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Flames relieve Bob Hartley of coaching duties

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Bob Hartley was fired as coach of the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

The Flames finished fifth in the Pacific Division this season, 10 points behind the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

"I want to thank Bob. Bob did some very good things here," Flames GM Brad Treliving said. "He built a foundation in this organization. And apart from all else, he put his heart and soul into this team every day. He bled for this team. And Bob is a good coach, so I want to thank him. It's a difficult day to get through this."

Hartley won the Jack Adams Award as the League's top coach last season after leading the Flames to their first playoff appearance since 2009. They won a playoff series for the first time since 2004.

Hartley was 134-135-25 with the Flames. In 13 seasons as a coach with the Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers, Hartley is 463-361-59 with 61 ties in 944 games. He led the Avalanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup.

The Flames also announced associate coach Jacques Cloutier was fired.

"This decision that I reached was not based solely on this season," Treliving said. "Anytime that you go through a situation where a coach is being relieved there is blood on a lot of hands. It starts with myself. There is responsibility with the players and it goes through organizationally. Make no mistake, there is responsibility to bear outside of Bob.

"But when you go through the process, which I've gone through the past couple of weeks, I just felt at this particular time for us to move forward, Bob has taken this team as far as I feel he can take it."

Treliving said the process of finding a new coach starts immediately.

The Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators also have coaching vacancies, and the Minnesota Wild are undecided on the status of interim coach John Torchetti.

"Today's decision wasn't based upon anybody sitting on the on-deck circle," Treliving said. "Today is about Bob. This isn't about, 'Is there a prettier girl at the dance?' That's not it. You go through the process, you make a decision.

"Today, now, starts the process of finding who the next coach is, but this is not about who it could be, who it might be. Bob deserved to go through this thoroughly and a decision be made based upon what we feel is the best move going forward, not who might be out there."

Calgary, which finished third in the Pacific Division in 2014-15, allowed a League-high 257 non-shootout goals this season despite finishing 11th in shots-against per game (29.0). The Flames went from a plus-24 goal differential in 2014-15 to minus-28 this season.

Goaltenders Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller, who played the majority of the games the past two seasons, struggled this season.

Ramo, who was placed on waivers and sent to the American Hockey League in October, went 17-18-1 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 37 games. He sustained a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee Feb. 11. Hiller had a 3.51 GAA and .879 save percentage in 26 games, the worst numbers of his NHL career.

"This isn't just a necessary move because we didn't make the playoffs so we're going to throw a body on the tarmac," Treliving said. "For us to move forward I felt this decision had to be made for what Bob can get from this group moving forward.

"Our special teams for a good portion of the year were 30th in the League. There's some style-of-play issues in terms of how to move forward. Our goaltending was not good. That falls on the general manager. I need to fix that. The way we play in front of the goaltender needs to be fixed as well. That lends itself to style of play to a certain extent. For those factors I felt a decision needed to be made."

The Flames were 22nd in the League on the power play (17.0 percent) and 30th in penalty killing (75.5 percent).

There were positives this season as the Flames' young players continued to develop.

Forward Johnny Gaudreau, 22, led Calgary and tied for sixth in the League with 78 points. Center Sean Monahan had an NHL career-high 63 points in his third season. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, 22, had his best NHL offensive season with 12 goals and 43 points. Defenseman TJ Brodie, 25, had six goals and an NHL career-best 45 points.

"Each coach has their own style, their own way of doing things," Treliving said. "Bob, to me, is able to get a lot out of players. But when you sit back and review, and as I've gone through this process over the course of the past few weeks, I felt for us to move forward as an organization that it was time, it was important, it was critical that we made this decision."

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