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Old 03-20-2012, 02:54 PM   #341
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Any thoughts here on Troy Ward's perfomance as coach this year? Personally, I dont think it's been great. I know there has been a lot of player movement up and down but I don't think that is an excuse. I am not sure if the team is really motivated to play for him. When I look at the player's stats this year, I notice that almost everyone had better stats either with the Heat or with other AHL teams last year. One that comes to mind is Carter Bancks. He is up there in having as much ice time as anyone in all situations but his stats are disappointing. Is it him or how he is being managed? I really think Ward was working this team from the beginning around Kalonos scoring the goals. This might have been to the detrement of some of other players' development. I still scratch my head over the Wahl situation and even though it may not have been all Ward's decision, I don't think Ward had Wahl in his plans for the team from the get go. I also see young defenseman Martin sitting and wondering why as I think he has played well. Even with all the call ups Ward still has a strong team but for the most part they can't score. You might say you can't blame the coach but honestly I just don't feel like he knows how to "rally the troops". I will admit that Jim Playfair was pretty crazy at times but I do think his knowledge of hockey and how to get the most out of his players surpasses what Ward has. Anyway just my honest opinion.....It's hard to see the team struggling so much since the start and need to vent!
Funny that your take on Troy Ward would be the same as my take on the Flames if you changed the players names and inserted Sutter for Ward
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Old 03-20-2012, 04:42 PM   #342
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Any thoughts here on Troy Ward's perfomance as coach this year? Personally, I dont think it's been great. I know there has been a lot of player movement up and down but I don't think that is an excuse.
I think the player movement as well as injuries are certainly the biggest, if not the primary excuse for the Heat's mediocrity this season. Let's face it, this team was absolutely gutted in the offseason. There were over 20 players from last year that have since left. That does some major damage to a team's chemistry/morale, etc. I think Ward has done an absolutely outstanding job keeping this team as a functional whole all while facing the signing and releasing of ECHL players, and the up and down movement of Heat players. Furthermore, the guy who single-handedly sets the tone for the game graduated to the NHL (Bouma) and our best defenseman retired as well (Brodie).

Basically, any coach that can maintain any sort of functionality in such uncertain conditions as he was put in can stick around in my books.

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I am not sure if the team is really motivated to play for him.
I know players would never talk badly of their coach to the media. With that said, however, this season's Heat players (and rental players from other AHL and ECHL teams) have had nothing but praise for Ward and rest of the coaching staff. Contrast the numerous positive comments about Ward with nearly no positive OR negative comments about Playfair. I'll assume that an abundance of good praise towards Ward speaks volumes over little praise towards Playfair.

I'm not in the dressing room, so I'm not sure how Ward gets his team motivated, but he has spoken before on "internal vs. external fuel" (I know, lame phrases, but it's the way Ward is). I think Ward expects that he doesn't have to motivate his team, that if players want to play the game because they love it, then they will. And I don't blame him for thinking that. We're talking about professional hockey players who have clearly chosen their career in life. If they don't want to play hockey with enthusiasm and passion then Ward will sit them. The onus of motivation should be on the player, not the coach.

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When I look at the player's stats this year, I notice that almost everyone had better stats either with the Heat or with other AHL teams last year. One that comes to mind is Carter Bancks. He is up there in having as much ice time as anyone in all situations but his stats are disappointing. Is it him or how he is being managed?
I'll agree with you on this point. There's no denying that in some cases the stats are significantly less than previous years.

The players' stats have taken dips this year. Even the "stars" of the Heat (those expected to be significant factors in this team winning) have taken a hit to their stats this year. Some of these players include Walter, Wilson, Connelly, Kolanos, Desbiens, Byron, etc.

Again, I think this is a giant byproduct of injuries and call-ups. An example of this is Walter, being a playmaker, had his stats take a hit because of his linemates Kolanos getting called up periodically and Rheault being hurt for most of the season.

I think for the most part, it's on the players that their stats have taken a hit. In Bancks case, he has been put in offensive situations all throughout the year (i.e., playing on a line with Nemisz and Sylvester and getting PP time).

I see the players getting ample opportunity to score, but just aren't doing it.

