AP Images

Can Bill Peters find NHL success with Flames?

5 Comments

The search for a new head coach lasted less than a week with Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving having interest in hiring only one man — Bill Peters.

It was six days ago that Treliving canned Gulutzan and said his next head coach would have NHL experience. Peters would decide on Friday to opt-out of the final year of his deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, which also meant walking away from a guaranteed $1.6 million salary for 2018-19. He immediately became favorite and the only candidate for the job.

“This is an individual I’m familiar with. This is the individual at the time once we made a change I was focused upon,” Treliving said on Monday. “I was very familiar with the field that was out there. There’s some great candidates. I was focused on Bill.”

Peters, who is an Alberta native and worked with Treliving at the 2016 IIHF World Championships, comes with four seasons of experience as an NHL head coach having led the Carolina Hurricanes since 2014-15. Those four seasons weren’t very successful, however, as the team finished with a combined 137-138-53 record and zero playoff appearances.

That lack of success wasn’t enough to deter Treliving from making the hire. The decision was based more on their brief time together on Canada’s staff two years ago and intel the GM has gathered over the years.

“He’s prepared. I think he’s a student of the modern game. I think he’s relationship-driven with players,” Treliving said. “He’s honest and direct, and as you’ll quickly come to realize, he’s going to be a tremendous addition to our staff.”

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

With Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton locked up long-term, Peters arrives in Calgary with a roster that has plenty of talent on both ends of the rink. The Hurricanes were a good possession team under him, and that’s one thing the new head coach wants to continue to see with his new roster.

“We’re going to play a game that’s puck possession, ‘D’ active. Face-offs are important — that’s your first 50/50 battle of your shift is a face-off,” Peters said. “I want to have the puck, I want to possess the puck. I want to make sure we have value on the puck when we have it, make good plays, strong plays with it, be hard on it, be a hard team to play against, take advantage of playing on the good ice at the Saddledome.”

While Carolina’s offensive numbers were fine under Peters, the defensive side did not improve. Yeah, there was some terrible goaltending that was a hindrance but the shot suppression did not get better with the Hurricanes allowing an average of 2.02 even strength shots more per game from Year 1 to Year 4.

Peters takes over a Flames team that saw a second half swoon destroy their playoff hopes and lead to the dismissal of their head coach. In Carolina, there was hope in the early days for growth with a young roster, but after a lack of progress as expectations increased during his tenure, it was clear what he was implementing wasn’t working and he could not get through to his players.

Wanting to be a top-10 team in primary statisical categories, the expectations are even higher now for Peters to succeed with the Flames. Will he get a different response here in Calgary compared to Carolina?

“I want to be a team that gets off to a good start, sustains that quality start and has a playoff spot wrapped up and you’re fighting for home ice,” Peters said. “That’s what I would love to see.”

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Treliving, Flames not concerned about ‘noise’ coming out of Boston

10 Comments

With Dougie Hamilton locked up in Calgary for the next six years questions on Tuesday’s conference call turned to the fall out with the Boston Bruins.

On Sunday the Boston Herald published a piece on the trade, which sent Hamilton to Calgary. In the story, Stephen Harris quoted an unnamed NHL executive who shed light on what was allegedly going on behind the scenes with the defenseman and the Bruins.

Here’s more from the Herald piece:

“It was surprising,” said one NHL assistant GM. “It’s obvious there’s something going on that we don’t know about. From what I’ve heard behind the scenes, his teammates don’t like him. I heard he’s a loner and sort of an uppity kid, and that his teammates don’t like him and it was unanimous.”

On Tuesday, Flames GM Brad Treliving and Hamilton addressed the story (You can hear the entire conference all here).

“When we went through this process of acquiring Dougie, and I know in my mind there’s been a lot of crap written in the last little bit, we do a lot of research on the player, not only what he does on the ice, but what he does off the ice,” Treliving said. “There’s a lot of things that keep me up at night, the type of person that Dougie is, the type of teammate that he is, is not one of them.

“There has not been an ounce of or a calorie wasted in terms of worrying about the player. I would hope that that is going to put to rest any of the noise and questions that I’ve been asked over the last couple of days.”

Hamilton, who spent the first three years of his career in Boston, wasn’t interested in talking about the Herald story.

“I’m trying not to pay attention to all that stuff too much,” he said. “I think for me right now it’s just a lot of excitement honestly with me just getting traded to the Flames and now signing and everything.”

When pushed further on what went wrong in Boston, Hamilton refused to answer.

“For me, I’m just going to keep on saying how excited I am to be a Flame and looking forward to the future and everything,” Hamilton said. “What’s in the past is in the past and I think I’m just looking forward to being a Flame to moving to Calgary and seeing the city and the fans.”

Report: Flames’ Giordano seeking an extension worth $9 million per season

43 Comments

Preliminary contract negotiations between the Calgary Flames and captain Mark Giordano have begun, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

Seravalli’s sources have indicated that the initial asking price from Giordano’s agent Ritch Winter is in the neighborhood of $9 million per season.

