More on the Bob Hartley hiring



The Flames officially unveiled new head coach Bob Hartley on Thursday afternoon. I attended the press conference and have some notes in the aftermath. (More can be found over at The Hockey Writers, especially regarding Troy Ward):

PC Notes

– When asked about coaching a veteran club, it was mentioned by both Feaster and Hartley that he’s coached a bunch of big stars (Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Ilya Kovalchuk were specifically named) and also coached Calder Trophy contenders. Feaster mentioned that he’ll be able to help guys like Sven Baertschi and Lance Bouma become every-day NHLers.

– Asked about his style, Hartley mentioned that he likes to get to know his players as human beings first, then worry about how to push and motivate them. One reporter mentioned his previous nickname ("Bob Heartless") from Colorado, and Hartley admitted that he’s a very demanding coach, but that he’s also human.

– Both Feaster and Hartley explained that Troy Ward will be relied upon as a resource for the organization and that they expect him to be heavily involved in training camp. He’ll probably be behind the bench for some pre-season games, too. Lots of praise for the Abbotsford coach. (After the presser, Feaster indicated that it was very close between Ward and Hartley.)

– Hartley agreed to a three-year contract. Troy Ward is entering the second year of a two-year contract (with a club option for a third year.)

– Hartley confirmed that he had discussions with Montreal about their head coaching position and made up his mind recently that Calgary was where he wanted to coach. In his contract with the ZSC Lions, he was able to exercise an "out" clause to explore offers with Calgary, Montreal or Quebec. Feaster had a lot of praise for the management of the Zurich club, which gave him a window until June 1 to come to an agreement with Hartley and negotiate compensation for their club.

– ZSC Lions assistant coach Jacques Cloutier, who also coached with Hartley in Colorado, was released from his contract in Zurich. He’s expected to join the Flames once a contract can be agreed upon. Feaster indicated that Hartley will meet with associate coach Craig Hartsburg and goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk shortly and "see if there’s a fit." No timeline was given for finalizing the coaching staff.

– Hartley has already begun to contact players to get to know the group prior to training camp. He hopes to speak with all of the team’s players by the end of this weekend. He noted that he’s going to meet in-person with Jarome Iginla, joking that if they discussed everything he wanted to discuss over the phone, they would "run out of minutes."

– Beyond the announcements, the atmosphere was very light. Hartley was cracking jokes. At one point, a photographer lost his footing and fell over, prompting Hartley to declare "that’s two minutes for diving."

Overall, The mood in the Saddledome seemed to be cautious optimism. Hartley has a fairly strong record as a coach and he usually does fairly well for his team early on, as evidenced with strong showings in his first few years with Atlanta.

  • I saw RDS report a three year deal yesterday, but today I was listening to the FAN960 morning show, and they had Brunt on, and Brunt said the contract was for five years.

    Google says it is for three years. Anybody know if it is five or three? Five would be an insane contract, so I’m assuming it is three.

  • RexLibris

    The contract is for three years.

    Regarding his preferred style of play for teams he coaches, a number of blogs mentioned Hartley prefers a shut down defensive style but at yesterdays’s press conference he said he will coach entertaining wide open hockey. Much obviously depends on the players he has to work with but does anyone have views on his signature style?

  • Entertaining hockey eh? That could go two ways. The 90’s Flames were entertaining, but that’s because every game ended in a brawl. The 2011 Kings are entertaining because they play good, high energy hockey.

    Which is it going to be? Only time will tell.

  • The out clause in Hartleys contract is an interesting one. I know some people are going to beat it to death as Hartley knew he was being hired before he was ever hired and Sutter was a lame duck coach. But you got to look at the other side. Zurich wasn’t going to let him have a giant out clause, so Hartley picked 3 teams(1 non exsistant funny enough) that he very good suspicions could require a new coach at the end of the year, as well that he would have a good shot at landing the job. His true desire was returning to the NHL, he was going to pick jobs he knew he would have a shot at should they come out, as a French speaking individual the Montreal job was wide open and there was already speculation before the season the coach was in trouble. And the Feaster connection is easy. To me that speaks to smarts that Hartley might have rather than a wink wink behind the scenes deal.

    I’m still not that impressed with the hire, again there were a lot worse candidates out there, Ron Wilson and Marc Crawford standing out and there are others that could have been nice such as Sullivan in NY, However he may have wanted to stay out East and is willing to wait for an oppurtunity there, but this just seems to be more of the same, I’ll wait to see on the results and would love to proved wrong.

    The biggest thing to me from the press conferences, is that Feaster has pretty well decided on the Free Agents he will want to keep and informed some they will not be back, I’m hoping we here soon a bunch of signings and more on which guys won’t be back *COUGH* JOKINEN *COUGH*.

  • Bob Cobb

    Sounds like he coaches Flames hockey. They already play a system where they get outshot by almost a 2 to 1 margin and depend on their goalie to steal games.

