Welcome to another edition of the Monday Roundtable! Today, let’s discuss everything to do with the Calgary Flames coaching staff.
Cheers to another edition of our Monday Roundtable! The segment every Monday during the off-season where I’ll ask the other writers here at Flame for Thought different topics every Monday surrounding the Calgary Flames and get their take on it, as well as my own.
Today? Let’s discuss everything to do with the Flames coaching staff.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Flames at all this season, then you know the coaching has been a hot topic of conversation. First, we had head coach Bob Hartley who won the Jack Adams award in the 2015-2015 season. Then one season later, he gets the boot. Which shows that anything can happen.
Now we have head coach Glen Gulutzan who had his first season with the Calgary Flames this season. When the season first started, the Flames were horrendous. They were heading into November as one of the worst teams in the league. And people were already calling for his head (I’m guilty of this too). The Flames special teams were also at the bottom of the league and people were also calling for powerplay coach Dave Cameron‘s head.
And then December came around and the Flames had that six-game win streak and people were mentioning Gulutzan in the same topic as the Jack Adams award. And the Flames powerplay drastically improved and they were one of the top in December. So safe to say it’s been quite inconsistent this year. So I asked the writers questions about the coaching staff. This is how it turned out.
Question 1. We know that head coach Glen Gulutzan had a bit of a rough start to the season and people wanted him gone. How do you feel about him now?
I started out not a big fan of Gulutzan, which was quite irrational of me, but he has grown on me since and I believe the Flames are under a much more stable and successful system under Glen than under Bob. My only gripe is his coach’s challenges. Not exactly sure what his success rate was this year but I can’t remember him winning a single one and I can think of a couple times it cost the Flames a point or even two.
The Flames roster in 2016-17 wasn’t all that different than 2015-16. There was no excuse for Calgary to finish so low under Bob Hartley, but they did. Gulutzan was able to find a way to utilize all the talent on the roster and made them one of the NHL’s best.
Any coach who takes his team from 26th in the NHL to the playoffs in year one deserves to stay. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Glen Gulutzan is an outstanding coach. Did his systems and philosophies take a hot second to set in with the players? Absolutely. Relying less on the stretch passes and other styles that Bob Hartley let go, the Flames tightened up their defensive zones. We saw growth in Dougie Hamilton this year. Mark Giordano came into his form later on in the season. While this season saw inconsistencies in players as well, Glen Gulutzan has coached this team well. I can’t remember how many times SportsNet and Flames analyst Kelly Hrudey said that he felt that Gulutzan should of been a nominee for the Jack Adams Award. Not to mention, a young coach who can grow with this team too is a positive.
I agree with all three! And like Jonathan said, I was too quick to judge Glen Gulutzan but I think we were all guilty of that. Gulutzan likes a quick style of play which many teams do now as well and are all adopting this style of play. Teams don’t quite benefit by having a more aggressive style; we saw that with the Los Angeles Kings this season.
But the players and the management were patient with Gulutzan and he credited the players a lot for being patient with him. Treliving had faith in Gulutzan from the beginning and that’s why he was patient with his system and that system ended up working and that’s why we saw multiple win streaks happen this season. One in which resulted in a new Calgary Flames record.
And like Dan said, Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey, Flames primary commentators for the majority of the season loved Gulutzan’s style of play and thought he was a true stand-up guy. I actually went to a keynote with Kelly Hrudey close to the end of the season in late March and he talked about how much he liked Gulutzan, not only as a coach, but because of him being such a stand-up guy.