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.

  • Joeyhere

    Unusual for BT to act this quickly – makes me wonder if this is positioning so that Peters doesn’t re-up by Friday

    Also – why the heck not fire Sigalet – the goalie killer

  • 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.

  • Captain Ron

    I’d be really interested in talking to AV.
    Man am I ever happy I don’t have to bear witness to any more bone headed decisions by GG over and over again that were incredibly frustrating to watch.
    All I know is I don’t care if the next head coach is a great guy, good person, family man of the year or whatever. I want a coach that gets the team to produce results on a consistent basis. One that gives us an opportunity as fans to watch the home team in the playoffs year after year. I know there is more to it than coaching but this team is good enough to make the playoffs and given our prospect pool should continue to get better.

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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…

    • 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.

  • Oil consuming Flames

    Maybe Brodie won’t need to be traded now. The next coach may realize that TJ is a RD regardless of his left handedness. TJ the round peg, has never fit in the square hole of the LD position.

  • Lazarus

    Well the nerds got their analytics wizard in Gulutzan. How’d that work out? Yeah corsi was great, team blew. Let’s get someone in that knows about HOCKEY this time…let’s get back to that.
    Good talk, see ya out there

    • The Penn

      I would love to see Hunter as our next coach . I know that he is unproven at the NHL level but has had a lot of success in the minors. As a player he played with his heart on his sleeve. That’s what this team needs

  • 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.

    • Could be worse, as per usual the Oilers missed completely and retained everyone as per usual. More forensic audits, more it is a process speeches, more press conferences that raise more questions than they answer, more evaluation is underway. PK and PP coaches may get skidded, but they were the worst in the league, in fact broke a record with one of them. I can understand why that would take so long to make a decision.
      Katz) Are Kevin, Craig & Scott still employed? CHECK
      Chiarelli) Yes, why do I have to answer to this door knob, or the other two for that matter?
      Katz) Because I am a brilliant businessman and I know what’s best, my son is in training to take your job.
      Chiarelli) Why am I here then?
      Katz) You would have to ask Bob (Bobby Nicks Burgers) Nicholson. I really don’t have a clue.
      Chiarelli) Thought I answered to you?
      Katz) I know, keeps everyone confused, things are great in California (Except the Bakersfield Condors). I may own that too, I will have to get back you.
      Chiarelli ) Again why am I here?
      Katz) Just wanted to confirm the 3 Amigos are still there. They are, so lets have another 80’S party.
      Chiarelli) Ok, talk to you next year I guess?
      Katz) Incorrect, you haven’t figured out your just keeping the seat warm for Gretzky? Not to worry, I employ lots of failed executives. We will find a spot for you.

  • Glensfunnyface

    Best notification on my phone all year. Good bye and good riddance. Worst NHL coach. Take your cosi and retrieve your stick from the 13th row and don’t let the door hit you on the way out!!!

  • Mickey O

    It was inevitable that BT wasn’t going to go down with the ship with GG and the rest of the coaching staff. Gulutzan was never the man for the job, but three guys did just get fired. More like a time for some sombre reflection than giddy exuberance – some of you critters seem to be enjoying this a bit too much. Tough gig being an NHL coach where he are hired to be fired. Then again I suppose none of them are working for peanuts.