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.

          • JoelOttosJock

            Way better here? As much of a Flames fan as I am, sounds like you are wearing those home town rose colored glasses. Darling/Ward or Smith/Rittich..hmmm no brainer, advantage Carolina. Gio, Brodie, Hamilton, Hamonic, Kulak and Stone or Faulk, van Riemsdyk, Pesce, Hannifan, Slavin and Nordstrom. This one is even easier than goaltending..advantage Hurricanes. Monahan, Gaudreau, Tkchuck, Ferland, Backlund and Frolik or Aho, Terravainen, Williams, Skinner, Staal and Rask, advantage Flames. Bennet, Janko, Hathaway, Stajan, Brouwer and Verateeg or Lindholm, Ryan, McGinn, Sfempniank and Di Guisseppe, well niether bpttom 6 looks great advantage Hurricanes. The Flames roster is not that strong outside of 4 of the top 6 and 2 d.

          • BiggDogg

            Wouldn’t say no brainer flames on goaltending man. Darling was awful this year man. Hurricanes blue line may have a better future for sure, but rn Flames roster is better

          • MetalGearCody

            I haven’t watched much of carolinas hockey this last year but when they played Calgary they played a very fast paced and aggressive forecheck from what i remember. Is this how most of the games went for them or was it only against Calgary they played this way?

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Didn’t care how Billy Peters last season and tis season tossed players under the bus in public. That is not how it is done in the NHL these days. No way to Peters.

  • 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!!!

  • I should be GM

    Wow was that painful waiting for this great news! I personally would have done it months ago. Unless Tre was trying to make a package deal trade? Gully, Brouwer, Staj and Bartkowski for some pucks and a couple of broken sticks?

  • JoelOttosJock

    I would like to see DJ Smith, assistant coach with the Leafs. Won a memorial cup a few years ago and is learning oodles of things from Babcock, and is a part of the exciting way the young leafs play. Just an off the board, pipe dream i suppose.

    • Beer League Coach

      If we are bringing back a Sutter, let’s bring back Brian. He had very little in the way of talent but still kept them competitive. And don’t forget his memorable TV interview. When asked if he thought size was a deterrent to some of his players (Marty St. Louis & others) his response was “It’s not the size of the bull that counts. It’s how well he is hung.”

  • 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.

  • JMK

    I’d love to see WW’s face if they announce Huska as the replacement, but not really as I’m hoping they can do a lot better. Interested now in articles the options of replacement. Pity about Gerrard, PK showed a lot of improvement but I guess new coach will want a say.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hockeysense93

    Sadly, I don’t think BT’s signing cap is all that high for a new coach. By the sounds of it…it will be under a million, which doesn’t really get you much these days (thanks Babcock). That eliminates 2/3 of any viable, experienced coach available…including Sutter or Vigneault. Peters or the like may be the Flames best option. Even Tippett is sitting on his @ss getting paid more then the Flames will offer him. Hence…this may take awhile.