The annual ritual of Garbage Bag Day down at the Scotiabank Saddledome ended with another annual ritual. General manager Brad Treliving and head coach Glen Gulutzan held court with the media in a roughly half-hour long press conference. All of the audio is available elsewhere, but we wanted to break out a few interesting quotes and notes that were brought up during their gab-fest.
“In time, the pain will go away. In time you can really, with a clear lens, look at the regular season. I think there’s a lot to be proud of with this team, in the regular season. I said it at the end of the regular season, I think the guy to my left is the main reason our team got into the playoffs. I think the job Glen and the coaching staff did was excellent. I think there was real growth with this team, on a number of different levels.” – Treliving, sharing general thoughts on the season and how it ended.
“I look back to two years ago. I thought we were overwhelmed. I don’t think we were overwhelmed at all [this time]. At certain critical times, we didn’t get things done to a certain extent. Maybe a bounce here or a bounce there. I firmly believe you make your own luck sometimes. We’ll spend some time analyzing it a little bit more. That’s a really good team over there, but I don’t think we took a back seat.” – Treliving, on how he felt about the Flames’ playoff performance against the Ducks.
Treliving downplayed his own contractual situation: “That’ll get dealt with when it gets dealt with. That’s not for today.”
Asked whether Gaudreau was good enough for his team during the playoffs. Gulutzan noted that his line out-chanced their opposition handily in their line match-up with the Ducks. “It just never went for them.”
“He had an impact on the series. He’s been one of those guys, we talked a lot about a guy that’ll be able to play in mid-April and beyond. You hear it all the time: there’s no space, there’s no room. He battled, he competed, he had tons of pushback, could play in those hard areas, could play the game that usually is played.” – Treliving, on Sam Bennett’s performance in the playoffs. He also singled out Sean Monahan for praise.
“We’re not sitting here talking about a first round playoff series if they don’t perform like they do, both of them, at different parts of the season. Let’s not forget that.” – Treliving, on Chad Johnson and Brian Elliott. He took the long way around in saying the team will evaluate their options in the off-season.
Gulutzan praised several players for being strong voices in the room during the year, particularly when he was trying to get players to execute the new system: Troy Brouwer, Matt Stajan, Deryk Engelland, Brian Elliott and Mark Giordano were specifically named. He noted he’s most proud of the growth with the group this year. “I can honest say that I’ve never witnessed a team at any level that I’ve coached at over the past 16 years grow as much as this team has this year.”
Treliving mentioned several players for the Stockton Heat as impressing and possibly pushing for jobs in 2017-18. Specifically named were Mark Jankowski, Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Andrew Mangiapane, Ryan Lomberg, Garnet Hathaway and Hunter Shinkaruk. “It’s going to be interesting at training camp next year. There are going to be people that are really pushing for jobs.”
Treliving praised Versteeg’s contributions to the Flames this past season. He noted they’d have no problem bringing Versteeg back, though he also joked about “little things” like cap hit and term being all that was standing in their way. “Kris had a great year for us and we’ll see where it goes from there.”