Bob Hartley may be out of the woods

When we closed out November, there was an undercurrent of dread among those of us that follow (and cover) the Calgary Flames. The team was not good. The roster? On paper, it was good. But the team had failed to coalesce as anticipated, and as a result the finger-pointing had begun.

The most common person facing the blame for the team’s underwhelming play? Reigning Jack Adams Award winner Bob Hartley, Calgary’s head coach.

However, two factors have combined to probably save Hartley’s job – at least for now. First, Calgary’s won a lot recently – albeit usually in ugly, unconventional, and frustrating ways. When December began, the Flames were 9 points out of the playoffs and tied for last place overall. Today, the Flames are tied for a playoff spot and 5 points out of last place. 

But arguably more importantly, the nature of the coaching staff that Hartley has cobbled together has insulated him somewhat from an in-season firing. Because of these factors, he may be out of the woods.

The Flames’ coaching staff consists of five individuals: head coach Bob Hartley, associate coach Jacques Cloutier, assistant coach Martin Gelinas, goalie coach Jordan Sigalet and video coach Jamie Pringle.

Pringle is the lone holdover from the prior coaching regime, having been hired prior to Brent Sutter’s last season as Flames coach in June 2011. The majority of the coaching staff came together in the summer of 2012: Hartley was hired in May, followed quickly by his erstwhile sidekick Cloutier in June and the hiring of the relatively inexperienced Gelinas later that month. Sigalet was hired as goalie coach in Abbotsford in August 2011 and promoted to replace Clint Malarchuk in August 2014.

Here’s the question: if you fire Hartley, who do you also have to necessarily get rid of?

If the reason you axe the head coach is because the special teams aren’t very good, you probably should necessarily also eliminate the Hartley lieutenants that run those systems. In addition, Cloutier and Hartley are a package deal – they coached together in Colorado and Zurich – so if Hartley leaves, Cloutier probably leaves, too. And given that Gelinas has only ever worked with Hartley, there may be a degree of loyalty there as well. (And given how much Calgary’s goaltending has struggled this season, a new head coach would probably also mean a new goalie coach.)

And the second question emerges: if you fire Hartley, who is there that can step in to right the ship? Ryan Huska is only in his second year as coach of the Flames’ AHL affiliate, and the on-ice results have been fairly mixed between Adirondack and Stockton. Huska is still learning to be an effective professional coach, and from a resource development standpoint it’s probably not smart to rush him into the NHL. So if not Huska, then who?

The Flames are winning games now, something they weren’t doing before. And even though they’re winning games in bewildering, frustrating fashion, the fact that any coaching change in Calgary would probably need to be a complete overhaul of the staff and the challenges of making such a wholesale change mid-season has probably taken some of the heat off of Hartley. For now, he’s probably out of the woods.

But I wouldn’t rule out a change happening in the off-season should the current coaching staff be unable to correct any of the foundational structural issues with the team’s play – especially their defensive-zone structure and their inability to play effective special teams hockey.

    • cberg

      Good point. I think there is a huge gulf between the actual team’s management and this, or for that matter, any other Fan blog out there. Look at it this way. This site, FN, gets what, maybe a hundred or so people commenting, perhaps much more reading but still relatively few in the grand scheme of things. The Flames regularly get 20,000 or so out to every game, way more on TV. Its not even close really. We may believe we have the pulse of the team, or are providing some unique or insightful analysis but I doubt it really. Compare FN to Flames from 80 Feet, for instance. We quote Darren Haynes all the time, but I can’t remember EVER seeing FN quoted elsewhere.

      Just the way it is. Fun, maybe insightful, but perhaps not really too impactful….?

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Don’t forget: this is an advanced stats hockey blog only……..everyone on here absolutely adores advanced stats!

        Hardly a random sample of fans…

        WW

    • piscera.infada

      I think it’s tough to argue that when a team is in last place in the entire league, the coach isn’t on the hot-seat. I will agree there’s a huge different between being on the hot-seat and seriously in danger of being fired though. I never thought Flames management would seriously consider firing Hartley, even if there wasn’t a turn around, but the start would have to plant a seed in management’s head.

