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.]