Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports

Flames fire Glen Gulutzan, other coaches

The Flames dropped some pretty huge and mildly unexpected news this afternoon, firing head coach Glen Gulutzan, and assistants Dave Cameron and Paul Jerrard. The news comes following weeks of speculation regarding the coaching staff’s future and on the heels of a disappointing 2017-18 season.

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On this site, we have discussed at some length how the season went for the Flames and whether or not it made sense to move on from Gulutzan. Just this morning, Pat outlined how Gulutzan’s future weighed heavily on the off-season for the Flames. Earlier this month, Ryan detailed how the Flames managed difficult situations throughout the season and, in another story, why the staff might get fired.

Earlier this month, Flames GM Brad Treliving reflected on the 2017-18 season and, perhaps tellingly, did not give an unequivocal vote of confidence for the coaching staff.

During a dour and subdued press conference, Treliving mentioned that blame for the past season was not solely placed on the coaching staff. Essentially, Treliving said that though continuity was an important consideration, ultimately he decided that a move had to be made.

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It was confirmed during the conference that Gulutzan had signed a three-year contract and was indeed fired.

The press conference also confirmed that assistant coach Martin Gelinas, video coach Jamie Pringle, and goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet will all remain with the team.

Many names have begun to swirl around the Flames’ now-vacant spot, including Darryl Sutter and Bill Peters (who has until Friday to opt-out of his deal with the Carolina Hurricanes). Treliving did not indicate if another coach has been selected, though he has a “profile” of his next coach in mind.

Although, Treliving did note that he believed that having experience was “critical” for success in the league. Do with that information what you will.

With regards to the powerplay, Treliving noted that the onus falls mostly on the players and did not specifically mention any concerns with any of the coaching staff in particular, only that the team under-performed all season.

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Repeatedly, Treliving indicated that he believed this decision signalled the “beginning” of the offseason in earnest. So with that, let the offseason begin.

  • FL?MES

    Task #1 now complete. Next things on todo list are to hire experienced coaches and try to recoup a few picks in the upcoming draft.

    I don’t like seeing people let go but today was a good day.

    Go ? Go!!!

  • Joe Flames

    As much as I liked Sutter as a coach, I am not sure he is the right fit for this team. This team is not big and tough enough to play Sutter’s style. On the other hand, he would demand a consistent effort from every player and would probably love Bennett. I bet he could get the most out of Sam.

  • Skylardog

    Experience as an NHL coach is a must here, as BT said. But make no mistake, they need a coach with a ton of experience, and success in getting and excelling in the playoffs. There are very few candidates out there that meet that criteria. I believe that narrows it down to 2 that are currently available, Sutter and AV.

    Damage has been done to some of our young prospects, it may be irreparable. This firing came 140 games too late. The last 2 seasons have been a setback.

    On that note, the coach must be someone that has a proven record of developing players. Tippett is out. His handling of Duclair and Domi is exactly what we do not need.

    The hire must understand roles on a team. That points to Sutter, a role player himself. But AV also understand roles. He knew how to use guys like Kesler and Bieksa, and when and how to play the Twins, and who to put with them. AV has learned what it takes to win in the playoffs, and how to get there. Sutter has rings. Either would be a good choice.

    Peters lack of success should disqualify him. Same with Willie. Neither have enough NHL experience.

    I don’t like recycling. My choice would be AV at the moment, barring the emergence of a new candidate.

    • FL?MES

      Sutter has quite a history here and it’s hard to judge looking from the outside what appetite the organization would have to bring him back. At this point I am the thinking that AV has to be the front runner – fresh start and no history with the club.

      BT cannot screw this up and if he has been given the ok to pony up and bring in a winner he has to go big.

  • Skylardog

    What concerns me is that this team just spent 168 games trying to make Backlund and Frolik into second line scorers, and we all, including BT, have the audacity to say that the bottom 6 was a mess.

    The problem was that we NEVER tried to create a second line that could score. Bennett and Janko, along with whatever plug they were given on any night, were always dismantled and sabotaged by the coaching staff on a consistent and constant basis. When did they ever try to find a linemate that could score to create a great second line. Did Tkachuk even play one minute on a line with Bennett and Janko?

    Tkachuk was used on a third line all of the last 2 seasons, many just called it the 2nd line, including the coaches. The Backs line is a third line. They are role players. And the fourth line played darn good at the end of the season. The problem is not the bottom 6. It is the second line, and the lack of foresight in finding Bennett and Janko the guy that could help them fly.

    • canadian1967

      For the last 6 years on FN, I have been saying who cares about Corsi. All those stats are made up and counted by homers in the rinks. Useless stat by itself

      • canadian1967

        I have also been saying for many years that Backlund is no more than a very good 3C while being browbeaten by the FN advanced stat bullies.
        Well now the verdict is out.

