Bob Hartley talked scratches post-game

Aside from the Dion Phaneuf trade to Ottawa, all the hockey world wanted to talk about today was the Calgary Flames’ decision to scratch Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Lance Bouma from tonight’s game with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

And of course, it was the topic du jour at Flames head coach Bob Hartley’s post-game press conference. For your reading pleasure, here’s a rundown of the relevant questions (and answers) from this evening’s pow-wow with the reigning Jack Adams winner.

Bob, your decision before the game tonight, for disciplinary reasons, to sit out Gaudreau, Monahan and Bouma, can you go through your reasoning behind that?

It was very simple. We established team rules right at the start of the season. We’re a very proud hockey club. We have built what we believe to be a very strong culture that goes for everyone. So, I know some people say, ‘top two scorers’ and everything. It’s not the players, it’s not about the people involved, it’s about the Calgary Flames. It was tough. It was tough because you can’t get three better young men. They’re proud of representing this community. They’re easy to coach on everything. But when you make a mistake, we have to be accountable and we have to be fair to everyone. It’s plain. They didn’t rob a bank. They made a mistake, and tonight they paid for it, and it’s the last time that we address it. They’re great kids. It’s nothing bad on them. Who didn’t make mistakes when they were young? Everyone. We support those kids, we need them, and they learned a very valuable lesson tonight.

What are you hopeful that they do learn from this experience?

It’s over. Like I said, we’re not going to write a book on this. There’s people selling drugs across Canada. Those guys, like I said, they didn’t rob a bank. They broke a team rule, and that’s the end of it.

With the mistake being made, was there a behaviour leading up to it, or was it a single incident for these guys?

You sound like Columbo. [laughter] Guys, they broke a team rule, and that’s it. We’ll have to fly Johnny Cochrane in. Let’s stay calm, there was a great game tonight…

[Hartley talks about the game for awhile, followed by a few unrelated questions.]

Bob, what’s the mood of your team right now? The last couple weeks has been interesting to say the least.

Well, you know, the mood is good. Obviously what happened the past days, we’re getting attentions for the wrong reasons, but it happens in all big families. There’s not a company, there’s not a team, there’s not a family that doesn’t go through stuff like this. That’s just to prove that we’re all human beings, that’s life.

[There’s another unrelated question.]

Bob, I hate to go back there one more time, but can you elaborate on what the team rule was that was broken?

They broke a team rule. The book is so thick, we’d have to order breakfast. [laughter] Alright? Have a good night. You guys are very persistent.

[And the press conference ends.]

      • Rockmorton65

        Yes, they are. The punishment wasn’t internal, it was public, that’s my point. Embarrass them and then refuse to elaborate and talk them up about how awesome they are. It’s contradictory and hypocritical. If you want to publicly punish a player, explain it. Otherwise, keep it internal.

        • beloch

          There was no way to not make it public. As soon as Monahan and Gaudreau are scratched, people are going to ask questions. What do you do, lie and say they were ill? That lets the players off the hook – basically they’re just getting paid not to play then.

          • piscera.infada

            As I posted previously, if this was an ongoing issue, fine. But if this was a first offense, the punishment should’ve been something that wasn’t public, as in not being benched.

            I don’t even so much disagree with those in favor of the action taken as I am just full-on anti-Bob right now. The Nakladal thing is really annoying me.

            Still, Bob left practice early, he was obviously ticked at the entire team, so what was that about? I don’t know, part of this of whole thing just feels like Bob grandstanding.

            Also, I still believe that if you are going to punish a player publicly, then you owe the fan base some sort of explanation. It doesn’t have to be all the gory details, but Bob and the team gave nothing. The only info is what has leaked out to the media. I find it hypocritical.

          • cberg

            Your answer is all over the place and inconsistent. Bob DID give an explanation, at least as much as required. The specifics and details are irrelevant. And if you want to speculate those already came out earlier a couple days ago. I think Bob handled it expertly, sticking to the basics and even using humour to deflect further attention and get the story elsewhere.

            As far as Nakladal goes I would agree it was disappointing not to see more of him, but I’m not blaming BH for it. Look, the ONLY reason he is up at the moment is because Wideman is out and the team needs another D if injuries occur or they need another D to slot in. Clearly Nakladal is in the minors because he’s #7/8 on the depth chart. That doesn’t change just because he’s with the Flames. If there is an injury or the team clearly is out of the race and we’re in evaluation season wrap-up time that’s a different matter. When/if that time comes I’m sure we’ll see him.

