Martin Gelinas returns to Calgary



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.

  • MC Hockey

    Feaster feels they can recoup their lost 2nd rounder. I’m curious to see how that can happen.

    No problem with Gelinas coming in. I’m actually anxious to see if this group of coaches can get a response from our current roster…I am pessimistic that many changes will occur other than a few players being allowed to explore free agency. The thing I do like is that the head coach was allowed to hire his own coaches, unlike when Darryl was here and he made those decisions while GM.

  • MC Hockey

    Great this Gelina hiring is confirmed and sometimes it is nice & easy but still risky to hire “friends” or those with simlar cultural or playing backgrounds. But in this case, I am all in favor given the man’s character, Gelinas will be the buffer between Hartley and the players I think. Glad to see Malarchuk and Pringle back, seem to be decent coaches. I don’t know if Feaster is just “blowing smoke” with the “we will likley only trade down” stuff. He does not want to tip off media and us to his real plans. Yakupov! (or not)

  • I’m actually really excited about this group of new coaches. While my first choice would’ve been Mike Sullivan, I think as a whole, this will be an interesting group to watch.

    Whether or not they make any difference because the team is complete crap is another thing.

    But not a bad group of coaches. Not bad at all.

  • Ken V.


    “Feaster feels they can recoup their lost 2nd rounder. I’m curious to see how that can happen.”

    Pretty easily, he trades his first round pick for a lower first round pick and second round pick. It’s generally not something I like to see.

    I wonder if he’s got someone in his list ranked higher then consensus in the 8-14 range(Jankowski?).

    • 15w40

      Fair enough and I’m in agreement that’s it’s not something I’d like to see. Would rather see them trade up but they don’t have the assets to do that this year.

  • MC Hockey

    @JF – I’m with you in that I usually don’t like to see that either. To me it just indicates that a team isn’t really sold on anyone and that they treat the draft as a complete crapshoot.

    On the other hand, in drafts like last year and this year it means you could do it and end up looking good if you keep using your extra picks to swing for the fences and those picks work out.

    But there is no real consensus in this draft, so you also risk missing out on players you like by gambling that they’ll fall.

  • MC Hockey

    Very exciting, great to the gelinas back.

    As far as feaster, I get a feeling he is talking to tampa about vinny l.. He mentioned yzerman in the fan 960 and all their draft picks. I don’t know why, but I just really feel something like that might happen. Hope not, that cap hit is brutal.

  • everton fc

    Feaster picks up Vinny L and this whole youth rebuild stuff is smoke.

    Move Kipper to Tampa and pick up sone solid youth. Maybe even a pick. But don’t take Vinny. Please!

    As for moving our first to get a lower first with a 2nd, anyone like Tom Wilson as a lower first (still like Emil Lundgren; with a deep group of d-men in the draft, we might still get a decent one in the 2nd round, as well)

  • everton fc

    I am not a fan of the trading down idea–not in theory, though my opinion could change awful quick depending on who they end up taking. For example, I’ve seen Pontus Aberg slipping in a lot of mocks lately for some reason. then of course there’s this Jankowski guy I keep hearing about.

  • RKD

    I’ll play party pooper. Although I like Gelinas, how does this help the Flames?

    Is this a window dressing move? Everyone keeps reliving ’04, however in the past few years it feels like that run has become somewhat of a curse.

    Everyone has been trying to distance themselves from that miracle run. Yet, management hopes to squeak into 8 and ride Kipper the whole way.

    After the lockout, four first round exits and now three years of no playoffs should be telling enough to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Fix the on ice talent, a hire like a JD would really mean a hockey guy taking care of hockey operations. Not some newspaper tycoon who has no clue how to ice a winning team. They have to go back to the mentality of winning division titles or being in the top 4-5.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Pretty excited to see “the eliminator” back with the club. He is a fan favorite and was also a very popular guy in the locker room. Hope he can be the bridge between the players and the coaches.

    On the contrary, this is just another move which shows that Jarome Iginla kind of dictates pretty much everything. I have a feeling that Iginla had a big hand in this hiring, via Craig Conroy. Sad but true, this club will be what Iginla wants it to be. Rest assured, next season we can be guaranteed of watching, on a regular basis, him standing on the opposition’s blue line waiting for the puck to be fed and then going on a breakaway only to turn around empty handed. This will happen on a nightly basis.

    Very disappointing…I was one of the biggest Iginla fans (I also had his name as my screen name on a different website), but to see a stand up guy like that control a whole franchise is very disappointing. I guess, I’m going to be a disheartened Flames fan for years to come.

  • BurningSensation

    FirstNameUnidentified:”Very disappointing…I was one of the biggest Iginla fans (I also had his name as my screen name on a different website), but to see a stand up guy like that control a whole franchise is very disappointing. I guess, I’m going to be a disheartened Flames fan for years to come.”

    Just so I have this straight, the Flames hold a presser where the coach talks about how jacked he is to hire his own guy without interference from the GM and you think this is a sign that Iginla is pulling the strings to guarantee himself a cherrypicking role?

    I mean, wow. Just wow.

    • First Name Unidentified

      Wow…I mean just wow….

      I wish I was as naive as you are. I would be jumping up and down like a 5 yr old right now, thinking how bright the future is for this hockey club.


    • The new guy thrown under the bus, eh?

      As far as Gelinas’ relationship with Conroy and Iginla, he admitted both at the presser and on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (TM) that he’s friends with the captain, but also that they both understand where one role (friends) ends and the other (coach/player) begins.

      But Feaster also made it 100% clear that it was Hartley’s hire. Nobody else was interviewed and Harltley was reportedly very happy with Gelinas’ interview. It seems like it will be a very cohesive coaching staff (between Hartley, Gelinas, Cloutier and Malarchuk) and hopefully that will make implementing whatever changes Hartley wants to make easier.

  • Let me be the first to note that signing a NCAA or European free agent COULD be perceived as recouping a lost second round pick.

    The signing of Turner Elson last summer, for instance, was framed as getting a guy they would have drafted had they had the picks to do so.

    So don’t necessarily expect Feaster to make a big trade to get back a second rounder.

    But he always could.

    • Ken V.

      Darryl tried that line when he signed Cameron… I didn’t buy it then either. I prefer to think of it as them basically getting an additional 7th round pick (being undrafted by everyone afterall) with some obvious exceptions (Schulz).

  • I’m not ecstatic about Hartley by any means, but I cannot argue that he’s got the cred to have the job. It has to translate to on-ice success or anybody they put behind the bench doesn’t matter. I want to see some changes to the player roster.

  • Was mentioned the other day that because this UFA is so thin with teams in need, Calgary just may get lucky & trade Joker for a 2nd. With his NMC, the fact he waives to make the deal shows intent he would sign with the team giving uo the 2nd. I’d pee my pants if Feaster pulled that one off.

    I think this coaching staff looks great. Some gut feeling is telling me Iggy is in the process of deciding if he wants to stay in Calgary knowing that his new coach is a task master & extremely demanding. I think success on the ice spawns from the fitness & conditioning Hartley expects from these players. If Iggy commits & buys in, I think we will see more elite performances from him. Big decisions are coming. I’m stoked because I do not see the same ole same ole this upcoming year.

  • What I found interesting was the comment Feaster made about the spring meetings and the arguements/discussions about ranking smaller players because the orgranization already has a number of them and you cant build a whole team of smaller players. According to Feaster the philosophy was spelled out that it does not matter about size, it is about skill, explosiveness, and character. Makes me think that they could have Collberg ranked higher in their list. Because he is ranked lower on most public lists that the Flames could drop 5-10 spots and pick up draft picks and still get him.