        • Skylardog

          Whenever there were posts about lines, even last summer, I always put Backs and Frolik on the third line, and often explained why. He is one of the worst 2nd line centres in the NHL. He may be the best third line centre. Roles…

    • Mickey O

      I watched every game this year, from the summer on. I seem to recall one game (for whatever reason) that the Bennett – Janko – Tkachuk trio had one game with about 5 shifts together, and another game with 3 shifts together. They looked great when they were out there at the same time.

      But to me, Tkachuk has graduated. He needs another line. His talents are wasted on the 3M line, even though it is one of the best shut-down lines in hockey. His hockey IQ for someone his age is off the charts. Stick him on RW on the top line. Someone had a good point about JG getting mugged in scrums that Byng initiates though. But I’m sure that Tkachuk would tone it down, as he did for the last half of the season. No matter what, he needs to be the guy tipping passes on the 1st powerplay unit.

    • Chucky

      There were two games where they played Tkachuk, Jankowski and Bennett for several shifts. Each of those shifts the game was played entirely in the opponents end of the ice with plenty of good scoring opportunities but no goals. It was quite interesting because they seemed to fit into areas of the ice and control those sections, the defense were obviously confident in the support they would get so were free to pinch.
      Unfortunately without goals after a couple of shifts it was time to revert to the old way not producing goals, reminding me of the trial Ferland and Jankowski got on the power play early in the season. A couple of tries and then get Brouwer back out there because those other guys did not score.
      We should expect that this is a second scoring line that a new coach will try and it would not surprise if it is a success. However there are other candidates for the third with Bennett and Jankowski, Mangiapane, Dube, Phillips and Gawdin all have shown offensive ability.

  • buts

    I hate to see anyone lose there job. Why did it take BT so long to fire GG? Same reason he took a long time to fire BH? WE all know the teams problems go beyond the coaching. It was obvious how bad the coaching was in December yet BT wasted a season on procrastinating and ego. MY question is …..is BT the man for the job? THE coyotes are and we’re bad when BT was there….losing is losing. If he hires Willie Desjardins, I’ll get sick. Today’s move smells like a ownership move not GM move. I’m losing confidence in BT big time.

    • Franko J

      Yes the coaching is only the tip of the iceberg with myriad of challenges facing this team. Still many holes to fill if this team wants to be competitive come next year. After watching the past week of playoff hockey, sorry to say but the Flames are nowhere close with the current roster. I just think that there is not enough players in this team that hate losing. The biggest obstacle the new coaches will be facing come next season is repairing the shattered confidence this team displayed towards the end of the season.

      • Skylardog

        I think we will be surprised with what a coach that understands roles, line combinations, player management, and taking away time and space from the opposition can do with the guys we have.

        Shore, Lazar, Hath are a good foundation for a fourth line. Backs line is the third (without Tkachuk – may I suggest Klimchuk, he suits the role). That leaves Janks, Bennett and Tkachuk on line 2, leave the first line intact. We have 7 solid defensemen if you play a better system.

        Let Sig go and I am sure Smith will be fine.

        By the way, Janks, Bennett and Byng played 13 minutes together during the season (more than I thought). Scored 2 times for a 8.91 GF/60. That would be near the top in the NHL. They allowed just 1 against.

    • Chucky

      BT is obviously a great salesman. His record of signing players to contracts that are less than they would get on the open market is very consistent. Experience in industry tells me that he is selling himself up the food-chain just as aggressively as he sells signing team friendly contracts to players. It is difficult to determine how many mistakes a guy like this is allowed but he is definitely at the end of his string.

  • Who is Alberta’s team?

    Thats 1 less thing to cross off the checklist:

    – fire coaches- CHECK
    -find 3 RW
    -find 4 defenceman
    -fire goalie coach
    -fire ahl coach
    -find top line C
    -trade Bennett for Yakupov
    – rip up Lazars extension
    -rip up stones extension
    -rip up brouwers extension
    -recoup some draft picks so flames can have a pick in the top 100
    -see if any takers for leagues worst +-hamonic
    -find tough gritty players
    -find a tough guy who can actually win a fight
    -find #1 and #2 goalie
    -build new arena

    • BiggDogg

      I’d take Stone, Brouwer and Lazar’s extensions over trading Larson for Hall and writing Milan Lucic a fat cheque. Don’t throw stones when you’re in the glass house homie!