      I still believe that seed has to be in there. If the Flames were in any other division in hockey, they would be substantially out of the playoff race. In the central, they’d be 8 points out of the division and 6 points out of the last wild card. In the Metro, they’d be 8 out (7 out of a wild card), and in the Atlantic they’d be 8 out (6 out of a wild card. None of these factor in that they’d have to play divisional games against teams outside of the weak pacific as well.

      Granted, you play in the division you play in, and you play the teams you play. The Flames, however, will still have to improve upon where they are though for Hartley to truly be out of the woods.

      • KACaribou

        I typically enjoy your well though out responses on this site, but here’s my take on the teams start to the season.

        I see BT as a very hardworking and astute, albeit “green” GM. I’m not sure if it was his or Hartley’s idea to re-sign Ramo, but irregardless it was ABSOLUTELY BT’s responsibility to ensure the team does not start the season with a “3 ring circus” at the goaltending position. When Hartley was asked in the middle of the summer what he though of starting the season with 3 goalies he said: “is not good”. When this was re-visited in late summer when it was inevitable the team would start this way, Hartley said: “is our situation so we will deal with it, make the best of it” (apparently BT had a deal in place that fell through, etc.– chalk it up to a rookie mistake and a learning experience…and no, I don’t think BT should be fired either).

        BT also takes a calculated risk by waiving ‘lil Paulie Byron (the possession darling, that little engine who could, the teams Rudy, Hartley’s poster boy for “earned not given”). I’m willing to bet that losing Paul did not go over too well with Hartley or the room (hell I’m still shook up over it a bit). But what are you going to do? BT is the boss take it up with him.
        The team gets off to a horrendous start in the millieu of the 3 goalie monster: surprise, surprise.
        For BT to fire Hartley for underperforming because he failed to rectify the problem BT himself created seems to be “a DICK move”, if you’ll pardon the vernacular (think Kevin Spacey, “Horrible Bosses”). I see BT as a straight shooter and don’t see him going down this road–at this time.
        Look, everyone in the organization is responsible for that terrible start including the coach, management and yes the players. The circumstances under which the season got under way makes laying blame squarely on the shoulders of anyone in particular a little more difficult. If we had started the season without the 3 headed monster in net, I would be at the front of the line demanding answers from the coach, based on what was accomplished last year. They need to start demonstrating more competency in the PP and PK, at least to the level of last year. This is definitely on the coaching staff now that the team has stabilized the situation in net and on defense. Maybe they take fewer penalties: although their PK percentage last year wasn’t very good, they allowed the 2nd fewest goals on the PK last season by playing disciplined hockey.
        Would I be surprised if BT were to fire Hartley at some point? Absolutely not. From what I’ve seen, the management and the Coach have philosophical differences on building a winning team. For Burkie it’s size and Truculence (Anaheim, Kings, Panthers) for Hartley it’s speed and hunger (Hawks, Tampa). BT is somewhere in the middle: sure he’ll take size and speed but they need to know how to play. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the two players he acquired in the off season are both strong possession players relative to their age and position. I’m actually surprised Hartley has lasted this long to be honest. But there is no question in my mind that he has done an exceptional job to this point with what he had to work with. Hence he’s still here in spite of a Burkie regime.

  • spx03

    I was pretty annoyed with Hartley’s comment that “We are winning games; no sense in getting out the sledgehammer” with respect to the special teams.

    They are winning games in spite of their special teams; which needs a sledgehammer. Break it down to the ground and try something else. Whatever they are doing is not working. Just because you are winning games is no excuse to accept what is going on.

  • MontanaMan

    FN also had Hamilton on the trade market after a rough start. Fans are tough on players and coaches, lack the patience to see things through and don’t have the insight as to what is really happening in the dressing room. The worst thing a management team could do is listen to the fans!!!

