My contract situation, I’m addressing it right now for the first and last time until the end. That’s what it is. I’m fine with it and it will not be a distraction. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- As the media scrum surrounding Bob Hartley began to scatter, Sportsnet’s Roger Millions whispered a question to the Calgary Flames coach.
Hartley promptly ordered everybody to reassemble. He was only going to say it once.
“My contract situation will not be a distraction for my hockey club,” Hartley said of Millions’ query. “This is a great city. This is a great organization. I love the direction that we’re going. I believe in the people on the ice and in the management. I want to be with the Calgary Flames coach for many years.
“But my contract situation, I’m addressing it right now for the first and last time until the end. That’s what it is. I’m fine with it and it will not be a distraction.”
Hartley is entering the final year of his contract after leading the rebuilding Flames to a 35-40-7 record -- 27th in the National Hockey League -- last year and are seeking their first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the 2008-09 season.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving addressed media Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s season opener and added that he too would only address Hartley’s future once and that the pair would discuss options at a later date.
“Our focus as an organization and individually, Bob and I, is [Wednesday] night,” Treliving said. “We’ve had discussions internally that, at the appropriate time, that will be dealt with. That’s down the road. Our focus right now going into camp was getting our team prepared, obviously evaluating the team we have in front of us, making roster decisions and getting ready for Wednesday night.”
That said, Treliving gave Hartley a vote of confidence for his work in the pre-season.
“I’ve been extremely impressed with Bob,” he said. “We’re in the infancy stages of getting to know each other. We’ve been together for three weeks now. I’ve been nothing but impressed in terms of camp.
“Anything to do with contracts, that’s for a later date and our focus is singularly on Wednesday night.”
Hartley didn’t indicate if he and Treliving had already begun any preliminary talks.
“It will not be a distraction,” he reiterated.
But when prompted, the coach did admit he felt he’s been given the proper tools to succeed in Calgary.
“For sure. From Day 1,” Hartley said. “I was sitting in Zurich. I knew the lineup. I knew the situation I was getting into. I had my partner Jacques Cloutier with me looking at the depth chart. I was open from the day I took this job that this was the challenge of my career. This was where I had a chance to be part of a rebuild. That was something I wanted to do.
“Looking at this organization, it’s not about me. I love this organization. The way that we’re working, the way that the scouts were working, the way everyone is working. We all feel great. We all feel positive and we understand we have lots of work ahead of us.”