planning on dumping him (unless it's a Bowman or something). Don't put all your trust in how one guy develops your young guys, especially if he won't be around long enough to see the actual fruits.

It's too bad Scott Parker never punched him in the face. Like he said, some little wussy coach who only ever played Junior B used to push him around - Hartley is lucky he never got face punched by his own players.

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#20 Graham
December 03 2013, 12:24PM
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Hartley was essentially hired to coach a veteran line up, but that is hardly what he has ended up with. He is the kind of coach that will reward good play, but it’s pretty hard to put 'good play' in the same sentence as Sven or Backlund. A big chunk of the blame for not performing has to be put on the kids, not the coach.

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#21 Denscafon
December 03 2013, 03:03PM
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I honestly think that both Burke and Hartley have been quite detrimental to both Backlund and Baertchi.

Burke traded for Joe Colborne when he was GM of Boston so he likes the guy and ever since Colborne was acquired by calgary (most likely heavily influenced by Burke) Backlund's TOI and linemates has diminished to 4th line duties. Last year even under hartley I don't think we ever saw backlund play 4th line minutes. Yes we have Monahan this year but to move Backlund down for Colborne is extremely suspicious of Burke having influence in that decision even though as many have noted that Colborne has done nothing statistically to prove he deserved it.

For Baertchi, I think its a bit of both Burke and Hartley again. Burke said in his initial introduction he wants Grit, size, and physical play for the flames. This is something IMO Feaster seemed to go away from during the draft choosing players that were all more hockey IQ and skill over size (other than kanzig haha). Burke also criticized Baertchi's play near the beginning of the season and with Hartley not wanting to play young guys over vets has put Baertchi on the bench more than he should be.

These decisions by Hartley and I believe influenced by Burke has been extremely painful to watch. I won't be surprised Backlund will be dealt sometime this year and won't be surprised if he becomes a quality 2nd line center on another team that doesn't crush his confidence in healthy scratches and demoted to 4th line duties with enforcers as line mates. If baertchi is always threatened to be healthy scratched, it may indeed be better for him to play in abby instead and gain his confidence back up.

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#22 everton fc
December 03 2013, 04:07PM
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Nighteyes wrote:

Does anyone think Troy Ward would be a good coach at the NHL level? I personally really like the guy, and he seems to be the type that is good with working with players in terms of development. I honestly thought he would Calgary's next coach after Brent Sutter parted ways.

Yes. He was my hope, as well. But you have Feaster here. Hiring his friend (godparent to one of Feaster's kids). Not unusual in life, I suppose. But Hartley is not the kind of coach you need in a rebuild, with kids.

Ward is. He's proven he can assess and develop (Ferland, B. Jones, Ortio), or dump (Howse, Aliu) kids based on their committment to the game and living as professionals. It is what it is.

It also works.

Why have Hartley "develop" Baertschi? Madness.

Colborne could use a bit of Troy G. Ward. But my feeling is this is now Burke's team. Which may prove disasterous.

I love my Flames. I can't stand Burke. Funny, too, that Feaster may end up getting the same treatment as Darryl, Feaster being brought in to "assist" Sutter, and now Burke being brought in for what appears to be the same reason.

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#23 Craig
December 03 2013, 05:22PM
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I started out this year on Hartley's side big time because of how hard the team played at the start of the year. But as the year goes on I just feel deeply frustrated by the team.

My biggest worry is that a lot of this is led by Brian Burke... That's an even scarier thought than it just being Hartley.

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#24 The Last Big Bear
December 03 2013, 06:39PM
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The scratches are baffling. The line combos are baffling.

But giving Berra an extended look, regardless of results, is exactly what a rebuilding coach should do. And it's exactly what everyone is calling for him to do with Sven.

Meanwhile, Sven is getting 13-14 mins per night, in a slightly sheltered role, with about 60% OZone starts. Those are exactly the kind of minutes I would want to see for him. So other than the scratches, I think the actual TOI he's getting is perfect.

Backlund is getting boned. He really just needs to forget about defence for a couple games and put the biscuit in the basket a few times, because if he doesn't prove he can produce he's going to be flipped for spare parts.

Frankly, we just don;t have enough information to say whether Hartley is doing a great job or a terrible job. Chances are the truth lies somewhere in between. Which is all you can ask from a guy who really is a placeholder coach.

