Bob Hartley is out as the coach of the Calgary Flames. I'm not shocked, but it also doesn't mean I was looking to see him let go.
At 10 AM ET on Tuesday morning the Flames "relieved" Bob Hartley of his coaching duties ending his four year run as coach of the Flames. In that time, Hartley was 134-135-25, taking Calgary on an unexpected playoff run in 2014-15. The Flames now begin an active search for their next bench boss who can take the talent they have and go further than Hartley did in his tenure. But the question to ask now is: was this firing justified?
Hartley's record is sub .500, but it's not like he was a horrible coach by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, could a different coach have gotten more out of the talent this team has? I lean towards "yes." There were times this season where you could see the Flames just weren't there as a team. As much as it does come down to the players on the ice, the coach has to put them into the best position to win and I don't think Hartley did that at times this year. Injuries and bad goal tending early didn't help the situation, but Hartley's stubborn commitment to certain players didn't help him or the Flames this season. Then there was the Gaudreau/Monahan/Bouma fiasco. As much as everyone said the right things, I wonder if pending free agents and that incident had anything to do with the decision to let Hartley go. It could have nothing to do with it, but it is something to consider.
Was Bob Hartley a great coach? No. Was he garbage? No. But I think the ultimate question to ask yourself is this: is Bob Hartley the guy that will get the Flames back to the Stanley Cup Finals and is he irreplaceable? The Flames answered that question on Wednesday and I have to agree with them. No, no he's not. You can ask yourself whether it was fair or warranted to let him go, but I don't think it's a big surprise that the Flames will have someone else steering the ship when the season starts in October.