We will start this with this caveat: this is a RUMOUR. Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet is hearing that the Flames are “trending” towards making Geoff Ward their next head coach. In this SN segment (go to the 2:51 mark) you will hear Friedman discuss what Calgary may be doing with their next head coach with the understanding that Calgary hasn’t said a thing.
Now, there could be a few different reasons as to why nothing is leaking from the Flames camp and they could be:
-there’s no truth to the rumour and the Flames are still testing the waters
-they are working on a contract
-Calgary is waiting for the playoffs to be over to make an announcement
Friedman is a credible source and there’s no reason to believe he’s getting bad intel or being led down the wrong path. It would make sense that Calgary would put most, if not all of their eggs into Ward’s basket as he spent a good chunk of the season as the Flames head coach. We don’t need to rehash how he got there, but the Flames front office had enough time to assess whether he’s the guy or not.
Now, with that said, I’m not saying it’s the right or wrong move, but I think the Flames should take more time with this decision. I don’t think Ward did a lot to endear himself to the fan base (not that that matters to the FO) with his Game 6 coaching decisions against Dallas, but I think he handled his “promotion” to head coach fairly well. He was put in a tough predicament with Bill Peters being jettisoned and the end result could be considered a “success” from the standpoint that the season didn’t completely go off the rails and fall apart.
IF Ward is the guy for the Flames front office, he needs to step back and look at what he has on his bench. Calgary has elite offensive talent, but they don’t play that way under Ward. Guys like Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm aren’t out there to be defensive stoppers. They are goal scorers and the team structure needs to be built around that style of play. Easier said than done, but if you’re going to have those kind of horses in your stable you need to use them properly.
Finally, whether you like Ward or not he may be the logical choice to put in that seat as it may be time for some continuity with this team. Calgary has had 3 (not including Ward) coaches with this group and no combination has worked to get the Flames over the hump. I’ve said it a million times: at some point it’s about the players, not the coach. Is this the scenario with Ward? Not sure. Like I mentioned above, he hasn’t been perfect and I’m not sure he’s best suited to lead this team, but who is? No other coach has been able to get this team on a deep playoff run, but has it been the coaching or the players? We will find out soon enough.
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by Mark Parkinson