CALGARY, AB -- The optics may look a little strange.
Amidst a six-game losing streak, the Calgary Flames re-upped Bob Hartley, signing the head coach to a multi-year extension to keep him behind the bench.
But the opportunity to lock up Hartley and the body of work he's managed over the long haul trumps rough waters the Flames have faced of late, according to Calgary general manager Brad Treliving.
“This is not a short sample size,” Treliving said. “When you make decisions, you make them looking at large sample sizes. We're in a bit of tough stretch right now. I look at our team and we've played some good hockey over these six games that we've lost. We've done some really good things — we haven't done enough good things. That had no bearing.”
At times, Calgary has done good things.
Entering action Wednesday, the Flames sat just two points behind the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division. The same two points separate Calgary, ninth, from sitting fifth in the Western Conference, too.
But in those tough times currently plaguing the Flames, Hartley is Treliving’s choice to be at the helm.
“Anybody can swim in the lake when the water is calm,” said Treliving, who’s worked alongside Hartley for nine months. “It takes leadership, it takes perseverance when the water is choppy to see who can steer the boat here. I know we've got the right guy steering the boat.
“I always feel you learn more about people in tough times. Anybody can accept the bouquets, it's when things are difficult, that, to me, are when you get the real, true colours. And Bob has approached it no different than he's approached it 10 games ago, 15 games ago or 30 (games ago), that he's getting to work.
“There's a consistency to him. We're rising and falling with the ebbs and flows of this. There's a consistency to him, which I admire.”
The results Calgary has found this year have been inconsistent.
But there are plenty of staples starting to build around Hartley’s Flames.
It’s leading the rebuild in the right direction, Treliving declared.
When it isn't, Hartley is there too.
“Lots of teams can have good portions of the year -- you can have a good 20 games here or a good ending -- but, for us, we want to take a step as a team and this is all part of the process,” Treliving said. “So when you go through those spells, like we're going through right now, we need somebody, a group of people, to stick a thumb in the dam and say, 'OK, enough's enough.' That's how you push above, or you fall and you continue in that middling row.”
In signing Hartley’s extension, Treliving signed off that he’s happy with the steps Calgary has taken in the two-plus seasons as coach.
And less concerned about the results recorded over the past two weeks.