    • piscera.infada

      Actually, no. The writers here–and the majority of the commentors–were arguing that Hamilton needs to 1) be utilized better, and 2) needs to be given time because he was a long-term acquisition. Not one of the writers was seriously considering trading Hamilton at any point. Those were the same people saying “he’s Bouwmeester” or “he’s soft”.

      • MontanaMan

        Absolutely. I am one who always looks for ways to improve the team and don’t believe that many are untouchable. If the right deal came along for Hamilton, I’d consider it. Disingenuous to blame FN? I’m part of it. Read the comments when the team isn’t doing well and it’s “fire the coach” or “trade the team”. My point is that a good GM is patient, sticks with the plan and makes changes as appropriate. I take issue with many on this site questioning Hartley as calling for his head as I think he has and continues to do a good job with a team limited in skill.

        • Cfan in Vic

          I’ll agree that patience is key. Although I’ve questioned many of Hartley’s decisions in the past, I’ve never been a supporter of firing him this season.

          I will point out though, that we have a much larger sample size of coaching performance with which to judge Hartley, than trade-Hamilton supporters had with Dougie (not even 2 months into the season).

          Questioning coaching is right along the same lines as proposing ways for Tre to improve the team. Both are healthy things to speculate upon.

    • RedMan

      are you talking about readers on FN, or writers?

      just because a few vocal readers spout off, doesn’t mean anything. many more never said anything, but were content to give Dougie the time he needed to figure things out.

      You can’t take the pulse based on a few loud people.

  • FeyWest

    The one thing I always thought was that if you’re going to go through a rebuild the coach should be the last thing to be changing all the time. Now there are questionable player usages and I know a lot of people think that developmentally Hartley isn’t doing a good job. I would say he is, the thing that needs to be remembered I think is that no matter who your coach is there will ALWAYS be things done that is fans don’t agree with.

    We’re in a rebuild and Tre has done very well in seeing the forest for the trees; he hasn’t panic traded, tried to accelerate the rebuild with aging vets/contracts, thought were contenders when we aren’t… Yet.

    Keeping a stable coaching staff instead of the revolving door up north helps development of young players because they aren’t constantly in flux trying to learn new system after new system. And although many would like to see more call ups I think it’s difficult with the players we have right now but with patience I hope that with contracts expiring a lot of the bridge players (Bollig, Raymond, Russell, Wideman, Engelland, etc…) there will be lots more flexibility in call ups and they haven’t been rushed much like how Detroit operates which is what everyone wanted before this whole rebuild thing.

    I can’t see the future but it’s all possibilities and until I see otherwise I don’t need to stress about speculation and what ifs, Im just going to enjoy the ride…. As much as the start of the season we were drowning it’s been exciting this past climb and theres lots to improve which is good, no stagnation.

    • piscera.infada

      I pretty well agree with all of this–continuity is extremely important during the “rebuilding cycle”. However I would extend it further. Generally, the teams that have rebuilt and take a substantial leap towards contender status, have changed their coaching (see Chicago, LA, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Minnesota). There is a difference in the broad mandate given to a coach for a team that is “rebuilding” versus a team that is contending. The true contending teams tend to have very, very good coaching–coaches that generally push the team’s talent over the top.

      Now, none of this is to say Hartley can’t be that guy. But it is imperative that the organization makes the correct call about coaching when they feel the organization is ready for contender status. There have been many teams who have rebuilt fairly well but struggle to take the leap because of poor or middling coaching (see Washington until recently).

      • cberg

        Hartley has already won a Stanley Cup so according to your definition he’s a very good to excellent coach.

        I agree re BH but would say that different teams require different coaches depending on the specific makeup of the team. Look at Calgary’s history. Badger Bob Johnson was perhaps Calgary’s best coach ever. He was a great teacher and strategic mastermind, but could not get the Flames over the hump. Crisp, the “there’s nobody I can’t yell and swear at” motivator had to come in and push them over the top to win.