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I really think Ward was working this team from the beginning around Kalonos scoring the goals. This might have been to the detrement of some of other players' development.
I can't really comment on Ward's systems because personally I don't really understand or recognize systems. All I know is that he has been placing players in the roles he thinks they can best handle. If they show Ward that they can handle a different or additional roles, then he'll try them in that role (e.g., starting Howse off in a checking role to start. Howse starting to get points so Ward gave him PP time and put him on the top lines). Patterson, on the other hand, has shown that he is ultimately a checker that doesn't have great offensive prowess, so Ward plays him in defensive roles and gives him PK time where he is a threat.

I don't think he centered the team around Kolanos, but I do think he put Kolanos in all offensive situations because that's what Kolanos' role is.

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I still scratch my head over the Wahl situation and even though it may not have been all Ward's decision, I don't think Ward had Wahl in his plans for the team from the get go.
The Wahl situation still confuses me a bit. At first, I understood the whole situation from both sides. Ward couldn't offer Wahl a spot that fit the role he plays (a top 6 role), so they sent him to a team that could offer him that role.

Then, I have no idea what happened...

He got released from Hamilton for reasons unknown. Maybe his contract with Hamilton rat out? Then, from what I understand, there were technicalities in which he couldn't return to the Heat until next year, so now he's in Utah lighting it up when the Heat need a top 6 guy the most. Makes no sense to me.

Perhaps the whole Wahl situation can be pinned on Ward, but if you think about the opening day roster for the Heat, they looked pretty set. Wahl was struggling and I think it was best for both sides that he was sent to another team where he had the chance to flourish.

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I also see young defenseman Martin sitting and wondering why as I think he has played well.
I agree. Martin has played excellent when he's been in the lineup. He's adjusted to the pro level very well and he's one of the few guys on the team that will crush a guy if he gets the chance. He's basically our new Pelech, but with far superior skating ability and a bit more offense all while maintaining the same level of physicality and aggressiveness.

I think Martin should be slotted in more regularly, but when Ward's trying to secure his team a playoff spot, I can see why he would put in Connelly, Wilson, Carson, Piskula, Breen, and Testwuide ahead of Martin. What I don't understand, however, is slotting in Henry over Martin for all of those games. Martin is a better defenseman IMO.

With that said, I know Martin was hurt for a chunk of the season, so that's why he wasn't in much in the beginning of the season. I think Martin will have a much bigger role next season. I really like that Feaster signed him. I know Martin and Leach were paired together in Kootenay so maybe they can be paired again next season.

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Even with all the call ups Ward still has a strong team but for the most part they can't score. You might say you can't blame the coach but honestly I just don't feel like he knows how to "rally the troops".
If by strong team you mean physically, then yes. But definitely not offensively. The Heat are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. I don't think that's a huge fault of Ward's. There's a few factors in the Heat being low scoring: a) the veterans only play when they feel like it. Some games they'll play physical, have speed, and great awareness, but some games they won't. This team is largely based on the play of the veterans, but when they don't want to play, this team's chances of winning are slim; b) the Heat are in the toughest division in the AHL. Playing inter-division rivals for 3/4 of the season is ridiculously difficult on the Heat. That has to have some impact on the Heat's goal production; and c) constant call-ups and a high turnover of players is tough to maintain consistency.

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I will admit that Jim Playfair was pretty crazy at times but I do think his knowledge of hockey and how to get the most out of his players surpasses what Ward has.
I think Ward and Playfair's knowledge of hockey is relatively equal. But Ward is more of a player's coach while Playfair was a hard-nose Randy Carlyle type coach. Ward is a more easy-going, yet demanding coach.

The thing with last year is that there were no offensive-minded players. Maybe Nemisz and Rheault... oh yeah, and Matt Keith haha. When you've got nothing but a team of grinders, of course they're going to play that style. I think Playfair got credit for creating a tough team when the players were inherently tough in the first place.

This year, with Ward, we've got offensive players, but due to reasons listed above, those players couldn't get it going.

I say we should all give Ward a break because he's done a fine job working in an uncertain environment. He's had a difficult season with the abnormally large amount of call-ups and injuries. That's just what this season has been - abnormal. I think the only other team in the AHL that has gone through a similar season is the Houston Aeros. Injuries with Minnesota has caused them to rely on AHL veterans, ECHL, and PTO signings. In fact, Houston and Abbotsford are basically in the same position standings-wise.

