Geoff Ward: Head Coach
Mark: (C) Look, Geoff Ward was put in an impossible position. He had to take over after the Bill Peters debacle and he was inheriting an underachieving Flames team that, at times, was going through the motions. I think the results Ward got after taking over and the Flames record are fairly predictable. Some good, some bad, some mediocre. He failed to get some of the Flames stars to turn their seasons around and, again, at times it looked like an unmotivated group on the ice. Was it Ward or did the Flames star players quit on the coach?I don’t know how far the Flames need to make a run in the playoffs to keep Ward around as the Flames head coach, but a “C” grade doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
MGMacGillivray: (B) He makes some questionable decisions but I give him full credit for righting what was a sinking ship at the time of the Bill Peters incident. 24-15-3 is an absolutely solid record and while he makes some head-scratching decisions, he has also gotten results. He was on a 99 point pace over 82 games which again is solid. I still think it’s worth exploring some of the other options during the offseason, but I’m not totally opposed to keeping him around either.
Maddie: (C) I want to start off by saying that, like the guys have said, I don’t envy the position Ward was put in this season, and I do have to give him credit for being able to sort of get things back on track and really salvage the season, getting the team back into the playoffs. But that said, as far as what we saw from his half season of head coaching, I’m not certain that I’m sold on him as a head coach. There are issues to be noted that seemed to hamper their success—team scoring being way down this season, and personally I would have liked to see them playing less of a dump and chase style—and maybe that points to something with his system that isn’t working well to best optimize the players’ skillsets. I don’t know. Like Michael said, his record really isn’t all that bad, but consistency was an issue, and Ward just never really seemed to figure out how to keep things rolling with this team, when they found some momentum, and that’s concerning.
Now, all that said, if the Flames decide to give him a full season to see what he can really do, I wouldn’t hate it—we know that coming in halfway through a season and trying to salvage things while also making some effective changes to the system is a big task, and it doesn’t always work. Maybe he could do better with a full season running things the way he wants, but I do think there may be better options out there.
Reader Grade: B-
by Mark Parkinson