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Old 02-24-2021, 12:27 PM   #461
Calgary4LIfe
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Wow.. lots of posts about Hartley vs Gulutzan vs Peters vs Ward. I will throw my two cents in while we are at it.


Hartley was by far the best coach by many metrics. The two I think that are the most important here is "Expectations vs Results", and what a coach actually is responsible for.


1) Expectations vs Results: Can anyone say with a straight face that any coach, for any period of time, actually exceeded expectations since Hartley? Darryl being the only other one in the last 20 years to do so. People like to say it was 'lightning in a bottle', but they forget all the accolades the Flames received in the season prior to the one in which they made the playoffs. From about halfway through that season, it seemed like the Flames turned a corner, and they were playing well. How do I remember? It was Aaron Ward that predicted the Flames to make the playoffs the following season, and it was because of that second half. In the next season, Flames stumbled for sure, but it had a lot to do with the goalies. Just look at the Flames win/loss record when Ramo was in net after he returned from the AHL. The Flames couldn't get respectable goaltending outside of that.



2) What does a coach do, by definition. If you hire a 'life coach', or if you play a sport, and you hire a coach for whatever it is, what do you expect out of it? You expect that coach to show you how to be better. To demonstrate proper techniques, give you some insight, etc. Out of all the coaches that Calgary has had recently, I argue that Bob was the only one that did that. Again, how do I know this? All you had to do with listen to the other team's media broadcast when the Flames were on the road. They marvelled at how Hartley had his team on the ice in what looked like a real practice rather than a game-day skate, and how much he would work with individual players one-on-one, demonstrating what they should be doing, actual hands-on instruction.



Say what you will about Hartley, but IMO, he was the best coach this team has had for a number of years. He was the perfect coach to enter into a rebuild with because he had the patience to take a much more active role in teaching kids the finer aspects of the game, and even making a lot of them 'believe in themselves' (remember Wotherspoon citing that Ward told him he doesn't need to just be a defensive defencemen, but that he can also chip in offensively?, or getting Monahan to play a more completely 2-way game?).


He was also the perfect coach to take over the team and get that culture out. I didn't agree much with what Feaster talked about during his time here, but he was BANG ON when he spoke out about this mediocrity disease permeating through the organization. Hartley I thought dealt with that fairly effectively. This team played hard under him, and everyone loved the Flames back then.


I am not saying that it was wrong for Hartley to have been fired. I also think it is wrong to think that Hartley wouldn't have tweaked his systems if given better players. IMO, he was good at figuring out how a team should play. He deserved to get canned because of his overly-zealous disciplinarian methods - those were completely out-dated. But hey, at least he didn't go around hitting players like Peters! Either way, I have no problem for the firing if that's what it really was about.


Maybe Ward ends up proving himself to be better than what we have seen. I don't know. It sure feels like the clock is ticking on him. I will be interested to see how he does tonight specifically. Not because 'his job is on the line' over tonight's game, but because I know Toronto will come back with some changes, and I want to see if Ward can come up with some adjustments on the fly.


I feel that coaching is being tested much more this year than in previous years. I think the better able that coaches are at making in-game adjustments, I think the more success that they will have this year, and the more coaches that will be weeded-out as well. Ward seems to be failing so far - I thought Green out-coached him and got his team that was going down the tubes straightened-out somewhat, and have them playing a decent 2-way game. To his credit, I think Ward has out-coached Sheldon Keefe so far, and I hope it continues tonight.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:28 PM   #462
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Agreed.

Here are the results thus far

33-24-4 regular season

5-5 play-IN/playoff games

Fireable?
Depends on expectations. If the playoff results were okay, not fireable. If you want this team to get to another gear as a contender? Perhaps. Treliving thinks Ward is the guy to get them there. Looking at just this season so far? Not meeting expectations I would say.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:47 PM   #463
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I don't think many people are thinking Hartley should be the coach of the team right now. The point is, people want results, bottom line. The funnest part of following a hockey team is when they win. As Flames fans, we seldom get to experience that. The Hartley team at least gave us a taste of it.
You can argue until your blue in the face about how good or bad coaches are, but unless you can back it up with the most important result, winning, it doesn't matter. I was arguing with people who were thinking Gulutzan was just fine while the wheels were falling of on the ice. Doesn't seem like a lot of people would make that argument now. Winning is the ultimate evidence. Hartley got better playoff result than any coach who came after him (thus far) -- not a controversial statement. If Ward can outdo that I won't even need to proclaim he's better, it will just be self evident. But he has a lot of work to do to make that happen.
Agreed.