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#25 Nighteyes
December 03 2013, 12:43PM
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The projected lines up are on the Flames website for tomorrows game. Backlund is on the second line centering D.Jones and Hudler. Baertschi is on the wing with Colborne and B.Jones. And Ramo is starting (thank the lord). Who wants to bet those lines will change 5 minutes in to the game and Colborne will be given 20 minutes of ice time because Backlund didn't score a hat trick in the first period. Oh, Giordano is in the line up! Does anyone think they might have rushed him?

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#26 jakeryley
December 03 2013, 12:57PM
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I hope Burke being brought in as a more subjective overlord would prevent the organization from siding with an out of date coach, but I'd be surprised to see the Flames push Hartley out.

Mistakes will be made during this rebuild, and I can't help but fear and feel that Baertschi and Backlund will be the first of many made.

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#27 Colin.S
December 03 2013, 01:04PM
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@Nighteyes

Yeah I can't believe he's going to be back already. I have no idea why they would rush him though. At this point, simply due to the strength of the Western Conference, we are not going to make the playoffs, so why do we need him back?

So we can have worse draft pick? Because having him back in the lineup will magically turned around the flames fortunes? Because we need to show off the illusion of trying our hardest to make the playoffs or something???? Quite honestly they should give him time off to make sure it's 100% ready to go. I mean today they said he's a game time decision tomorrow, that doesn't sound like a guy that's 100%, why would they rush him?

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#28 jonahgo
December 03 2013, 02:45PM
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Nighteyes wrote:

Does anyone think Troy Ward would be a good coach at the NHL level? I personally really like the guy, and he seems to be the type that is good with working with players in terms of development. I honestly thought he would Calgary's next coach after Brent Sutter parted ways.

i like this idea--they should give him a shot and evaluate his performance based on the progression of the younger players.

i think hartley's style (at least as it's presented in the parker piece) is increasingly archaic and out of touch with where the league is heading. but unfortunately, his style is very much in line with that of burke and the ownership...

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#29 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 03 2013, 03:56PM
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If you ask me,

Feaster (or Burke?) traded JACKMAN for zero return simply because it was the only way to get the coach to quite playing Jackman (and McGratts) together, instead of one of the young players like Baertchi and Backlund.

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#30 Colin.S
December 03 2013, 04:36PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Flames refuse to release Monahan for the World Juniors.

Interesting. Had they indicated that this wasn't going to be the case earlier?

I honestly don't see the point, if you have been playing him against NHL competition all year and think he's making your team better, why would you release him to a competition that is not as strong as playing against NHL players, as well he has risk of being injured in a non-NHL capacity which would look all sorts of dumb.

Once he passed his 9 game limit the decision was already made, the only guy I saw an interesting decision to be made on was Seiloff if he was still in the AHL, but his injuries have made that decision.

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#31 BJ
December 03 2013, 05:35PM
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Well.... Im ready for Ward. Give him the remainder of the year to cement the system in Abbotsford then move him on up....

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#32 BJ
December 03 2013, 05:37PM
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Craig wrote:

I started out this year on Hartley's side big time because of how hard the team played at the start of the year. But as the year goes on I just feel deeply frustrated by the team.

My biggest worry is that a lot of this is led by Brian Burke... That's an even scarier thought than it just being Hartley.

I feel the same as you... Hartley has me worried... Burke has me worried... most of all i am worried that Ward will leave for a better position elsewhere

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#33 coachedpotatoe
December 03 2013, 05:43PM
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On my way home from work today I heard an interview with Stamps assistant Coach Dave D and it made a lot of sense to me; in it he said: "You can't treat every player equally but you can treat them honestly and fairly. Players know they have a role on the team and you can't tell the third string back up he can beat out the starter for the next game; they know it's lie." (The last part is not an exact quote but close to what he said)

If we are going to examine Hartley's treatment of Backs and Sven lets use that criteria.

Sven's first sit down was because they wanted him to play better in all three zones and better defensively. From my perspective I feel he responded reasonably well and has played better in all three zones on most nights.(he's minus 3, monahan is minus 7) Then they sat him again and from what I gathered they wanted him to play more creatively and again I thought he responded reasonably well. I don't have a clue what he was told since then. Is that being honest and fair? Only Sven and the coaching staff can answer that.

Back's is even more confusing. They tell him they want more out of him offensively and they play him with McG, hardly an opportunity to respond to there request. Meanwhile they say Colborne is likely to be a defensive center and play him in the 2 or 3 whole, is that consistent.

