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No substitute for experience

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames

Brent Sutter was looking for experience.

He found it in Craig Hartsburg and Jamie Pringle who were named to the Calgary Flames coaching staff on Monday.

"I feel very confident with these two guys. I feel they will fit really well into our coaching staff and that they will help our players, too, which is very important," said Sutter. "It was important to me to add experience to our coaching staff."

Hartsburg, a veteran of 14 years of coaching in the National Hockey League -- and a former coach of Sutter himself in Chicago -- was named associate coach. Pringle, who has experience with Hockey Canada and, most recently, the Florida Panthers, was named senior video analyst for the Flames.

They replace Ryan McGill and Rob Cookson on the Flames staff. Sutter said he is now focused on hiring a goalie coach to replace Jamie McLennan.

"We will focus on that right now," said Sutter. "We have some candidates."

Hartsburg joins the Flames after leading the Everett Silvertips (WHL) as the head coach for the last two seasons compiling a 75-54-16 (.569) record.

Hartsburg has 14 years of NHL coaching experience having served as the head coach for the Chicago Blackhawks (1995-98), the Anaheim Ducks (1998-2001) and the Ottawa Senators (2008-09). He was an assistant coach with the Minnesota North Stars (1989-90) and the Philadelphia Flyers (1990-94, 2002-04).

A native of Stratford, Ontario, Hartsburg played 10 seasons on the blue-line for the Minnesota North Stars from 1979-89 accumulating 570 games while netting 98 goals and adding 315 assists for 413 points and 818 penalty minutes. His playing career was highlighted by a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals with Minnesota in 1981 and playing in the 1980, 1982, and 1983 NHL All-Star games. He was originally drafted by Minnesota in the 1st round (6th overall) in the 1979 NHL Draft after a stellar career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHA).

"He played defence. He was an intelligent hockey player for a lot of years. He can bring a lot in that area," said Sutter.

Although the exact duties have yet to be divided up, based on experience current assistant Dave Lowry is likely to handle the forwards while Hartsburg concentrates on the defence corps.

"I'm really excited. It a great organization," said Hartsburg."I certainly look forward to working with the players and I have a lot of respect for Jay, Brent and Dave," added Hartsburg, who was Sutter's assistant coach during the 2006 World Junior Championship.

Internationally, Hartsburg represented Canada at the 1978 World Junior Championship, the 1981 and 1987 Canada Cups and was named the tournament's top defenseman at the 1987 IIHF World Championships. As head coach, he has guided Canada's National Junior Team to two consecutive gold medals in both the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships and won gold as an assistant coach in 2006 while on staff with Sutter.

"Hopefully I can bring a lot to the table and help the team and help the guys have their best-ever seasons in the NHL," said Hartsburg.

Sutter also has a relationship with Pringle who worked on the Super Series while Sutter was coaching and operating the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League.

Pringle, a native of Picton, Ontario joins the Flames coaching staff after three seasons as the video coach with the Florida Panthers.

Prior to that, Pringle spent the 2006-07 and 2007-08 season as the video coach for Hockey Canada. He was part of the staff for all international events winning gold at the 2007 IIHF World Championship and winning gold at the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Pringle worked with Brent Sutter during the 2008 World Junior team Super Series against Russia.

Pringle spent the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons as the assistant coach with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) after four seasons as the assistant coach with the Belleville Bulls (1999-2004) where he helped earn the OHL title in 1999. He was also on staff with the Ottawa Senators during the 1995-96 season.

While Sutter knew of Pringle, he checked with former Florida head coach Peter DeBoer for a recommendation. It came back with a big thumbs up. "I trust Pete's word, big time," said Sutter.

In fact, both Hartsburg and Pringle were at the top of Sutter's list.

"Both these guys were leading candidates going into this process," said Sutter.


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