The organization loves Ward, the players love Ward, and I think the fans like Ward. He's had a very difficult season. Despite the uncertainty he's had to deal with, I think he's really helped out our young players (i.e., Howse with his conditioning and Aliu with his attitude). Not only that, but I have the impression that Ward isn't only a hockey coach, but he's a life coach as well. The players can approach him about ANYTHING in life. That's a coach that will gain and give respect.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #343
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Gaelan Patterson's been sent to Utah. Likely to make space for Eddy. Brandt will probably be realeased along with Ruegsegger to make room for Elson.
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:29 PM   #344
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Nemisz was sent back today as well, so there really shouldn't be any space for Ruegsegger and Brandt any more. Nemisz, Elson and Eddy for Patterson, Brandt and Ruegsegger ... not too shabby I'd say.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:08 PM   #345
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nm, wrong thread.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:00 PM   #346
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I think the player movement as well as injuries are certainly the biggest, if not the primary excuse for the Heat's mediocrity this season. Let's face it, this team was absolutely gutted in the offseason. There were over 20 players from last year that have since left. That does some major damage to a team's chemistry/morale, etc. I think Ward has done an absolutely outstanding job keeping this team as a functional whole all while facing the signing and releasing of ECHL players, and the up and down movement of Heat players. Furthermore, the guy who single-handedly sets the tone for the game graduated to the NHL (Bouma) and our best defenseman retired as well (Brodie).

Basically, any coach that can maintain any sort of functionality in such uncertain conditions as he was put in can stick around in my books.



I know players would never talk badly of their coach to the media. With that said, however, this season's Heat players (and rental players from other AHL and ECHL teams) have had nothing but praise for Ward and rest of the coaching staff. Contrast the numerous positive comments about Ward with nearly no positive OR negative comments about Playfair. I'll assume that an abundance of good praise towards Ward speaks volumes over little praise towards Playfair.

I'm not in the dressing room, so I'm not sure how Ward gets his team motivated, but he has spoken before on "internal vs. external fuel" (I know, lame phrases, but it's the way Ward is). I think Ward expects that he doesn't have to motivate his team, that if players want to play the game because they love it, then they will. And I don't blame him for thinking that. We're talking about professional hockey players who have clearly chosen their career in life. If they don't want to play hockey with enthusiasm and passion then Ward will sit them. The onus of motivation should be on the player, not the coach.



I'll agree with you on this point. There's no denying that in some cases the stats are significantly less than previous years.

The players' stats have taken dips this year. Even the "stars" of the Heat (those expected to be significant factors in this team winning) have taken a hit to their stats this year. Some of these players include Walter, Wilson, Connelly, Kolanos, Desbiens, Byron, etc.

Again, I think this is a giant byproduct of injuries and call-ups. An example of this is Walter, being a playmaker, had his stats take a hit because of his linemates Kolanos getting called up periodically and Rheault being hurt for most of the season.

I think for the most part, it's on the players that their stats have taken a hit. In Bancks case, he has been put in offensive situations all throughout the year (i.e., playing on a line with Nemisz and Sylvester and getting PP time).

I see the players getting ample opportunity to score, but just aren't doing it.



I can't really comment on Ward's systems because personally I don't really understand or recognize systems. All I know is that he has been placing players in the roles he thinks they can best handle. If they show Ward that they can handle a different or additional roles, then he'll try them in that role (e.g., starting Howse off in a checking role to start. Howse starting to get points so Ward gave him PP time and put him on the top lines). Patterson, on the other hand, has shown that he is ultimately a checker that doesn't have great offensive prowess, so Ward plays him in defensive roles and gives him PK time where he is a threat.

I don't think he centered the team around Kolanos, but I do think he put Kolanos in all offensive situations because that's what Kolanos' role is.



The Wahl situation still confuses me a bit. At first, I understood the whole situation from both sides. Ward couldn't offer Wahl a spot that fit the role he plays (a top 6 role), so they sent him to a team that could offer him that role.

Then, I have no idea what happened...

He got released from Hamilton for reasons unknown. Maybe his contract with Hamilton rat out? Then, from what I understand, there were technicalities in which he couldn't return to the Heat until next year, so now he's in Utah lighting it up when the Heat need a top 6 guy the most. Makes no sense to me.

Perhaps the whole Wahl situation can be pinned on Ward, but if you think about the opening day roster for the Heat, they looked pretty set. Wahl was struggling and I think it was best for both sides that he was sent to another team where he had the chance to flourish.



I agree. Martin has played excellent when he's been in the lineup. He's adjusted to the pro level very well and he's one of the few guys on the team that will crush a guy if he gets the chance. He's basically our new Pelech, but with far superior skating ability and a bit more offense all while maintaining the same level of physicality and aggressiveness.