I doubt Hartley would still be the coach today if Treliving never let him go when he did. Coaches like him are about short-term results. I totally agree that his methods aren't the best for developing and nurturing young players, but I don't think it's fair to put the lack of overall success on him either. Were there better options... totally. Was anyone a better option... evidently not. Not only has the performance been largely disappointing since then, but some of the core players seem to have stagnated as well. Treliving either didn't have a plan, had a weak plan, or had a good plan and failed hard to execute it. Either way, he made a mistake. He reportedly interviewed 10 candidates and slowly watched them all sign with other teams until Gulutzan was the last man standing. If you fire a coach, you need to get an upgrade. He seemed to do it and then hoped things would work out. He traded the boat, even if it was a 14' aluminum with leaky rivets, for a mystery box that ended up containing a turd with leaking rivets.

The amount of hate Hartley gets is disproportionate to how he actually did in my opinion. He had a very young team in general, and for part of his tenure, an old star past his prime. He overachieved in one year, and got results that were expected in the other years. I don't think he ever achieved less than what the sum of the parts were. It was disappointing to regress after the year he overachieved, but it was a regression to normal. Maybe not the guy you want looking after your team while prospects are making the jump to the NHL due to the lack of fundamentals, but not worth the hate either. He had to balls to scratch Monahan and Gaudreau for not following team rules, but I guess they got the last laugh.

The main thing I liked about his time with the Flames was that the team had no quit when he was coaching. I don't know if that was a function of him being a good motivator, or the individual players being young and hungry, but now they have 'quit' coming out the wazoo. Whatever it was, they lost it after Hartley was let go. Maybe the two aren't correlated. The fact that they recaptured it in year one of Peters, suggests to me that at least part of it was coaching.
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:22 PM   #464
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Agreed.

I doubt Hartley would still be the coach today if Treliving never let him go when he did. Coaches like him are about short-term results. I totally agree that his methods aren't the best for developing and nurturing young players, but I don't think it's fair to put the lack of overall success on him either. Were there better options... totally. Was anyone a better option... evidently not. Not only has the performance been largely disappointing since then, but some of the core players seem to have stagnated as well. Treliving either didn't have a plan, had a weak plan, or had a good plan and failed hard to execute it. Either way, he made a mistake. He reportedly interviewed 10 candidates and slowly watched them all sign with other teams until Gulutzan was the last man standing. If you fire a coach, you need to get an upgrade. He seemed to do it and then hoped things would work out. He traded the boat, even if it was a 14' aluminum with leaky rivets, for a mystery box that ended up containing a turd with leaking rivets.

The amount of hate Hartley gets is disproportionate to how he actually did in my opinion. He had a very young team in general, and for part of his tenure, an old star past his prime. He overachieved in one year, and got results that were expected in the other years. I don't think he ever achieved less than what the sum of the parts were. It was disappointing to regress after the year he overachieved, but it was a regression to normal. Maybe not the guy you want looking after your team while prospects are making the jump to the NHL due to the lack of fundamentals, but not worth the hate either. He had to balls to scratch Monahan and Gaudreau for not following team rules, but I guess they got the last laugh.

The main thing I liked about his time with the Flames was that the team had no quit when he was coaching. I don't know if that was a function of him being a good motivator, or the individual players being young and hungry, but now they have 'quit' coming out the wazoo. Whatever it was, they lost it after Hartley was let go. Maybe the two aren't correlated. The fact that they recaptured it in year one of Peters, suggests to me that at least part of it was coaching.
I actually have little opinion on Hartley’s strategies. It’s more the pedestal some put him on based on a short time frame, and also because he was a major league two-faced jerk.

But they didn’t just regress in his last year - they fell by 20 points and that can’t just be Hiller, who wasn’t even the majority starter. Ramo had a passable save% and they still lost more than they won in front of him. And the team had plenty of quit that last year, while he was still coaching them. A few key guys really fell backwards in their play (Hudler, Wideman, for example).
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:24 PM   #465
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...The main thing I liked about his time with the Flames was that the team had no quit when he was coaching. I don't know if that was a function of him being a good motivator, or the individual players being young and hungry, but now they have 'quit' coming out the wazoo. Whatever it was, they lost it after Hartley was let go. Maybe the two aren't correlated. The fact that they recaptured it in year one of Peters, suggests to me that at least part of it was coaching.
I think you are partly right about this, but I also think this group of players has shown pretty clearly that while they can respond to a fiercely motivational coach in fits and spurts, they won't over a longer period of time. I distinctly recall that Hartley had seemed to lose the group already in his last season behind the bench, and this has me wondering about whether what we see today is something that he had a hand in creating: with a bunch of young players under his charge in those last three seasons, did his relentlessness backfire so irreparably that the team quit, and never fully recovered?
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