        Or was it? Badger Bob went on to win back to back Cups with Pittsburg, and perhaps Crisp just benefitted from additions in 89 (Fluery?) that made the difference, and never succeeded after.

        Hartley has won championships at EVERY SINGLE LEVEL he’s ever coached. Personally I think he’s a tremendous coach thats proven himself over and over. The real question is is he the RIGHT coach for the Flames at this time, and is the team still listening to him? Since they seem to be listening, developing better than expected and succeeding in spite of obvious weaknesses I’d say ABSOLUTELY.

        • piscera.infada

          I’m not sure you’re wrong, but I would argue the “Stanley Cup defense”, by simply saying that was 2001. The game has changed a considerable amount in the 14 years since he won a cup. I would also argue that team was ridiculously stacked with current and future hall of famers up and down the lineup.

          Since his Stanley Cup victory, Bob Hartley’s career NHL record is 305-263-30-49 (a winning percentage of 0.471). Since that Stanley cup, he’s been in the playoffs in 3 of 11 season, as well.

          Look, I don’t think Hartley is a horrible coach. I just don’t think he is a great coach. I’ll agree that he got a lot out of a not very good roster last year, but I’ll also mention he’s getting less out of a better roster this year.

  • BitGeek

    Mebbe the reason BT and BB are in Ontario is not to scout players but to find a replacement coach??

    Winning or not, if Brad thinks he needs a better coach in place he’ll make it happen. It might just be easier to do in the new year now that the compensation for coaches and executives has been abolished.

  • Cfan in Vic

    Semi-related:

    Remember good ol’Troy G. Ward? I remember quite a few people thinking he’d be a good option for coaching candidacy in Calgary, pre-Hartley. I wasn’t aware of what he was doing these days, but he didn’t even last a year as coach of the Giants. He’s now coach/GM for a USHL team. I recall being disappointed that he didn’t move on to Addy when the Heat moved. I’m not suggesting he would be a good fit for the Flames, but maybe he should have stayed on with the organization for his own sake…

    • Craik

      Ward was fired … well, actually his contract was up the summer Tre was hired and he choose not to renew Ward’s contract.

      You bet Ward wanted to stay on with the Flames organization for his own sake.

      • Cfan in Vic

        Oh OK, I wasn’t aware of that, and thanks for the reply. I just recall that there was speculation that he wanted to stay close to his family, and a lot of people here were a bit disappointed at the time. He did a pretty good job with the Abbotsford team…

        Also, what’s with all the trashes? It was just a flames related factoid. Tough crowd, I guess.

        • DoubleDIon

          I’ve got just enough troll in me to automatically trash anyone who shows that it bothers them. I liked Ward too. Certainly much more than I’ve liked Huska.

  • KACaribou

    Luckily the knee-jerk bloggers only make decisions for their Fantasy Flames. We have experts who make decisions for the real hockey team.

    Hartley has his team back. He did a really nice job of getting it all together while bloggers here were calling for his head and ordering management to proceed with the re-build, dump players and go for the first overall pick.

    Quite a comeuppance for many of the piling-on bloggers of FN.

      • KACaribou

        That’s easy, I wrote your boss and he told me that you moderators are only there to ban people who are libeling others. If you know the laws of libel you would clearly know that nothing like that has even been typed from me. Calling a blogger like you a blogger does not constitute libel. Also how are you still there? I told him you were also making some kind of lame threat towards me physically and he spoke to your bosses about that. So how do you like that tough guy?

          • KACaribou

            People who are moderators at most sites look to edit people who are accusing others of something that defames them and causes them financial loss due to the claim.

            Some of the moderators here seem to feel that anyone who opposes their viewpoints or calls them bloggers (like that is a derogatory term) are acting contrary to the expectations of the blog.

            Christian didn’t like one of my comments and told me he’d like to meet me outside the blog world. Wow good moderator!

