Breaking – Flames Hire Bob Hartley



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.

  • In a post-presser scrum, Feaster indicated that Troy Ward and Hartley were very close, but Hartley’s NHL experience and success put him over the top.

    He re-iterated how fortunate the Flames are to have Ward in the organization and believe he’ll be an NHL coach in the future.

    Hartley signed a 3-year deal. Jacques Cloutier was also released from his deal with ZSC Lions, but he hasn’t been signed to a Flames contract as of yet. Decisions on Malarchuk and Hartsburg will be made in the coming weeks.

  • Tach


    I don’t think you really do know that the coaching staff didn’t use those statistics, or some variant containing the same data that we don’t have access to. Nor do I think you really want the coach to employ such statistics. I would be very curious how you would suggest a coach ought to use corsi rates in terms of strategy.

    I suspect what you want is the coach to employ a specific strategy using Iginla in a particular situation which would be reflected in the results shown by those statistics.

    For all we know though, the coaching staff did look at those statistics(or more likely, more nuanced and detailed statistics reflecting possession rates that we don’t have access to) and determined that the strategy they were using still provided the best likelihood of success.

    Keep in mind, that in terms of usage you can control 2 of how much a player plays, who he plays against or how many shifts he starts on faceoffs in the offensive zone. And for every choice (I want to start Iginla-Tanguay-Cammalleri against easier competition in the offensive zone more, which results in playing them less) there is a concomitant reaction in other players’ ice time (So I will need to play every other line more, against tougher competition and more often in the defensive zone).

    I remain unconvinced that faced with such options, the Flames’ prior coaching staff did not make logical ice time allocations.

    • Gange

      Yeah don’t be fooled by the Kings though. They are NOT rabble. Darryl, who is a good coach, is the right person for that team.

      Don’t be mistaken though, they are a VERY talented team. I picked them final four before the season started. Mid season I was not nearly as confident. They are reaching the potential of what I thought they were.

      AND they decimated the Canucks! The kings twiiter feed said it best when they tweeted “To all canadians outside of BC, you’re welcome!”


  • Gange

    @Gange: With you Gange. Not excited about the hire but not all suprised or disappointed. Does it mean same old? Maybe maybe not. Jerome only has 1 year left on the contract, doesnt matter who the coach is, this scenario will come to a head & I still see big changes coming to this team. Just sit back & see how this unfolds.

  • MC Hockey

    Every coach a NHL-levels is a hard-ass in some way….so anyone thinking that means Hartley is like DSutter or Keenan is obviously not aware of his methods or personality. Nice generalization! Anyways…

    Flames could have picked up a non-winner who had less than .500 coaching record in the NHL and other places but he truly IS a winner. Lots of guys are suited to being NHL coaches but not all of them (e.g. Dave King) get tonnes of chances in the big league in North America…it takes the right connections and appreciation of the personality, talent, ane experience Hartley brings…and it appears at least one other team liked him. Finally, it seems that Colorado and Atlanta dumping him were not all his fault as players underperformed at bad times.

  • MC Hockey

    Great comments by Beloch to give better perspectives on Hartley’s past. I think the real fans and non-negative nellies (I cannot believe I said that) will support this hire.

  • Franko J

    Regardless who the Flames hired today there are many other issues surrounding this team which need to be addressed. First and foremost the roster. Skill, leadership, inconsistent play and accountability lack with this current roster. Tied to Sutters’ sins and bad managing, this is the first toe in the footprints that Feaster wants to make with this team.

    Slowly Feaster is building his team. Now with Hartley in place, Feaster’s attention will be on the roster. Like any good GM, it is time for him to obtain the players needed to be successful.

    If this current core/roster is still in place at the start of next season ( strike or not ) Hartley will be another speed bump in the road like Sutter, Keenan, and Playfair.

    This will be coach # 5 in seven seasons. With the hiring of Hartley what does this mean for Troy Ward? The other assistants?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Opportunity Missed.

