More of the Same
Since Darryl Sutter left in his role as coach (where he is most competent) there has been a revolving door of sense in the Flames organization. First it was the promotion of Jim Playfair who didn’t perform up to the expectations fans and management were used to under D. Sutter. Out he went in short order. Then Mike Keenan took the reigns and that had its moments, but ultimate after a year and a bit Keenan was showed the door.
During Keenan’s reign Sutter began his dismantling of the Flames in every way shape and form. Couple that with new musings that the players themselves weren’t keen on listening to the coach and the coach wasn’t keen on coaching the players, and you got the sense the team needed more than a new coach to complete the puzzle.
So out went Keenan, early exit on a 3 year contract, and in came Brent Sutter. Finally someone who had a bit of success in recent memory, albeit with the Sutter pedigree that was starting to lose its lustre. Another 3 year-deal and there went Sutter to do his work. 3 years in a row missing the post-season.
Now it seemed that it wasn’t necessarily the coach, but the focus started shifting on the players. Maybe the team needed better personnel. Well it was obvious it needed better personnel. Darryl Sutter tried to fix that problem by bringing in the likes of Stajan. That was a massive bust.
Out went Sutter and in came Feaster. People thought this was the spark needed to revitalize the Flames. In short order that hasn’t happened, but then again, how do organizational changes happen in short order? They don’t. But fan expectations are the same year in and year out–make the playoffs, make a run for the Cup.
Calgary couldn’t do it. The players aren’t getting better, only older, and Brent Sutter for his part couldn’t get his players to ‘play the system’. That’s indicative of a coaching problem AND a player problem.
Which brings us to Bob Hartley who enters the mix fresh, without any Sutter impediment, and with a glut of youth the Flames haven’t seen in, well, 20 years?
The question is has anything changed? Perhaps personnel is slowly coming around to breed internal young talent. But apart from that what makes anyone think Hartley can squeeze more out of the likes of Iginla? Sure there’s going to be a change in style, but is system alone the missing cog to the wheel? Calgary is certainly progressing forward as a franchise, but unfortunately they’re doing it in patchwork style, piece by piece here and there.
Hartley will enter the mix, will have a better team, and will make the Flames competitive. Is this the year they make a run? Not a chance. Will they make the playoffs? Too many ‘what ifs’ and ‘needs to happen’ to bet the farm on. But I suppose that’s another plus, no more Sutter farms to put on the line.