            According to the boss they don’t expect this type of thing from moderators. He wants discussion and even some controversy. It creates readership. Everyone blindly agreeing with the initial blogger does not. It creates a small cult of stat-nerd clones.

            When I continue to see bloggers here running down the likes of Russel and Hartley like a pack of dogs, I find it amusing when they witness redemption. Thus the Flames winning streak and “Hartley may be out of the woods” … like the opinions of people here matter one damned bit to the Flames organization who are experts.

          • piscera.infada

            People who are moderators at most sites look to edit people who are accusing others of something that defames them and causes them financial loss due to the claim.

            Some of the moderators here seem to feel that anyone who opposes their viewpoints or calls them bloggers (like that is a derogatory term) are acting contrary to the expectations of the blog.

            Christian didn’t like one of my comments and told me he’d like to meet me outside the blog world. Wow good moderator!

            According to the boss they don’t expect this type of thing from moderators. He wants discussion and even some controversy. It creates readership. Everyone blindly agreeing with the initial blogger does not. It creates a small cult of stat-nerd clones.

            When I continue to see bloggers here running down the likes of Russel and Hartley like a pack of dogs, I find it amusing when they witness redemption. Thus the Flames winning streak and “Hartley may be out of the woods” … like the opinions of people here matter one damned bit to the Flames organization who are experts.

            Look, I will agree with you that some moderators go too far. You want to call me a nerd in a derogatory way? Fine by me, go for it. I spend hours on a hockey blog every week because I care passionately about a sport I’ve played my entire life, and team I’ve followed my entire life. I can deal with that.

            The problem I have with you is that you just wrote a six paragraph post lambasting the exact attitude and delivery you have spewed all over this blog in recent weeks.

            You’re correct this is a forum for discussion, and discussion is exactly what is happening. You (and some others) roll in with your self-aggrandizing postulation that “your opinion is invalid”, not because it is factually or even theoretically incorrect, but because “you obviously haven’t played the game”, or “you aren’t an NHL coach”, or “you don’t have any Stanley Cups”, or (my personal favourite) “Flames management doesn’t care what you think”. The sole purpose of those kinds of statements is to stifle discussion simply because it is un-discussable. You’re likely correct, “none of us have won a cup”. So what? Who cares? That doesn’t change Hartley’s career win percentage with the Flames, it doesn’t change the fact that possession statistics do correlate to sustained success in the NHL. You don’t agree that those things are relevant, tell us why, and engage in discussion about it. But no, you want to beat the “nobody cares drum”.

            Honestly, you don’t like “stat-nerds”? Perhaps you should stay away from a blog that was born out of the anaytics community. Maybe, just maybe, you should look for an alternative source of discussion that doesn’t think that statistics are critically important.

            Or, you know, you could familiarize yourself with enough information that you can formulate a critical and non-combative response. This community was doing just fine before you showed up, and I doubt anyone would really miss your input (or mine, for that matter).

            As for your claims about libel and defamation. You’re factually incorrect to the point that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re way out of your element with that, so it’s best to stop.

          • KACaribou

            I actually didn’t specifically call anyone a stat-nerd blogger including yourself. It was a general statement. This is your opinion, that is mine. Thanks for the discussion.

          • KACaribou

            Dude I am not responsible for your insatiable appetite for self importance.

            I will not engage with someone who didn’t know the career of Bobby Orr, and stated that Orr never hit anyone in his career (when in actuality he did, and also had 47 fights in just over 600 career games).

            Move along, nothing to see here.

          • Cfan in Vic

            If people’s opinions on these subjects don’t matter one damned bit then that includes your’s. I’m not sure why you get riled up when people question Russel and Hartley, since the opinions don’t matter after all.

            I’m pretty sure nobody here is “running them down like a pack of dogs”. A tad dramatic, perhaps?

          • KACaribou

            I agree. My opinion doesn’t matter to Flames management either. I easily admit they do NOT look here for advice or opinions. They have a staff making decisions based on thousands of times the knowledge of hockey anyone has here, and that certainly includes me. Anyone here who thinks that their opinion is important to the Flames… well, they are delusional and can’t be reasoned with.