Ramo is another oddity; he win's the starting job out of camp and then becomes the back up. not sure the logic there. Berra is number out of camp and when he comes up is played as the defacto number one without having allowing Ramo a chance to be a number one. Playing once evey 4 or 5 games is not the pattern of a starting goalie.

So my question is has Hartley treated these 3-5 players fairly, many of us would doubt it. Has he treated them honestly only the players and the coaching staff can answer that one.

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#34 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 03 2013, 07:36PM
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wineeditor wrote:

WRT the Parker's interview slamming Hartley one must always remember there are two sides to every story. If Hartley did "bully" Parker there is no defence but everything must be taken in context re the situation and the specific player involved (see the next quote .... saying something in a gentle fashion doesn't always work with all players ). I personally have no problem with Hartley refusing comment. He cant win. If he said it I hope he has learned from his mistake and there wont be a repeat because as a society we have evolved.

From Wikipdia (and again I have no frame of reference so take it for what it is worth.)

"In an interview with milehighhockey.com, Parker defended Bertuzzi and spoke disparagingly of Moore, being quoted as saying "he (Moore) always thought he was better than everybody else. He went to Harvard, you know what, blow me. College grad. I never went to college, but I can kick your ass. I'll bring you right down to my IQ level if you want. I'll hit you about four times in the skull, that'll bring you right down"

I'm confused.... who is the bully? If Parker did say this maybe Hartley was more "colorful" in his language to make a point.... again no defence but lets look at the context and who Hartley was talking to).

WRT Hartley and Baertschi: With the wingers we have I don't think I would be placing him on either the pp or pk on a regular basis.

Looking at Even Strength Minutes if you take away special teams and 4th line minutes the average ice time for a forward would approximate 14 1/2 minutes (being the remaining 3 lines). Baertschi averages about 12 3/4 while even Monahan is only 13 1/2. Those aren't bad for a rookie feeling his way in the NHL. (Bart is about a shift per period off the average)

More importantly, if you are of the belief that Hartley is singling out Baertschi wrongly look at those even strength minutes for the 3 games following each of his healthy scratch games. An average forward would still be getting, after taking away special teams and 4th line minutes, about 14 1/2 minutes while Baertschi got 14 1/5 minutes while Monahan got 14 minutes. At least Hartley doesn't hold a grudge!

Unless you are of the belief that Baertschi should be taking pp time from our experienced forwards (Glencross and Sempniak specifically but also Hudler and Cammy) then good luck trying to resign any of them for next year and watch out when returning forwards and UFAs either want out or refuse to come to Calgary in the off season. Rebuilding is one thing but taking time away from established players will only hurt the cause both on the ice and bringing in new players.

sounds dam reasonable... hmmmm

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#35 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 03 2013, 07:39PM
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Don Cherry just spoke to me in my dreams.... he said, "Hartley is French!"

I hadn't noticed this before but now that he mentions it... ;-)

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#36 ChinookArch
December 03 2013, 09:21PM
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Hartley is a veterans coach and not a good fit for a rebuild. I hope Brian Burke us half as smart as he thinks he is, and seriously considers hiring Troy Ward as the next Flames coach.

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#37 coachedpotatoe
December 04 2013, 09:11AM
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Burnward wrote:

Fair enough. I just think these guys are pros for a reason.

Agreed, but that does not mean they have kept abreast of all the changes in coaching and sports pyscology, look how long it took for teams to get concussions even though the science had lots of evidence in the past. Also many of the older coaches were as much a process of timing, luck(who you know) and hard work rather than specific education and training. There is no doubt that Hartley works hard at his craft and that he knows his players better than any of us and we should give them credit for that. We also don't know all the backroom politics of the Flames. I think an organization like the Flames may actually get in the way of the coaches game plan. As a fan though I do have the right to be critical as long as I am rational. I take my coaching experiences, my understanding of the game, my love of my team and my desire for the rebuild to be successful before I make my comments. I don't think I'm one of the fans who is threatening to kill the coach or anything.

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#38 BJ
December 03 2013, 05:33PM
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Well.... Im ready for Ward.

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#39 please cancel acct
December 03 2013, 06:11PM
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SVENSANITY wrote:

What is with the BURKEITIS.. Something goes wrong blame Burke? Hartley was Feaster's guy and he was hired under a delusional belief that Flames could still be competitive with the Iginla's and Bouwmeester's.

