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Metro Mailbag: Bob Hartley

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Metro News gave Calgary Flames fans the opportunity to submit a question to head coach Bob Hartley. Here are some of the submissions from Metro readers:

Jim from Calgary: With the rules in place, when you do decide to call for the review of the previous play, whether it be a goal or a missed call on the ice?

Jamie Pringle, our video coach, he has kind of the final decision. He’s going to communicate what he thinks to us on the bench. Obviously we have monitors on the bench that we can make our own decisions. But he has the big 60-inch TV with all kinds of different angles and everything. He’s got the pulse and he’s the guy who basically will tell us, in my mind, if we should challenge this. Many, many times – 99.9 percent of the time – we’re going to go with Jamie’s recommendation.

Rafael from Calgary: What is it like for a coach going into the trade deadline? Is it as stressful as it for the players? Or is it a day that makes the coaches jobs harder because of the distractions?

It doesn’t make it harder because we know that it’s coming. What is important is to really stay close to the players, to get the pulse. Everyone follows the media, especially today with all kind of media following us, and players know if there are rumors about them. Even players with no rumors about them, it’s a period of time that no players like. It’s a long week, especially the last couple of days. It can get really stressful. This year we went through it with Kris Russell. We know it’s there and we just have to deal with it.

Jaden from Calgary: What is it like being the head coach of the some the best and youngest players in the league?

It’s great. It’s a very positive challenge for the coaching staff because not only are they great young players, they’re very good people. They want to learn. They want to get it done. They want to be a big part of the Calgary Flames organization. It is very motivating for us and they make it easy on us because they’re fully invested.

Chris from Airdrie: Your Stanley Cup winning team was captained by Joe Sakic, one of the best leaders in history. Do you see similar traits in Mark Giordano with this team and do you think he could be a similar leader to Joe?

Most definitely there are many traits that are similar between Gio and Joe Sakic. They’re not rah-rah captains. They will talk at the right time. They will have the right words at the right time. But more importantly, they lead by example on and off the ice.

Jason from Calgary: What is your most memorable non-Flames coaching moment of your career?

Obviously my Stanley Cup in 2001, seeing Ray Bourque lift the Cup. It was magical.

Sandy from Springbank: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Treat people with respect. I remember also, if we talk about my coaching career, right before the start of the season in my first year in Colorado, I worked with a lady who was a former anchor on TV. She was giving courses out to deal with the media, all kinds of stuff. She told me ‘Just remember, when you talk to the media, you have to see right through them because right behind them, you’re talking to millions of hockey fans.’ She told me that you have to sell the game. You have to promote the game. There might be some unfair questions or dirty questions. It might just jump in the pile. You have to find a way to answer it in a very positive way, remembering you’re not answering to the reporter. You’re answering to millions of hockey fans. I thought that was very important for me because there’s not a week I don’t think about this statement. I feel that dealing with the media is a big, big part of NHL hockey because there’s many kids, there’s many minor hockey coaches, there’s many fans who support our league in a very good way and that’s very important.

Rob from Golden: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?

The final buzzer in a game that you win and you see 20 guys in front of you that worked so hard to get the win. Also, off the ice, I think that as a coaching staff, you’re stuck in the middle of the sandwich. You have ownership and management on one side and you have players and trainers on the other side, the day-to-day hockey part. To be in the middle, we’re able to see and feel both sides. I think that it makes me understand many things about our business.

Paul from Edmonton: Who is the most talented player you have ever coached?

Joe Sakic. He had the total game. Speed, skill, shot, attitude. I got Joe, he was maybe 33, 34 years old, so it was still very good days for Joe Sakic. The desire to keep improving, to keep learning. He’d come and see me in the office once and awhile and say ‘I want to see this play where I lost my man.’ I didn’t see too many players come to me to see some mistakes. Usually, we have to go and get them. Joe was a guy you could always count on game after game, day after day. Basically, he was maintenance-free.

Phil from Boston: What is your favourite non-hockey activity?

In the summer, at the cottage … four-wheeling in the sand pit, fishing, being around my friends. I don’t have one favourite activity. In the summer, I go from golf to tennis to four-wheeling to boating. In the summer, I try to be a kid.

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