            BTW, I thought he looked fine in his first couple of shifts…

          • piscera.infada

            Clearly Nakladal is in the minors because he’s #7/8 on the depth chart.

            The simple point is that he probably shouldn’t be there on the depth chart.

            All indications are that Nakladal was signed to be an NHL ready defenseman. Remember, he’s a UFA at year’s end. If he doesn’t get his chance here, he doesn’t resign here, plain and simple. At least a few games with legitimate minutes would go a long way towards knowing what he is at this level. The fact that I (and many others) firmly believe he is better than the two defenders currently in the 5/6 slots is irrelevant to this discussion. The fact that we don’t know that yet, is the issue. That is clearly the fault of the coach. He’s been recalled twice, and this time it’s in a rather dire situation (depth-wise), that shows that management wants him to get a shot.

          • T&A4Flames

            100% agree re: Nakladal. He needs to play. He may very well be a top 4 D man but we wont know, nor will the organization know unless he gets playing time at this level. Other free agents will absolutely consider this when considering whether to sign with us or not. He looked good last night in his limited showing. So, im not sure what the issue was. BT is going to gave to handcuff Bob to ensure Nak gets a look because this is getting stupid.

        • Rockmorton65

          How can you sit a guy for a game…privately? He didn’t humiliate the players. He sat them and when asked why, essentially said “reasons. Next question”. How is that humiliating them?

          I think some people are just pissed because he won’t say why he did it, what they did.

        • T&A4Flames

          You seem upset they were publicly embarrassed but now you’re asking for them to vet further embarrassed by asking for details. Bob said enough. Its done, move on (aside from those 3 having to answer some questions).

    • Rockmorton65

      And elaborating private details on the matter to the public would serve what purpose exactly other than alienating and embarrassing the players to an unnecessary extent?

      Coaching staff/management handled this perfectly. Its over, move on.

    • KiLLKiND

      Because missing a game is punishment. Yes it is public but we don’t need to know every little detail of this team. Hartley is the coach while I do not at all agree with some decision he made today benching players that brake a team rule is universally accepted.

      Honestly it is the best for everyone it shows that rules are for the entire team. The Team plays together and follows the same rules. Don’t folllow the same rules as the team you don’t get to play with the team. It’s a very simple punishment but effective could you imagine how Gaudreau would have felt if we lost to Toronto because he broke a team rule? He has the most heart out of anyone on the team. It’s now up to the three responsible to accept responsibility and move on from whatever happened.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      I would disagree that it was handled well. The punishment was public by its nature, and that is fine. The problem is that Bob didn’t give any details and so now those 3 players are going to be hounded and harassed by media who want something to print. I don’t think that was supposed to be part of the punishment. Bob could have said what we all know it was (Superbowl hangover) and ended it. That would have been how to handle it properly.

  • RKD

    They broke the rules, they are pros and I’m pretty sure these guys will smarten up in a hurry. Plus they must be pissed to miss the game when their Dads were in the audience. Just because you are a star player doesn’t put you above the rest of the team. However, these are class guys and I think they learned their lesson big time.

    • BlueMoonNigel


      You don’t treat your superstars like schleps. It’s great from an egalitarian, touchy, feely, everybody is a god perspective but it is unrealistic and ultimately harmful to the group. Spear chuckers are not kings and kings are not muleskinners.

      There is a reason Katie Windsor doesn’t have dishpan hands and scrubwoman’s knees.

      • whaaaat?

        They’re hockey players, not royalty. Can you imagine a team where there was a double standard for discipline? I think that would create a lot of resentment in the room.

        Hartley has his faults, but he handled this like the best coaches would.

        The problem is if you start to equate mistakes with fundamental character flaws, ala the Boston Bruins, and you start trading away your best young players.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          There is already a double standard. Why do you think some players get more ice time than others? Why are certain players’ skills valued more highly than others thus resulting in all players not being paid the same? The bottom line is you ice the team night after night that gives you the best chance to win. This is pro sports, not church house league. By benching the two studs for apparent disciplinary reasons, Hartley did not ice the best team available. Luckily for Hartley, the Flames eked out the win. I also wonder how many people who agreed with Hartley’s benching would have done so if the Flames had been up against a stiffer opponent or it was April and the game was truly must win. Would you have still stood by Coach’s decision?

