STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
There’s no exact timeline for when Craig Conroy wants to have a new head coach hired.
He’d like to get it done pretty soon, though.
Speaking at a press conference at the Saddledome where he was being unveiled as the Flames’ new general manager on Tuesday afternoon, Conroy admitted he had a pretty long to-do list waiting for him when he got back to the office.
First up is amateur scouting meetings, but hiring a new head coach is next on the list.
“Obviously, I want to get going sooner rather than later, but we want to get the right person,” Conroy said. “Like (Flames president of hockey operations Don Maloney) said, we want to go through the process and interview. If it’s more people than we thought at the beginning, if we come up with some names and (new senior vice president of hockey operations and assistant GM David Nonis) has some names, I think we should look at everybody.
“Then, as a group, when we do the interviews, come up with the right person who fits that role in Calgary.”
Finding the right fit for head coach of the Flames has often proven harder than some might expect. The organization has gone through four head coaches since Bob Hartley was relieved of his duties in 2016, with none of them lasting more than 200 games.
A little continuity surely wouldn’t be a bad thing for the organization.
Conroy was understandably not about to publicly start listing off names of potential coaches he might be interested in, but it’s clear he’s thought a fair bit about what he’s looking for.
And after rumours about a rift between former GM Brad Treliving and head coach Darryl Sutter last season, it was notable that Conroy spoke about the need for collaboration and co-operation between himself and whoever gets the job as the Flames’ new bench boss.
“Honestly, we need to work together, we need to be a team. We’re not head coach and management, we’re a team, we’re in this together, we’re not going to be at odds,” Conroy said. We’re not going to be lock-step all the time, but we’re going to have the same vision and passion for this team and the direction its’ going to go and we’re going to work together, that’s the first thing.
“Then, I want someone who is a leader. I think as a coach you want someone to have that passion and be a visionary and bring that to the team. If we can do that, it doesn’t have to be an experienced coach in the NHL, it can be someone with limited experience as a head coach at all, we’re going to make that decision and go through the process, but you want a guy that can communicate to the players.”
There will inevitably be many in the Flames fanbase who would like to see someone local promoted. Mitch Love has done a terrific job with the Calgary Wranglers over the last couple seasons, while Flames assistant coach Ryan Huska is popular and widely-respected.
But Conroy seems intent on exploring every option. It’s what Maloney did over the past month while he searched for a new GM, even if he eventually picked a qualified internal candidate, in Conroy.
But make no mistake, Conroy knows how he wants the Flames to play.
“Win or lose, I want to walk out saying our guys gave everything they had at the end of the night,” Conroy said. “And we might lose, but I don’t want to see them not back-checking, not working hard, getting out of the way of shots. I expect them to play hard every night, win or lose.
“Offensively, I’d like to see us be more creative from the red-line in. If you watch practice and see the amazing things these guys do nowadays, I want them to be creative, I want them to free-wheel and do what they do. You know what, you’re going to turn pucks over and then you back-check, and then from the red-line back, I want structure. I think you have to have structure, people can’t be indecisive in the d-zone, they have to lay with structure and purpose.”
Check out our
for the latest news and analysis. Care for a wager? Head to our
sports betting section
for news and odds.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2023