Look. I'm just basing the next few sentences off of observations and how Ken King operates. But, I don't think Burke would have been hired as PRESIDENT of Hockey OPS a pay grade above GM to be a placeholder for Jay Feaster only to take over when the time is right. IF they were going to use Burke as a place holder they'd have hired him like they did Feaster to be an executive on Feasters level and then promoted him when they fired Feaster.

I honestly believe Burke has resigned himself to a different role. Burke is a smart business mind and he knows hockey. With the rumours of the arena project, the continuing growing of sports entertainment, including the acquisition of the stamps having a guy like Burke available to run the Flames day to day operations and possibly get involved in the arena and future negotiations for naming rights that arena is simply a good business move. Trust me with all this money being thrown around through Edmontons new arena and Rogers buying the rights and naming rights the Flames will definitely be announcing something very soon. I am confident this is and will be part of Burke's future role.

That being said there's no reason to think that Burke won't eventually fire Jay Feaster and hire his own GM and everything will cascade down from there. Including Hartley.

Burke declined the position originally, and stated that he was interested instead in being a GM.

Building arena's and negotiating deals with sponsor's has Ken King's expertise written all over it.

Edward's and King talked him into his current position, and you have to think there was more involved than Burke staying on the sideline.

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#40 Burnward
December 04 2013, 12:16AM
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Sven has to earn it. He's a nice player with great skills but isn't, by any measure, an impact NHL player yet.

As he learns the game we'll see his ice time increase. But for now he's not as good, consistent or reliable as the wingers ahead of him.

Until his compete level and consistency matches his skills...he's going to find himself fighting for top six ice time early in his career.

I'm almost hoping we trade him so this topic goes away. He's 20 freaking years old guys.

RELAX ALREADY!

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#41 coachedpotatoe
December 04 2013, 07:27AM
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Burnward wrote:

Sven has to earn it. He's a nice player with great skills but isn't, by any measure, an impact NHL player yet.

As he learns the game we'll see his ice time increase. But for now he's not as good, consistent or reliable as the wingers ahead of him.

Until his compete level and consistency matches his skills...he's going to find himself fighting for top six ice time early in his career.

I'm almost hoping we trade him so this topic goes away. He's 20 freaking years old guys.

RELAX ALREADY!

I think we all want Sven to earn his time. However many of think that he has made strides in his name, yes he still needs to improve a lot but so does Monahan, Bouma, and Colborne. What bothers me is when I see McG dress and play 2-7 minutes and drag whoever he is paired with to the same type of minutes while Sven and others are sitting in the press box. They could be playing and the team could rolling 4 lines and young players could be developing. Yes I think Sven can learn from the press box at times but I also think he can learn more on the ice most of the time.

The fixation on winning (on a team that will not make the playoffs) is one of the things that is baffles most of us. I get and want a change in attitude (no one is entitled and we need to compete hard every night) but it seems to bet the fixation of Hartley and this is one of the reasons why he is struggling as a coach in a rebuilding team.

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#42 Denscafon
December 03 2013, 03:04PM
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Sorry, Burke was GM of Toronto and traded for Colborne from Boston I meant

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#43 RexLibris
December 03 2013, 03:41PM
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Flames refuse to release Monahan for the World Juniors.

Interesting. Had they indicated that this wasn't going to be the case earlier?

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#44 beloch
December 03 2013, 04:47PM
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Burke and Feaster could nudge Hartley in the right direction by trading Colborne or Stajan. Backlund and Stajan are pretty much interchangeable, so trading Stajan would put Backlund in a great position without harming the team much, since Backs is barely being used right now. If Stajan stays, Colborne is probably worth more than a fourth rounder now and could be flipped for a profit instead, again clearing space for Backs.

If, however, Backlund winds up on the block, then we'll know it wasn't Hartley alone who fell out of love with the guy.

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#45 Craig
December 03 2013, 05:22PM
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I started out this year on Hartley's side big time because of how hard the team played at the start of the year. But as the year goes on I just feel deeply frustrated by the team.

My biggest worry is that a lot of this is led by Brian Burke... That's an even scarier thought than it just being Hartley.

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#46 Craig
December 03 2013, 05:22PM
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I started out this year on Hartley's side big time because of how hard the team played at the start of the year. But as the year goes on I just feel deeply frustrated by the team.

My biggest worry is that a lot of this is led by Brian Burke... That's an even scarier thought than it just being Hartley.

