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Burke gives Hartley vote of confidence

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

Bob is going to coach this team next year. There will be no change to the coaching staff. He will coach this team next year.Brian Burke

CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley didn’t feel the need to speculate about his future with the Calgary Flames. Brian Burke made sure his coach didn’t have to.

Burke, president of hockey operations for the Flames, gave Hartley a vote of confidence heading into the offseason.

“Bob is going to coach this team next year,” he said. “There will be no change to the coaching staff. He will coach this team next year. Once we get a general manager in place, then I’ll encourage that person to address that situation.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the world if a coach works in the last year of his contract but it’s not ideal, but that will be up to the next GM.”

The words of encouragement from Burke, who took control of the Flames in early September, came just an hour after Hartley declined to comment on whether or not he expected to be back to coach out the final year of his contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

“At no time will I say anything about my job in the media,” Hartley said. “This game is not about myself. I feel as a coach, your job is to hold the spotlight on your players. People come and watch the players, not the coaches.

“This game is not about myself. I'm the coach. I love this game. I love this league. I love what we did as an organization but I understand I'm also just a part of this organization. Brian is the GM. Brian is the president, and he'll sit with me about myself, about my staff, and he'll give us his future plans.”

Under Hartley, the Flames finished 27th overall in the standings with a 35-40-7 record and 14 points back of the Dallas Stars for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference. The 77 total points accumulated is Calgary’s lowest over a full 82-game schedule since compiling 75 points in 2002-03.

But what the Flames lacked in points, Hartley made up in potential.

Calgary showed a competitive streak, tying an NHL record for 49 one-goal games and Hartley’s work with emerging youngsters like Sean Monahan, Joe Colborne, Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie was enough to satisfy Burke.

“I give the credit for that to our coaching staff,” he said. “I thought Bob Hartley and his assistants did an excellent job with this group. I think Bob is exactly what I want in terms of a coach in that he’s hard on the players in practice, he’s hard on the players during games, but it’s a positive teaching environment the rest of the time.

“I don’t think games should be fun for players. I tell this to our players all the time; the word ‘fun’ does not appear in a standard players contract—I’ve checked, I’ve looked, it’s not there. Fun comes from winning and I think that you need to have a demanding environment on the practice surface and a demanding environment during the games—and Bob does that. The rest of the time, it’s a positive teaching environment.”

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