After a rough start to the season, the Calgary Flames are 0-2-1 and fans are losing confidence in head coach Glen Gulutzan.
The Calgary Flames had two disappointing losses to the Edmonton Oilers to start off their season. Followed by another disappointing shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Not a good look and definitely not the start they were looking for.
A question many fans have been asking is, “What is Glen Gulutzan doing?”
We narrowed down three key points on what fans are not so happy about and what needs to change.
Grossmann Is Gross, Man
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A few days before the season started, the Flames signed D Nicklas Grossmann to a one-year contract, much to everyone’s surprise. Of course, that’s not completely up to Gulutzan, but he still gets a say. As well as Grossmann and Gulutzan have history with one another and that was most likely a factor as well.
It took everyone by surprise because fans saw more potential in players like Brett Kulak or Tyler Wotherspoon, or even Jakub Nakladal who signed a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes this season for only $25,000 more than Grossmann.
To make matters worse, Grossmann earned a spot on the opening night roster, and he had two turnovers that led to early goals for the Oilers. So already not making a good impression with already not-happy Flames fans.
Good news is that Grossmann didn’t play in the second and third games of the season, leaving many people hoping he’ll be a healthy scratch in days to come as well.
On the season opener, fans felt anxious when they saw defensemen Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie split up. The Brodano defensive pairing works and has worked for the last two seasons. Why change what doesn’t need to be fixed?
Again, fans had their trust in the coaching staff hoping it would be fine. Unfortunately, after a rough start in the season opener and a few turnovers, fans started to lose that trust and wanted to see the pair back together.
Good news is that they were together again for game 2 and 3.
Bad news is that during game 3, Gulutzan had been moving Brodie around, again leaving fans anxious. Some more bad news is that Gulutzan had reportedly told Sportsnet that he’ll be moving Brodie around these next few weeks. I mean, giving him credit, he is a new coach for a new team. But, and this is a big but, Gio and Brodie work great together. Yes, Gulutzan wants to experiment with the lines a bit and see what works best. But everybody knows Gio and Brodie work great together. Don’t do an experiment on something that is already definite. Nobody is doing an experiment on gravity. I mean, I’m not comparing Gio and Brodie to gravity, but you get my point.
(Maybe it’s secretly a metaphor for Gio and Brodie being the force that holds this team together. Anyways.)
Turnovers After Turnovers After Turnovers
If you’ve watched the first three games of the season, then you must know what a turnover is. Gulutzan has mentioned he loves speed, and yes speed is extremely effective. If done right. If not done right, it leads to turnovers. Which has been happening and it has led to goals by the opponents.
I love that Gulutzan loves speed. It’s great especially for a team that has struggled with powerplays and penalty killing in the past. But there’s a time and place for speed and it’s definitely not the only factor. If Flames are up against an extremely fast (and young) team (like the Edmonton Oilers), then you don’t always need to be incredibly fast the entire game. Slow it down a bit, make the right plays, and don’t let a fast and sharp shooter, like Connor Mcdavid, get a breakaway.
Yes, sometimes fans think they know what’s best for the team, and have opinions. But sometimes fans aren’t always wrong. Especially people who have been following the game and the team for a while. Maybe it’s time for Gulutzan to take a small step back and listen to what people have to say.
Just a little step back.