          • Christian Roatis

            “Meet you outside the blog” yeah I really hit you where it hurts, didn’t I Caribou?

            It’s easy to talk a big game behind a nickname, with no accountability. I’ve said it a million times: come here to talk hockey not get into personal spats with everyone who disagrees with you. My problem with you is, and has always been that you take personal shots and try and bully others.

            It’s a sports blog for crying out loud, so talk hockey and treat others with respect.

          • KACaribou

            It really kills me when guys like you act like your are more than you really are. I can see through you clearly.

            Calling you a blogger really hits you where it hurts though doesn’t it.

            You are supposed to be a moderator. I made an opinion on this and you came back with not a hockey rebuttal but “how aren’t you banned yet?”

            So I may ask you to please talk hockey and treat others with respect. Also act like a moderator and do your job, don’t try to make everyone agree with you because judging by the typical trashes you get… nobody is buying in.

          • Christian Roatis

            This will be the last thing I say to you – ever – because I should know better than to engage in this garbage with you but you’ve really got a way of getting under my skin.

            I am not a moderator, I am writer (or blogger, if you wish) on FlamesNation. I do not get paid for what I do, I do it because I enjoy it and I think I do a half decent job at it.

            I’m pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Business at the University of Calgary so you calling me a blogger really doesn’t bother me, this is far from my be all end all. I’m bothered when you take personal shots at people because I want this to be a place where people can express their opinions without fear of being smeared and insulted for having an opinion.

            Your pompous, arrogant and downright rude attitude set me off multiple times – and I still cannot fathom why the hell you come here if you think we’re all dumb idiot nerds who know nothing about the Flames and hockey and only love hating on them – however I do apologize if I ever insulted you or belittled you with my responses. It was hypocritical of me to tell you to stop making things about non-hockey related then do the same.

            If you want to drink the Calgary Flames kool-aid, there are other sites who provide that.

            And no, nobody forced me to write this, I just wanted to bury the hatchet.

  • Craik

    #neveronthehotseat

    I’ve never thought of Hartley as a developmental coach but the one thing I’ve enjoyed over the last couple years is watching how he eases young talent into the line up, builds up their confidence, and moves them into increasingly important situations.

    He protected Monahan in his first year then started giving him more difficult assignments last year. Gaudreau was eased in during his first 30 games last year. Bennett is not being thrown to the wolves this year.

    As for Hamilton, we all were excited to see him with Gio in Brodie’s absence to start the season. That didn’t work out so Harley quickly (in less than 10 games) changed Hamilton’s deployment, reduced his minutes, protected his situations, built up his confidence, then moved him into increasingly important situations again and he is looking good.

    Flames management has been seeing all of this and will not be making (or were ever thinking about) a coaching change mid-season during a rebuild. Hartley will be evaluated along with the players in the offseason.

  • KACaribou

    If it wasn’t for Gaudreau, not only would Hartley possibly be out of a job already, but this team would be sitting in last place in the league, and probabaly by a long shot.

    As others have mentioned, they are winning in spite of anything Hartley is doing. Special teams is completely broken and he’s coming out essentially saying it doesn’t matter cause they are winning. His player usage is still mind boggling at best, and his “systems” (Constant stretch passes and a reliance on just blocking shots on defense)are terrible.

    Firing him at this point won’t do a whole lot, I completely understand that. But I would hope management takes a long hard look at who is available in the offseason.

    • Craik

      If it wasn’t for the goaltending, not only would Hartley be solidly entrenched as the Flames coach, but this team would be sitting solidly in a playoff spot, and probably by a long shot.

  • ville de champignons

    I never blamed Hartley for the start this year. This team was just snaggled for a ton of reasons. At some point Hartley will have to be replaced because that is the nature of the job. Anybody have any opinions on Craig Conroy?