I think Martin should be slotted in more regularly, but when Ward's trying to secure his team a playoff spot, I can see why he would put in Connelly, Wilson, Carson, Piskula, Breen, and Testwuide ahead of Martin. What I don't understand, however, is slotting in Henry over Martin for all of those games. Martin is a better defenseman IMO.

With that said, I know Martin was hurt for a chunk of the season, so that's why he wasn't in much in the beginning of the season. I think Martin will have a much bigger role next season. I really like that Feaster signed him. I know Martin and Leach were paired together in Kootenay so maybe they can be paired again next season.



If by strong team you mean physically, then yes. But definitely not offensively. The Heat are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. I don't think that's a huge fault of Ward's. There's a few factors in the Heat being low scoring: a) the veterans only play when they feel like it. Some games they'll play physical, have speed, and great awareness, but some games they won't. This team is largely based on the play of the veterans, but when they don't want to play, this team's chances of winning are slim; b) the Heat are in the toughest division in the AHL. Playing inter-division rivals for 3/4 of the season is ridiculously difficult on the Heat. That has to have some impact on the Heat's goal production; and c) constant call-ups and a high turnover of players is tough to maintain consistency.



I think Ward and Playfair's knowledge of hockey is relatively equal. But Ward is more of a player's coach while Playfair was a hard-nose Randy Carlyle type coach. Ward is a more easy-going, yet demanding coach.

The thing with last year is that there were no offensive-minded players. Maybe Nemisz and Rheault... oh yeah, and Matt Keith haha. When you've got nothing but a team of grinders, of course they're going to play that style. I think Playfair got credit for creating a tough team when the players were inherently tough in the first place.

This year, with Ward, we've got offensive players, but due to reasons listed above, those players couldn't get it going.

I say we should all give Ward a break because he's done a fine job working in an uncertain environment. He's had a difficult season with the abnormally large amount of call-ups and injuries. That's just what this season has been - abnormal. I think the only other team in the AHL that has gone through a similar season is the Houston Aeros. Injuries with Minnesota has caused them to rely on AHL veterans, ECHL, and PTO signings. In fact, Houston and Abbotsford are basically in the same position standings-wise.

The organization loves Ward, the players love Ward, and I think the fans like Ward. He's had a very difficult season. Despite the uncertainty he's had to deal with, I think he's really helped out our young players (i.e., Howse with his conditioning and Aliu with his attitude). Not only that, but I have the impression that Ward isn't only a hockey coach, but he's a life coach as well. The players can approach him about ANYTHING in life. That's a coach that will gain and give respect.


Sorry to use such a long quote but I honestly do not think Ward is Player's Coach so I respectfully disagree. He puts that out to the public but I think it is a different story in the locker room. I have billeted hockey players for many years so I think I have a bit of insight into what players have to deal with regarding coaches. I hope that I am wrong about Ward but I don't think so. Quite frankly I would never consider him a life coach. Anyone can talk like they are a life coach but there is a lot of difference between talk and action.
As a side note...sorry to see Patterson go. He definitley was not used to his potential. I don't think Ward got the best out of him and basically a coach should be able to figure out how to get the best out of his players. I don't know....I just find Ward irritating.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:14 PM   #347
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I have never heard more exhaustive praise for a coach from ex-players than I have about Troy Ward. When speaking to players about AHL coaching, everyone I spoke with had great things to say about Troy (and nobody really offered much about Playfair.)

The Flames brass seems to be happy, too. Troy's job is to provide NHL-ready bodies at a moment's notice. Despite missing tons and tons of bodies at all times, the Heat are in the playoff hunt and have provided the Flames with enough competent reinforcements that the Flames are, too.

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Old 03-20-2012, 11:53 PM   #348
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I have never heard more exhaustive praise for a coach from ex-players than I have about Troy Ward. When speaking to players about AHL coaching, everyone I spoke with had great things to say about Troy (and nobody really offered much about Playfair.)

The Flames brass seems to be happy, too. Troy's job is to provide NHL-ready bodies at a moment's notice. Despite missing tons and tons of bodies at all times, the Heat are in the playoff hunt and have provided the Flames with enough competent reinforcements that the Flames are, too.