    FN should have put out a poll for who readers thought Feaster would hire. Intellectual honesty, meritocracy, no in the end good ole fashion nepotism won out. Maybe it will work out?

  • zachg

    to be honest boys, im so sick of the negativity, you have no idea how hartley will manage, motivate or control his players. All we know hartley comes in and theres success. Or he comes in and the players are unresponsive. For a change i would enjoy the positive vibe of maybe we can start something of a upward trend instead of a downward. If it doesent happen… ohwell… Currently i live in toronto, LEAFS SUCK!!! but you know what??… there fans are very up beat and “hey maybe this year” ya theyre way off. But f**k man they are very supportive and i respect that a whole lot. they love theyre team!! maybe… if the fans can really rally behind theyre team it might help instead of analyzing every stat and complaining about every move. its hockey man either the team has it or doesent, But love your team…if im bit*hing, i dont care im just sick of those people that have nothin to say but negativity, imagine we made 8 spot u never know!!!!!!7
    i grew up in cgy and watched a crappy team..and still a die hard fan(3 when they won) i come back now theres a bar blah blah blah… just sayn GO FLAMES GO

  • Greg

    Marc Savard. Hartley took a guy we couldn’t manage and was able to work with him pretty well. Don’t know much else about him really but that does indicate he’s better than at least 1 coach we’ve had this millennium.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      although that one coach was greg gilbert so that’s not really saying much.

      and by much I mean gilbert’s probably the worst coach this organization’s ever had

  • zachg

    Thanks Glenn. I dont blame Feaster for going with someone you know & know what to expect & actually has had success. What I find totally positive is when I hear Feaster say the day he has to say goodbye to Hartley, they both will be packing their bags. I cant help but feel that this is the end of the clubhouse that burried coaches & were above what was best for the team. I like the fact that Hartley wants to have a long talk with Iggy. I’ve been saying this for a while, someone needs to talk to him & see if he wants to carry this team & lead by example or move on to a contender with the leadership already in place. I think Feaster is right that this team is not the scenario you want to start a young coach like Ward. I think short of a playoff run, Brent was destined for the road & Hartley was waiting in Switzerland.

    And speaking of Hartley coaching in Switzerland, what a great starting connection between him & Sven. I think now we’ll be seeing Kipper staying, Iggy traded & unless we get overwhelmed by an offer by Philly or Detroit, JBO will probably be put out there to see what could be had for a return.

    People wanted change, well guess what, we’re getting it, I for one am willing to give these guys a chance.

  • zachg

    Do you think the Flames will still trade one of Iggy or Feaster now? It didn’t sound to me at the interview like there would be much of a rebuild. I’m pretty sure Hartley said “I want to see our team being one of the best in the NHL” or something along those lines. PLEASE trade Kipper while we can get something for him.

    Hartley’s assistant coach, Jacques Cloutier is a goalie I think. Maybe this is significant if the Flames trade Kipper, he can help by concentrating on helping Irving. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into this. But I really do think that something needs to happen instead of just hiring Hartley and a new staff behind him. Let’s make some real changes this off-season.

  • Graham

    @ Graham: I’ll tell you Graham, at that King/Feaster session on Weds night, there were several people that criticized Iggy & I did not get the impression they were defending Iggy. If anything, they confirmed player changes were coming & they will be getting a feel for the market returns for “all” assets. If they feel it improves the club, they’ll do the deal. I guess define blowing up. I would say fire sale for as many picks & prospects as you can Tanguay, Iggy, Kipper, Cammi, JBO, Gio.
    Trading one or two of this group to improve the team is not a blow up.

  • RKD

    I’m not a big fan of Hartley, sure he has won at every level but that doesn’t fix the lack of on ice talent.

    Feaster wanted Hartley for a long time, so regardless of how much they like Troy Ward they didn’t hire him because he wasn’t the first choice.

    I dunno if Sullivan wanted to come to Calgary if he was offered the job. Only time will tell if this is a good hiring.