  • piscera.infada

    Also, what’s with all the trashes? It was just a flames related factoid. Tough crowd, I guess.

    Troy Ward was a good AHL coach. I do, however, think Huska is very good as well. He has a very high pedigree of developing NHLers (especially defensemen) during his time in the WHL. Frankly, I think Huska was a great hire for the AHL team, and if Treliving is more comfortable with him than Ward I’m not sure you can fault Treliving for that (remember, one of his main responsibilities in Arizona/Phoenix was their AHL team). The Heat haven’t gotten off to the start they’d like, but all reports are that the team has been playing extremely well, and has been held back by inconsistent goaltending and lack of finish. I read (or heard) somewhere that they are first in the AHL in terms of shot differential by a large margin (for example, they lost 3-2 last night, and the shots were 46 to 23 for the Heat).

    I’ve heard there are a lot of “hockey people” who view Huska as a coach with a very real NHL future ahead of him.

    Edit: To expand on the AHL shot differential statistics. I went back through their last six games. They lost 5-2 to Texas (shots: 36-34 Texas). They won 3-2 to San Antonio (shots: 42-25 Heat). They lost 5-3 to San Jose (shots: 46-18 [!] Heat). They beat San Diego 4-2 (shots: 44-25 Heat). They lost to Bakersfield 6-5 (shots: 49-25 Heat).

    • Cfan in Vic

      I have absolutely no problem with Huska. I don’t know too much about him, but I certainly don’t doubt his abilities.

      My original comment about Ward was just something I found interesting, and a bit surprising.

      Again, tough crowd.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      I am not at all impressed with the development of our young forwards.

      Klimchuck? Poirrier? Why are these first round picks getting worse instead of better?

      Arnold is doing just ok. Not bad, but ok.

      Granlund is the only success story out of the bunch….

      WW

      • FeyWest

        For all we know they are developing well but many of us don’t really watch the AHL as religiously as the NHL and so the stats become more of what you’re looking for to determine how well they’ve progressed. However, the only way im going to know how far these guys have truly progressed and developed is when they come up to play in the NHL. All I care about is they are getting playing time in the A and working on areas to improve. You may see a drop off in the opposite skills they typically are known for while they focus on those developmental areas. Also they’re having similar special teams problems but I don’t know if they’re gaining the zone and holding it issues or not, if you look though they actually shoot a lot in comparison to our parent club so it may be just a luck and goaltending type scenario. Either way it’s just a weird season all around.

      • KACaribou

        WW essentially I agree with you.

        It seems to me that it is hard to predict if and when young players will suddenly “get it”. Granlund certainly didn’t look like he got it, then this last time up suddenly he looks to me like one of our better forwards. Presto!

        Ferly is being brought along slowly but he made it up. I think Poirier and Klimmer will be there. But they may need that moment when the light bulb finally comes on and who knows when that would be?

        Of course it would be nice if everyone went straight into the lineup like Sam Bennett and within a handful of games is as good as anyone on the team (Johnny Hockey excluded of course).

        It’s really hard to keep track of what is going on down at Stockton. We get very little real media paying much attention, and the website there is quite terrible.

  • The Last Big Bear

    @Pike

    The most common person facing the blame for the team’s underwhelming play? Reigning Jack Adams Award winner Bob Hartley, Calgary’s head coach.

    You misspelled “catastrophically poor play from the team’s netminding duo of Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller”.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I love Hartley’s press conferences, he seems like a good motivational speaker.

    Some of his line up choices are questionable at times and I wish we would slow down on the stretch passes.

    But as long as the team keeps winning can’t really complain. If a Joel Quenville or someone else good becomes available and thing are still mediocre than we should most definitely move on from Hartley.

  • piscera.infada

    Speaking of coaches…more vultures circling over Willie Desjardin’s head in Canuck-land, as if that’s the problem there.

    Just this morning Ray Ferraro stated management (eg. Benning) is in a “tough, tough position” and that both the Vey and Baertschi deals were “busts”