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#47 coachedpotatoe
December 03 2013, 05:44PM
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On my way home from work today I heard an interview with Stamps assistant Coach Dave D and it made a lot of sense to me; in it he said: "You can't treat every player equally but you can treat them honestly and fairly. Players know they have a role on the team and you can't tell the third string back up he can beat out the starter for the next game; they know it's lie." (The last part is not an exact quote but close to what he said)

If we are going to examine Hartley's treatment of Backs and Sven lets use that criteria.

Sven's first sit down was because they wanted him to play better in all three zones and better defensively. From my perspective I feel he responded reasonably well and has played better in all three zones on most nights.(he's minus 3, monahan is minus 7) Then they sat him again and from what I gathered they wanted him to play more creatively and again I thought he responded reasonably well. I don't have a clue what he was told since then. Is that being honest and fair? Only Sven and the coaching staff can answer that.

Back's is even more confusing. They tell him they want more out of him offensively and they play him with McG, hardly an opportunity to respond to there request. Meanwhile they say Colborne is likely to be a defensive center and play him in the 2 or 3 whole, is that consistent.

Ramo is another oddity; he win's the starting job out of camp and then becomes the back up. not sure the logic there. Berra is number out of camp and when he comes up is played as the defacto number one without having allowing Ramo a chance to be a number one. Playing once evey 4 or 5 games is not the pattern of a starting goalie.

So my question is has Hartley treated these 3-5 players fairly, many of us would doubt it. Has he treated them honestly only the players and the coaching staff can answer that one.

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#48 The Last Big Bear
December 03 2013, 06:43PM
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The scratches are baffling. The line combos are baffling.

But giving Berra an extended look, regardless of results, is exactly what a rebuilding coach should do. And it's exactly what everyone is calling for him to do with Sven.

Meanwhile, Sven is getting 13-14 mins per night, in a slightly sheltered role, with about 60% OZone starts. Those are exactly the kind of minutes I would want to see for him. So other than the scratches, I think the actual TOI he's getting is perfect.

Backlund is getting boned. He really just needs to forget about defence for a couple games and put the biscuit in the basket a few times, because if he doesn't prove he can produce he's going to be flipped for spare parts.

Frankly, we just don;t have enough information to say whether Hartley is doing a great job or a terrible job. Chances are the truth lies somewhere in between. Which is all you can ask from a guy who really is a placeholder coach.

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#49 Colin.S
December 03 2013, 07:22PM
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please cancel acct wrote:

Burke declined the position originally, and stated that he was interested instead in being a GM.

Building arena's and negotiating deals with sponsor's has Ken King's expertise written all over it.

Edward's and King talked him into his current position, and you have to think there was more involved than Burke staying on the sideline.

From the Burke presser: https://twitter.com/NHLFlames/status/375653797898375168

Burke already making personnel decisions and the ones Feaster wants to make, Burke has to personally sign off on as well before any decision can be made.

So Burke is more involved than just some helpful advice here and there. But yeah, he won't take over the GM spot when Feaster is fired(matter of when, not if), he'll hire a buddy to be the "GM" while he makes the actual moves in the background.

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#50 Chad
December 03 2013, 08:52PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

The scratches are baffling. The line combos are baffling.

But giving Berra an extended look, regardless of results, is exactly what a rebuilding coach should do. And it's exactly what everyone is calling for him to do with Sven.

Meanwhile, Sven is getting 13-14 mins per night, in a slightly sheltered role, with about 60% OZone starts. Those are exactly the kind of minutes I would want to see for him. So other than the scratches, I think the actual TOI he's getting is perfect.

Backlund is getting boned. He really just needs to forget about defence for a couple games and put the biscuit in the basket a few times, because if he doesn't prove he can produce he's going to be flipped for spare parts.

Frankly, we just don;t have enough information to say whether Hartley is doing a great job or a terrible job. Chances are the truth lies somewhere in between. Which is all you can ask from a guy who really is a placeholder coach.

No problem with the total ice time or the zone starts it is that Sven should be run out on the second unit power play every time he is in the line up. Currently he is 9th in total time and time per game among the forwards. I firmly believe that for the pure skilled players to develop they need power play ice time consistently with the extra time and space to show what they can do and to keep the confidence up.

Playing skilled rookies on the power play is something that the Flames organization historically does very poorly. The power play is not good anyway might as well see what Sven can do on it.

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