Giordano is heading into the final year of his five-year, $20.1 million contract, which carries an annual average value of $4.02 million.

Based on Seravalli’s sources, Giordano’s camp is seeking more than double his current AAV on a new deal.

The 31-year-old finished sixth in Norris Trophy voting this season despite missing the final 21 games due to injury. He finished 10th in Norris Trophy voting following the 2013-14 season.

In 61 games during the 2014-15 season Giordano registered a career highs in assists (37) and points (48) while averaging 25:10 a night in ice time.

“I would say they’re preliminary talks at this point. I think they’re going well,” Giordano said. “Our goal is to have something done before the start of the season. I’ve spent my entire career in Calgary and I’d love to stay there. It’s my home.”

Giordano is eligible to sign an extension of eight years come July 1.

“I’ve said it since last season: signing Gio is a big priority for us,” Flames’ GM Brad Treliving said. “We love what he brings. He is a great person and a great leader for our team. We’re hoping to have something done before camp opens.”

Flames’ injuries revealed following second round exit

10 Comments

On Tuesday the Calgary Flames did their final formal media availability prior to going their separate ways for the summer.

The Flames were bounced in five games of the second round after surprising many by even qualifying for the postseason.

The toll of making the playoffs, and then dispatching the Vancouver Canucks in six games of the first round, did number on the Flames injury-wise and on Tuesday the laundry list was revealed.

“There’s a lot of guys who put a lot into it really banged up and played with a lot of stuff,” GM Brad Treliving said per The Calgary Sun. “That’s just how it is. They’ve got to play through that stuff. I thought they did a marvelous job.”

Among the injured was center Sean Monahan. The 20-year-old, who had three goals and six points in 11 playoff games battled a groin issue along with a back injury.

“I had a sore leg for a little bit and a couple other bumps and bruises but nothing too severe,” said Monahan downplaying his ailments.

Jiri Hudler, the club’s regular season points leader, had neck and back problems stemming from hits he took prior to the playoffs.

Defenseman T.J. Brodie played on a sprained ankle suffered on March 5 against Boston.

Micheal Ferland suffered a torn oblique muscle in the Flames’ Game 4 victory over the Canucks.

Josh Jooris had a wrist injury for much of the second half of the season.

Paul Byron, who hadn’t played since March 27, has already had surgery for a sports hernia. He also had a procedure done on his wrist and a broken toe.

Joe Colborne suffered a thumb injury on a slash from Brad Richardson during the Vancouver series. He also has a lingering wrist tendon issue, which he’ll get looked at by a specialist in Vancouver.

Lance Bouma, who returned for the final two games of the playoffs, revealed he had eight screws and a plate put into a shattered finger after he blocked a shot on April 7.

Related: Giordano extension ‘No. 1′ priority for Flames; decision pending on Ramo

Treliving: ‘We’ve got the right guy steering the boat’

2 Comments

The Calgary Flames signed head coach Bob Hartley to a multi-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Despite the team’s recent struggles, GM Brad Treliving believes Hartley is the right man to drive the ship.

“Anybody can swim in the lake when the water is calm,” said Treliving. “It takes leadership, it takes perseverance when the water is choppy to see who can steer the boat here. I know we’ve got the right guy steering the boat.

“I always feel you learn more about people in tough times. Anybody can accept the bouquets, it’s when things are difficult, that, to me, are when you get the real, true colours. And Bob has approached it no different than he’s approached it 10 games ago, 15 games ago or 30 (games ago), that he’s getting to work.

“There’s a consistency to him. We’re rising and falling with the ebbs and flows of this. There’s a consistency to him, which I admire.”

The Flames are in the middle of a six-game losing skid; however, Hartley has led Calgary to a 71-79-13 since joining the team three seasons ago.

“I’m coaching hockey because it’s my passion, it’s what I like the most,” said Hartley. “I wanted to be here, I’m a coach, but I wear the ‘Flaming C’ with lots of pride. There was not a second, not a minute that I didn’t want to continue what we started. It was not the term and it was not about money, it was about getting the opportunity to keep growing in this organization, to keep working with the players we have.”

Hartley has led the Flames to a surprising 17-14-2 record this season.

The 54-year-old’s contract was set to expire at the conclusion of this season.

“We knew that we had to go through a rebuild, and that was a situation that I took to heart,” Hartley said. “I knew that it was the right thing to do. Yes, there was lots of work to be done, but it’s a challenge, but nothing comes easy. Winning at this level is far from being easy, but it’s certainly lots of fun. Brad told me a little while ago that ‘I certainly enjoy working with you and I want to keep this going’ and I told him exactly the same.

“We know that we’re moving the right direction. Our job is to try to fast-forward our progression as quickly as possible so that we can be a playoff team, we can win rounds, we have a shot at the Stanley Cup.”

The Flames get back to action Friday when they play host to the Dallas Stars.