    I like where he mentions he coached teams that had superstars in the past, my one question is how does that apply to the Flames?

    He also says he will make the Flames Cup Contenders,…at least the guy has a good sense of humor, God knows he’ll need it.

  • T&A4Flames

    @ Bob Cob

    Didn’t the Oilers GM promise last year that their team wouldn’t finish last place? I guess he accomplished that. Maybe the next coach will promise not finishing 29th or 30th. 28th seems like an adequate Oiler goal. Keep following that plan and the Oil will be cup champs again in… carry the 2… 28 years. YEA!!! Go Oil!!

  • RexLibris

    @Kenta and Kent Wilson

    I wonder if Hartley will employ a hybrid style then. Wide open, entertaining hockey for away games, and defensively minded, 2-1 games for the Saddledome.

    I’m not certain that he’ll want to actually open things up for the Flames once the season starts. The roster, as it stands today, isn’t one that inspire confidence in that approach.

  • RexLibris


    Sun columnist Terry Jones who guaranteed that the Oilers wouldn’t finish last in 2010-2011. His bet was that he would eat his words at Rexall center ice with sour cream and lemon.

    He did it and thereafter refused to offer another prediction regarding the Oilers’ season outcomes.

    Tambellini has never guaranteed anything in terms of finishes. Delays, yes, finishes, no.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Why is everyone so down on 5 year deals? I think it would be good for the Flames by finally letting the players know who is in charge and that the coach is not going anywhere.

    Otherwise, it’ll be the same old thing. 2 years to adjust to the new systems and then the last year as a lame duck or bought out.

    Hartley has won everywhere, even Switzerland, so we’ll see how he does. I am worried that he’s been out of the league for 5 years, but I don’t think any coach will change things here.

    Obviously a buddy hiring and I would’ve prefered Sullivan, but basically I’m *meh*.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Did anyone else notice after watching the presser that the whole thing is turning into a sales show/pitch? They are all salesmen getting together to run a hockey franchise. The new guy totally was in a sales mode and Feaster is becoming more of an annoying salesman.

    Its all about sales, at the end of the day, I guess. *sigh

    • Parallex

      Not gonna lie, the ‘Feaster is fat’ jokes are getting really old, and are pretty low. He has a cup ring, which is more than you or I could say. So if we are or arent gonna poke fun at him, let it be for the moves he makes as the Flames GM, because that’s what he gets paid for.

      • hark65

        This type of comment is the exact reason I can’t be a part of this blog. If there’s a moderator (as it says there is at the bottom), I’m wondering why these types of personal attacks are allowed?

        The last time I was on here when the season was winding down for the Flames, there were several comments directed at Charlie Simmer which were absolutely brutal.

        I’m going to cancel my account and leave this crap to the lesser lights on here (which seems to be plenty).

  • Parallex

    I wouldn’t put to much stock into the whole “entertaining” comment… I mean what’s he supposed to say? “By the time I’m done with this team the people of Calgary will contemplate buying tickets to watch paint dry”. Not saying he’ll coach one way or the other, just saying that the answer he gave is the proforma media answer. It’s what he’s expected to say regardless of whether it’s the truth or not. Leaving that aside entertaining is really a subjective term and ultimately I doubt he could be more boring then Butter was.

    Now on to this bit…

    “I’m not certain that he’ll want to actually open things up for the Flames once the season starts. The roster, as it stands today, isn’t one that inspire confidence in that approach.”

    Did he actually say “wide open” I heard him talk about uptempo but didn’t hear wide open… granted I didn’t watch the conference just saw clips and read reports. And what do you consider “Wide Open”.

    Secondly, Why not? We’ve got some good offensive forwards (Cammy, Tanguay, Iginla) and most of our defensemen would more accurately be described as puckmoving rather then physical shutdown and a goalie capable of making unreal saves (even if he’s prone to a softie or two). Seems like a team built more to run wide open games then one suited to run grind’um out tight affairs.

    Really the only thing I see the Flames needing to play a more wide open game is another quality defensive forward to feed D-zone starts to so that we don’t have to have Iginla doing it as much as he did last year.

  • First Name Unidentified

    @ Parallex – Flames are terrible when they open it up. Not enough scorers, not enough guys who want to come back deep and not enough youth and speed to open it up.

    That’s where the real spin is, “opening it up” is just PR for the fan base. Unless Hartley wants to lose 70 games this season, any experiment in playing pond hockey will be short-lived. Brent could’ve done a few things better, such as zone starts and sheltering our ‘superstar,’ but opening it up was not one of them.

    I actually heard a guy call in on teh fan yesterday who was comparing Kipper, Iginla and Gio to Quick, Kopitar and Doughty. Thought they were just as good. Thinks the Flames are as good as LA. With fans like that, who needs a team?