I dont' remember a lot of players being interviewed about Playfair last year but then there were not a lot of players called in. You can be sure that in an intereview any player would have spoken well about him. Saying anything negative about a coach is pretty much career suicide quite frankly. I do recall that people in the community of Abbotsford spoke highly of Jim Playair. Personally I thought he was "off the rails" at times but I think what you got from Jim was real, like it or not. I thought he was able to get a lot out of most of his younger players.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:19 AM   #349
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Gaelan Patterson's been sent to Utah. Likely to make space for Eddy. Brandt will probably be realeased along with Ruegsegger to make room for Elson.
The timing for Patterson being sent to the ECHL was to have him play the last 5 ECHL regular season games so he could be eligible for their playoffs (ECHL rules). This way he can get ice time with the Grizzlys while the Heat roster gets filled up with call ups coming down from Calgary and College and Junior players coming in. I think that looks good on Calgary.....nothing worse than sitting in the stands watching.....
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:33 AM   #350
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Turner Elson has officially been re-assigned to Abbotsford.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:02 PM   #351
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Very interesting "Wednesday with Ward" (especially at the 1:28 mark):



I don't know what to think about this. I'm not entirely sure what Ward meant by "distractions," but I'll assume he knows what he's doing. Any insights on what he might mean?
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:25 AM   #352
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Very interesting "Wednesday with Ward" (especially at the 1:28 mark):



I don't know what to think about this. I'm not entirely sure what Ward meant by "distractions," but I'll assume he knows what he's doing. Any insights on what he might mean?
Sounds like they have more bodies that stalls in the locker room, so depending on the starting line up, players are juggled around from place to place. This juggling can be a bit of a distraction, although I doubt it's a big one.
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Old 03-23-2012, 03:29 PM   #353
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Yeah, I'm sure it is a distraction but that's part of the deal of being a minor pro feeding team. I think even if these graduating juniors or college players don't get the ice time, they still pick up things by being around the pro team. Ward has been through this before and I'm sure he'll handle it, it just takes a little more work at a critical time.
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:16 PM   #354
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But the thing that I found interesting was when he said they will practice at a different time than the starting players. Why would Ward do that? Why not let them all practice at the same time? Just seems weird to me.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:42 PM   #355
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But the thing that I found interesting was when he said they will practice at a different time than the starting players. Why would Ward do that? Why not let them all practice at the same time? Just seems weird to me.
With all the guys coming up on ATO's, etc, if there are too many guys not playing that night, they won't be preparing for the game like those who will be. As such, to keep the players that will be playing focused, they practice separately and have separate locker rooms. At least that's how I took it.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:31 PM   #356
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With all the guys coming up on ATO's, etc, if there are too many guys not playing that night, they won't be preparing for the game like those who will be. As such, to keep the players that will be playing focused, they practice separately and have separate locker rooms. At least that's how I took it.
Makes sense. It just seems like an odd tactic to me.

There are currently 19 forwards (minus Rheault, Laing, and Reugsegger who are all hurt), 7 defensemen, and two goalies.

So essentially, there's only 4 extra forwards. I can see how there are no dressing room stalls, but no room on the ice? Weird.

Oh well. I'm probably making more of it than I should haha.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:00 PM   #357
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A couple of new interviews with the new guys and Conroy:



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Old 03-24-2012, 10:39 PM   #358
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Heat lose 6-1 to San Antonio........wtf???? Rather embarrassing. Wonder what Ward will have to say? Maybe some more life coach nonsense.
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:04 AM   #359
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Heat lose 6-1 to San Antonio........wtf???? Rather embarrassing. Wonder what Ward will have to say? Maybe some more life coach nonsense.
How do the Heat expect to impress the city of Abbotsford if they keep losing at home?

Tonight there were over 4100 people there... and you saw the result. Ridiculous.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:37 PM   #360
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Heat beat San Antonio 6-5 tonight after being down 0-3 after just 16 minutes. Kolanos had a 5-point-game (hattrick plus 2 assists), while Walter also had 2 goals and 1 assist. Sylvester had the other goal, Byron and Jessiman both had 2 assists. David Eddy had his first game for Abbotsford and was scoreless. Turner Elson didn't play ... what about Howse, is he injured again?

3-1 Kolanos (20, PP) (Connelly, Walter)
3-2 Sylvester (13) (Kolanos, Byron)
4-3 Kolanos (21) (Byron, Piskula)
4-4 Walter (15) (Estoclet, Jessiman)
4-5 Walter (16, PP) (Kolanos, Jessiman)
4-6 Kolanos (22) (Sylvester, Testwuide)

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