A sign reflects the Tim Tebow mania that is buzzing around the city during the third period of an NHL hockey game between the Colorado Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 in Denver. The Avalanche won 4-3. Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)
With the coaching carousel now in full spin — another gig opened up today, as Bob Hartley was fired in Calgary — GMs are actively seeking permission to speak with potential candidates.
Like in Minnesota, where Chuck Fletcher is working the phones.
Per the Star-Tribune, Fletcher — who has reportedly reached out to Ducks GM Bob Murray about Bruce Boudreau — is now also looking at Boudreau’s assistant in Anaheim, Paul MacLean, along with ex-Ducks and Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle.
More, from Mike Russo:
It’s believed on that same phone call with Murray, Fletcher asked about the status of Ducks assistant coach Paul MacLean. I’ve been led to believe Fletcher has yet to receive permission to talk with MacLean. If that’s true, it likely means MacLean, the former Senators head coach, is a candidate to replace Boudreau in Anaheim. That would make sense since MacLean was Murray’s hire in the first place.
In addition, as I reported in my Boudreau piece in Saturday’s paper here, sources told me that Fletcher did plan to contact Randy Carlyle. I don’t know if that contact has been made yet with the former Ducks and Maple Leafs coach.
Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, Fletcher is currently in California. Logic suggests he’s getting two interviews done for the price of one, as both Boudreau and Carlyle live in southern California.
As for MacLean, he’s certainly going to be a figure worth monitoring. One has to think he’s in line to replace Boudreau in Anaheim — something predicted from the moment he was hired — but that’s assuming Murray doesn’t clean house behind the bench.
Brad Treliving started out with a lot of love for Bob Hartley.
“Bob did some very good things here,” the Flames’ general manager told reporters today in Calgary. “He built a foundation in this organization. Apart from all else, he put his heart and soul into this team every day. He bled for this team. Bob’s a good coach.”
Then came the brutal honesty:
“I just felt that at this particular time, for us to move forward, Bob has taken this team as far as I feel he can take it.”
Hence, today’s decision to fire Hartley — a decision that Treliving insisted had nothing to do with any other coach that may have recently become available. (Like, for example, Bruce Boudreau.) Nor was it just to “throw a body on the tarmac” after the Flames missed the playoffs.
The decision to fire Hartley was made for one simple reason — the Flames haven’t been playing good enough hockey.
“Our special teams for a good portion of the year were 30th in the league. There’s some style-of-play issues,” said Treliving.
“Our goaltending was not good this year. That falls on the general manager. I need to fix that. [But] the way we play in front of the goaltender needs to be fixed as well.”
The statistics support Treliving’s assessment. In 2015-16, the Flames had the highest goals-against average in the NHL, and the worst penalty killing.
At five on five, Calgary was also one of the league’s worst puck-possession teams. And while that was the case last season as well, when the Flames made the playoffs and even won a round, remember that Treliving had previously chalked up a good portion of last season’s success to luck.
“I don’t want to characterize this as I’m standing in one end of the corner and Bob’s at the other end, and one’s talking chess and the other’s talking checkers,” Treliving said Monday.
“But in today’s game, you need to have the puck. You’ve gotta work like hell to get it. And when you get it, you gotta hold on to it, you gotta play with it.
“I think how you defend in the league, too, is an area we look at. … You really break down the chances that we give up… you’ve gotta be able to defend in this league.”
And so the search for Hartley’s replacement begins.
“I’ll leave this podium and work will start on who the next coach will be,” said Treliving. “But up until this point, this is about making a decision, doing it in what I believe is the right manner, and then we’ll move on.”
To listen to Treliving’s entire press conference, click here.
Florida made a noteworthy move on Tuesday, signing defensman Linus Hultstrom from SHL club Djurgardens.
Hultstrom, 23, just wrapped a terrific year in which he led all SHL blueliners in goals (12) and points (31). In the playoffs, Hultstrom upped his production — 12 points in eight games — paving the way for the Panthers to make their move.
Though undersized — he’s listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds — Hultstrom has been a scorer at virtually every level, and should be in line for a role on Florida’s blueline next season.
Another veteran defenseman, Brian Campbell, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and it remains unclear if GM Dale Tallon will try to re-sign him.
Jakub Kindl, acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit, failed to impress and made just one appearance in the postseason. Kindl does, however, have one year remaining on his contract.
Ryan Strome‘s tough year just got a little bit tougher.
After seemingly re-establishing himself in the Islanders lineup, Strome will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s Game 3 against the Lightning.
Head coach Jack Capuano will drop Strome in favor of Josh Bailey, who returns from a two-game absence due to injury.
“I try to be a good team guy and I don’t want to draw any negative attention to myself,” Strome continued, per Newsday.
The fifth overall pick in 2011, Strome endured a difficult campaign that included a three-week stint in the AHL.
Those difficulties have carried over to the postseason. After playing the first four games of New York’s opening-round playoff series against the Panthers, Strome was dropped for Games 5 and 6 — but Bailey was hurt in the clincher, meaning Strome drew back in for the opening two games of the Bolts series.
It’s hard to say what exactly got him scratched. In Game 1, he assisted on both of Shane Prince‘s goals, helping the Isles to a 5-3 win — despite fairly limited ice time (12:26, third-lowest among forwards.)
In Game 2, his numbers weren’t as good — no points, two shots on goal, minus-1 rating, 35.9 Corsi — but his ice time jumped to 17:59, easily his biggest of the postseason.
The decision to park Strome probably isn’t about numbers. Following the Game 2 loss, Capuano said the Isles were “a little soft,” which has been one of the complaints about Strome’s game this year.
In fact, the 22-year-old alluded to it today.
“Last series [the message was] I needed to be a little harder to play against,” Strome said. “Points don’t always tell the whole story. I’m always confident in my game, but unfortunately I don’t make the decisions.
“I have to live with it.”