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Lengthy history between Engelland and Gulutzan

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- Glen Gulutzan, over a decade removed from coaching Deryk Engelland, didn't hesitate to fire off the most notable difference from the Calgary Flames defenceman now, and the one he remembered from the Las Vegas Wranglers some 13 seasons ago.

"He's a lot slimmer," Gulutzan deadpanned.

Engelland, for the record, couldn't pinpoint one in Gulutzan.

"Honestly, I don't really think he's changed a whole lot," Engelland said. "He's still the same guy personally, and the hair is still flowing like it was back then. Not much has changed. He's still the same person.

"Same hair.

"I don't think he's changed much, which is a good thing. He's changed philosophies and different styles of coaching here and there.

"I've slimmed down and he's changed styles. That would be the biggest difference."

Engelland spent part of his first season as a professional under Gulutzan in Las Vegas, then Calgary's ECHL affiliate, and logged 107 regular season skates, and two spins in the playoffs, with his new coach from 2003-05.

He left an impression.

"He was a great guy … honestly, he had a lot of potential when he was in Vegas," Gulutzan said. "He was tough. Not many kids can go to the East Coast league and all of a sudden open the eyes of all the other heavyweights that are in the league. He came in and was a tough kid. He played lots of minutes for me. He was very coachable. He was young.

"He was figuring out how to be a pro, and looking at him today … I know when we lost out to him (in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs) and I shook his hand here when I was in Vancouver … I said how happy I was for him and how proud I was for him.

"He spent two years with me in Las Vegas. He's become a fantastic pro."

Engelland soldiered on through the minors with Hershey and Reading, and into Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before latching onto the Pittsburgh Penguins, their NHL club, full-time in 2010. From there, the 34-year-old has amassed 388 career NHL games -- the last 145 with the Flames.

Gulutzan continued on in Las Vegas until being hired to coach Texas of the American Hockey League in 2009, and was promoted to the Dallas Stars two years later. He amassed a 64-57-9 record in two seasons, but was replaced after back-to-back playoff misses.

He landed as an assistant with the Vancouver Canucks until he was hired to take over the coaching duties in Calgary this summer.

His hiring reunited the pair of Wrangers.

"It started with Calgary, too, in the East Coast," Engelland said. "It's kind of funny how it works out. I heard he was a candidate early and was kind of pulling for him. I had a couple good years with him in the East Coast. He's a great coach. Great guy. I thought he'd be a great fit here.

"So far, so good."

The more things change the more they stay the same.

"It's ironic," Gulutzan said. "I just got a text the other day from Mike McKenna, who was an old goalie of mine … played some games in the NHL. He said Adam Pardy scored on him in a shootout in Florida's camp. He said to me, 'How ironic.' I had all those guys in Las Vegas. I told him, 'I just finished yelling at Engy today on the ice.' It has come full circle."

When Gulutzan was hired to replace departed coach Bob Hartley on June 17, it didn't take long for Engelland to ring up his former bench boss 

A reunion of sorts. 

"I called him right after they announced it," Engelland said. "He called me back. I knew he was busy. We kind of caught up … how the family's doing … couple stories from back in the day … that kind of thing. It was a 'How are things going?'

"I think there's a friendship from back then that is picking up now."

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