When new head coach Bob Hartley went to look for a new member of his coaching staff, he didn’t look very far. On Thursday afternoon, the Calgary Flames officially announced that former NHLer (and former Flame) Martin Gelinas was joining the club as an assistant coach.
By sheer coincidence, Gelinas lives in Calgary and remains in touch with Flames captain Jarome Iginla and assistant to the general manager Craig Conroy. Gelinas met with Hartley earlier this week and was offered the position soon afterwards.
"It was my first meeting. It was a very good meeting. It was about an hour and a half. He went over a lot of stuff and [after I] came out [of the meeting], I had a good vibe," said Gelinas.
According to Flames general manager Jay Feaster, Gelinas was the only person interviewed for the vacant coaching position. He joked that earlier this month, Hartley flew to Calgary to find a place to live for the season and signed a contract to rent the first house that he and his wife looked at.
"What Bob said to me, ‘This is my guy, this is my coach," said Feaster. "What he lacks in the experience of being behind the bench as a coach, he said he more than makes up for in the other things that [Hartley was] looking for. One of the big things is the ability to communicate, the ability to connect with players, the ability to have the respect of the veteran players in that room."
While Gelinas’ role will be different than some may have anticipated – he’ll be an all-around contributor and will focus on improving the club’s special teams performances – he’s also a guy that has experience both with the Flames older core players and as a development coach with the Predators. That experience may make him the ideal resource for NHL and AHL players dealing with demanding head coaches in Bob Hartley and Troy Ward.
"Bob I’m sure will be hard, but he’ll be fair," said Gelinas. "Sometimes they won’t like what they hear. My job after that is to make sure they understand why this is happening. You know what, nobody’s mean in this business, I don’t think. We all want to win. We all want to make a difference. It’s just to be sure they understand why this is happening. That’ll be my job and Jacques’ probably after that."
Other Notes From The Presser
– Gelinas has signed a three-year contract with the Flames.
– Feaster confirmed that both goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk and video analyst Jamie Pringle will be back next season.
– Feaster noted that the scouting staff will begin arriving in Pittsburgh for the draft on Sunday and continue to work their list. As with last year’s draft, the Flames will be “drafting their list.”
– Finally, Feaster said that while he feels the club doesn’t have the assets to move up in the draft, he’s open to potentially moving down if the offer is right. He didn’t say what would tempt him to move his pick, but noted that he believes the Flames can recoup their lost second rounder.