Jim Playfair Leaves for the Desert



After some rumors of a job offer last week, it’s been announced today that Jim Playfair is leaving the Flames organization to become an assitant coach for the Phoenix Coyotes. Playfair had served in just about every coaching capacity for the Flames organization, jumping from minor-league head coach, to assitant in the bigs, to head coach of the Flames, back down to minor leagues. He’s been with the organization since 2001, the year he guided the Flames affiliate St. John Flames to the Calder Cup.

Aside from the clip above, Playfair will be remembered most for the season he replaced Darryl Sutter behind the bench (2006-07). The Flames scored a bunch that year, but couldn’t really defend or play on the road and ended up being cannon fodder before the Red Wings in the first round. A lot of fans and analysts have wondered if Playfair caught the bullet a tad prematurely given the performance of the club and it’s other coaches in subsequent years, which is a fair question.

That said, I personally didn’t like the Flames under Playfair. They had one of the worst shot differentials in the league that season (-3.2/game) and only remained in the playoff race thanks to some nice percentages, touched off by career seasons for Daymond Langkow, Kristian Huselius and Jarome Iginla. Playfair wasn’t granted the best line-up in the league, but the shots against per game rose by more than three between him and Sutter and there’s no question Sutter was probably working with the lesser of the two squads.

On the other hand, I always thought Playfair was a good interview. He made clear, concise points, answered questions thoroughly and honestly and I usually agreed with the insight that he offered. He’s spent a lot of time paying his dues in various capacities here, so I certainly don’t begrudge him his opportunity in Phoenix.

Playfair’s departure adds another bullet to Feaster’s off-season action item list: Abbotsford Heat head coach. Any suggestions?

  • Thought he wasn’t interested in coaching unless it was a head coach position…?

    Seems like rats jumping the sinking ship. Would’ve been nice to see him on the big club perhaps as an assistant to Brent, but oh well.

    I too liked Playfair’s interviews, but more importantly, his raging, jacket removing, stick breaking outbursts during games!

  • RKD

    That footage is epic, Playfair goes beserk and does his best Hulk Hogan impersonation.

    Congrats to Jim. Under him the Flames had 30 home wins but were one of the worst road teams on the road. I still think Darryl should have stayed on as head coach for a bit longer.

    Apparently, there was a lot of buzz that the players did not like Playfair which is why he was replaced by Keenan. Veteran players supposedly approached Darryl to make a change.

  • With Dallas and Ottawa filling their coaching vaccancies today and neither hiring Deboer as well he hasn’t been tied to any of the other ones, he may be available. He may take an assistants job somewhere as well, but if he’d rather be a head coach I think the flames should look into it.

    • I mentioned DeBoer earlier on twitter, but then news broke he may be headed to Detroit with Bob Boughner to replace Paul MacLean and Brad McCrimmon (who’s headed to the KHL).

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    So Jimmy says that he only wants to be a head coach, then he takes a job as assitant under a Coach of the Year candidate with a different orgnanization that is currently owned by the league waiting for a new owner.

    A new owner probably means a new GM, which usually means a new coaching staff, which means serious instability unless they keep the Coach of the Year, which means Jimmy stays as assitant at best.

    The only thing that makes sense to me, given the above, is that Jimmy was only hanging on here waiting for Butter to follow Dutter out the door. When he didn’t, and then an Associate Coach (read replacement) was brought in, the writing was on the wall for Jimmy. No NHL head coaching position for Jimmy in Calgary. Might as well get some sun and watch how Coach of the Year does things.

  • icedawg_42

    He wasn’t going to get a head coaching gig in Calgary, and rare to jump from AHL to head coach in a different NHL organization – he probably saw the shortest road to an NHL coaching job was to leave this organization

  • icedawg_42

    Wasnt a big fan of his while he was here. Thought he was more of a good Assistant coach than anything. But the Flames really jerked this guy around, picked him up from St. John as an assistant, gave him the head job, demoted him back to assistant then demoted him to Abby. Im surprised he stuck around this long.

  • Any chance the Flames could coax Kirk Muller into taking the head coaching position in Abbotsford?
    I have heard he has done a great job of developping younger players in Montreal. Plus if we do go for a full out rebuild after this year, he would be a great candidate to come in and take over from Brent.