          I should also point out that the boys were allegedly hung over on practice day, not game day. Not too hard to tell them to get off the ice and sleep it off and let the other guys practice.

          The fact is this was all about Hartley trying to show off his big bloody ego. Once the boys become fabulous stinking rich in a few months, guess who is going to be walking if there is ever a dispute between non-celebrity coach and local superstar?

          Perhaps in Heaven we will all be equal, but here on earth, it is a noble but flawed and failed concept.

      • beloch

        Your saying they should’ve only scratched Bouma and let the other two play? Even though they all did it together? What kind of message would that send? Probably not a good one.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          So in July when Hockey and Sean both pay cash for their custom-built homes in Eagle Ridge and Bouma has to deign to more modest digs in Silverado, they are still in fact equal? Life doesn’t work that way. I have reason to think Bouma is smart enough to know that Hockey and Sean are the stars of this team and he is just a spear-chucker. You can’t have great leaders without great followers. Know your role and do your role well on a hockey team and in life and you will have a good life.

          • Matty Franchise Jr

            Okay I’ll bite, Hartley only scratches Bouma, Bouma Is a good team guy so he understands. But now Gaudreau and Monahan learn they’re invincible and start missing practices all the time drinking all the time but when someone else does it they get suspended. They then start to hate the two young barstars and now you have your two best players with an attitude problem and the rest of your team hates them because of the favoritism and attitude.

      • cberg

        Your attitude and total lack of awareness seems to be exactly the attitudes that have hampered your Oilers for years. The whole untouchable “Golden Boy Fab 5” routine going on up there for years has done nothing for that team.

        A couple years ago the whole Perron saga in Edmonton told the whole story. He comes in excited, ready to bust his but and give his all and be the difference in helping the team get over the hump. And, he did and played great his first year. By the second year, after it became apparent the so-called leaders on the team were quitters and there was virtually zero accountability, especially to the favoured few, his attitude and play was completely different.

        That team is better this year, but a lot of the attitudes still seem to persist in some players. I’d think the team has got to be hoping they can clear out the poisoned apples before infecting the latest crop of top picks.

        As far as the Flames are concerned, the three players are key, core players that the team wants to build around and getting these attitudes corrected early on is a great thing. Calgary has been focusing on character guys the last few years and hopefully they will learn and move on from here.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          When did they become my Oilers? News to me. Or is the great egalitarian guilty of making false assumptions?

          I think the Oilers’ problems run a lot deeper than the superficial diagnosis you gave. It has very little to do with perceived favouritism of high draft picks and more to do with incompetent individuals in key positions on and off the ice.

          You’re well out of order calling the likes of Hall, Eberle, RNH quitters. This tells me you are more interested in playing “Battle of Alberta” than debating issues. Face it, kid, the “Battle of Alberta” died a very long time ago. Get out of the past.

  • “There’s people selling drugs across Canada”?

    I don’t get it. Is that meant as: there are worse crimes to pay attention to than the Flames’ and the reporters should stop making a big deal about it?

  • I wonder if there were 3 angry fathers going up one side and down the other; ripping a strip off their sons? I bet Booms, Johnny, and Mony are more ashamed at leaving their dads in their seats at the Saddledome with no sons on the ice to watch! I’m sure those 3 superstars feel pretty bad about that. The fans don’t have to drag these players through the mud … their faces are well coated!
    See ya next practice boys! … probably bright and early huh?

  • Sol Goode

    Nakladal skated 2 shifts the whole game. I didn’t get to see them, did he play like crap or what? I feel bad for the guy, how can you adapt to the game when you never get to play?

    • Mullen7

      This situation is driving me crazy! How can we expect other free agents to sign with us when we treat Nakladal like this?!? I have yet to hear a legitimate explanation for it.

  • This situation was compared favourably to how Ovechkin coming late to a meeting was handled by the Caps coach earlier this season. Hartley refused to get into details about it and that’s fine by me..

  • Burnward

    Hartley had to sit three of his most reliable players. And that was a game they could not lose.

    I’m sure Nakladal was about number 21 on his priority list.

    Relax guys.

  • piscera.infada

    Gaudreau probably was sick and had the kid’s dose of Benylin, which knocked him out for a good 12 hours. He snuggled up between Monahan and Bouma on the couch and that was it for the three of them until late morning.