    • Hockeysense9393

      Thats 1 less thing to cross off the checklist: (re-write…change of coach…lol)

      – fire coaches- CHECK (absolutely)
      -find 3 RW (Coaches fired = need 1 RW and proper deployment)
      -find 4 defenceman (Coaches fired = fixed)
      -fire goalie coach (Head Coach fired = fixed if allowed)
      -fire ahl coach (Head Coach fired = give AHL coach a better system to use = fixed)
      -find top line C (Monny healthy = fixed)
      -trade Bennett for Yakupov (hahahaha – 1st pick no heart/4th pick at least heart = hahahahaha)
      – rip up Lazars extension (Coaches fired – 13th-14th-15th forward = fixed)
      -rip up stones extension (Coaches fired – that’s all I got = fixed)
      -rip up brouwers extension (coaches fired – see Lazar = fixed)
      -recoup some draft picks so flames can have a pick in the top 100 (We’re not the Oilers lol)
      -see if any takers for leagues worst +-hamonic (Coaches fired = fixed)
      -find tough gritty players (Everybody is looking for them – apparently Lucic is available lol)
      -find a tough guy who can actually win a fight (we demoted the best fighter in the league for a reason)
      -find #1 and #2 goalie (Coaches fired – hopefully means goalie coach fired = fixed)
      -build new arena (Coaches fired = hahahaha j/k. New arenas guarantee wins, right Coilers?)

      So a new coach can and will fix some glaring issues. Hopefully now BT can get a real sense here…

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Marc Crawford is a strong candidate.
    The Calgary leadership has suggested its eventual hire will have past NHL experience, so Crawford would fit the mold. The 55-year-old has 15 years of NHL head coaching experience and a Stanley Cup on his resume. He worked with Brian Burke previously in Vancouver. Calgary has a history of hiring coaches who were previously there.
    Mike Keenan, Glen Gulutzan.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      NO WAY! Gretzky padded his point totals hugely by playing against this joker. Had USSR players been available to the NHL back then, Crawford would never have made the NHL as a player and possibly not even as a coach.

      For Flame fans who became distracted or even obsessed with Gully’s slick locks, they will find the same hairy sideshow with Crawford and even with Billy Peters and the hairstyle he has sported since he was a ’70s teenager.

  • FL?MES

    I just want to mention that I haven’t been redirected to a spin and win website for a couple days. Have I been banned from these sites or did Bagged Milk finally contract out his IT responsibilities? Or maybe Bagged Milk got bagged?

  • SgtRoadBlock

    BT good luck in 10 days at the Draft …The Rebuild is still at work, i hope this open up more fans eyes and see we r not a Cup team next year too,
    we have holes from the top of the Staff and down to the Ahl Staff and Both Roster, This all can’t be fix by next season…

  • freethe flames

    Whoever the hire is they have to do a better job of slotting players into the correct position. Many on this site see Backs and Frolik as the cornerstone of a Defensive Line with some offensive upside and i completely agree. Then they go on and suggest Bennett is a top 6 offensive forward and I shudder; Bennett’s best place in this line up is as a defensive player who can pot you 10-15 goals while doing this.(Note: I like Bennett but only in the correct role) His ideal place would be with Backs/Frolik where he had his best season. However if you want to upgrade the second defensive line then that might be his position.

    The new coach whoever it shall be needs to slot people correctly. BT needs to upgrade the forward position especially on RW; after watching the Washington/Columbus game last night and paying particular attention to Vanek I would suggest he could be a very good fit in our top 2 offensive lines but only with the right contract 2 years at $3m or less I would okay with.

  • buts

    THat game where Lucic punched Smith 3 times and Gio and Hamilton did nothing is all you end to know about the type of players we have. I hope that BT has a planned in place to move out the players that don’t give a crap starting with Hamilton. He’s the logical choice to improve our forward group. Trade while his stock is high.

  • TheWheeze

    No to Bill Peters. A sideways move. Not an upgrade. Boudreau won’t coach here because of the Flames coaching pay rate. I just don’t think Gelinas has that “thing” needed to be a head coach. Probably why he has no real role with the team. Desjardins is another GG. Soft coach. I’m not a big fan of going back in time and dusting off something from the distant past, but who besides Sutter of any kind of quality besides AV is there? Really?

    • BlueMoonNigel

      I agree completely with most of what you said except that I am more open to Willie D. than you are.

      Billy Peters would be an epic mistake. Why fire Gully to hire him?

      As you said, Gelinas lacks “that thing to be a head coach.” He is also a terrible communicator. He makes Monahan sound as dynamic as Tony Robbins.

      No way to Sutter or to any of his brudders! If Daryl is brought back and the club continues to fizzle and sputter, Tre gets canned and once more you have Sutter as the GM. One axiom a smart pro sports GM always follows is to never hire a guy who covets your job.

      What exactly has AV done in the NHL? He has made his clubs competitive and even got them to the brink of the cup, but he has never won the whole enchilada. He has been an “almost” guy for a long, long time and that label can get pretty tough to shake. I think AV is a career A to B guy. I am not sure he is the right man for the Flames at this stage of the club’s development.

      Who is?