In early May, when Bob Hartley was fired as head coach of the Calgary Flames, GM Brad Treliving insisted he didn’t have anyone lined up as a replacement.
Apparently that was no lie. More than a month later, the Flames still haven’t found their guy. In fact, they may not name a new bench boss until after the draft, which goes June 24-25 in Buffalo.
“We haven’t made a decision but we’re down to a short list,” president of hockey ops Brian Burke told Postmedia on Thursday.
“You’d like him in place sooner rather than later because we have a development camp (in early July) and you’d like him to look at the young players. But as far as being in place before the draft — that’d be nice but it’s not a top priority.”
The Flames are one of two teams that still have a coaching vacancy, the Anaheim Ducks being the other. It’s not known if both clubs have interest in the same candidate (or candidates), but it’s possible that could be delaying some decisions.
Murray can’t hire Jon Cooper but the way he talked glowingly about Tampa Bay’s coach, he wouldn’t mind finding another like him. Travis Green, a leading candidate, fits closer to that profile and has 970 NHL games that give him added cachet among those he’ll guide.
But is he the right fit for these Ducks at this time? Or is it [Randy Carlyle], the Cup winner who’s under strong consideration for another turn to pull off what he did in 2007. He fits the mold of the old hand who’ll ruffle the feathers of his players if it means getting the most out of them.
As assistants, Paul MacLean and Trent Yawney know this team but the longer Murray goes, the more you wonder if they’re really in the mix. And with the assistant coaching shuffle going on around the league, Murray will likely whittle down his list so those who’ve interviewed can go after openings elsewhere. Mike Yeo, formerly of Minnesota, fits that scenario if he’s not the one.
Not surprisingly, a few of those names have been raised as potential candidates for the Flames gig.
At any rate, it’s an enormous decision for both teams, so no surprise they’re taking their time. Remember that Treliving inherited Hartley, so this is a significant hire for him. With all the young talent that’s been assembled in Calgary, he needs his first pick for head coach to be the right pick.
As for the Ducks, they need a guy to get them over the hump, and soon. They’re contenders for now, but with that aging (and well-paid) core of theirs, let’s just say there’s some urgency in Anaheim.