The Calgary Flames have been ousted from the playoffs in the first round for the last three seasons and Mike Keenan has been at the helm of this ship for the past two. For that, Keenan has been relived of his duties as head coach and the Flames will look for yet another coach to see if they can make it past that crucial first round.
Keenan didn't do too horribly behind the bench of the Flames, going 88-60-16 in the regular season, but the fact of the matter is that he couldn't guide the team when it counted the most. I'm sure that it wasn't as bad in the first year since they had to scratch and claw to get into the playoffs and then putting the Sharks to a Game Seven before being ousted. This season, the Flames got off to a great start, but then faltered after the trade deadline and were out in an uninspiring six game set against the Blackhawks.
Under Keenan, the Flames were able to open up offensively, however; the defensive side of things became a little lacking in the fact that Miikka Kiprusoff's GAA has shot up progressively since the end of the lockout, though that could be partial to him playing an insane amount of games and expected to be on constantly. The defense itself had the bottom drop out with Dion Phaneuf's play defensively suffering and Adrian Aucoin playing much less than stellar in his contract year. While the Flames were able to get some secondary scoring from Mike Cammalleri, it still wasn't enough to help take the pressure of Jarome Iginla. Though, we'll see what Olli Jokinen can do in a full-season in Calgary.
So, now-- with Keenan out-- who is the next coach in Calgary?? With Darryl Sutter in the GM role, the Sutters being kings in Alberta-- you can bet that there's going to be insight to Brian or even Brent Sutter coming to coach for the Flames and be close to home. To some, that may be an ideal situation, but at the same time a bit of overkill for the Sutter clan. We get it, you're vast in numbers and rule Alberta-- nice. Yet, aside from that-- who is out there?? You have the two big candidates that the team up the QE2 in Edmonton want in Peter Laviolette and Tom Renney, as well as one time head coach Jim Playfair-- though I think Playfair's chances aren't that good.
How much of a chance that they go off the board in this and look for someone not on the radar?? Maybe look at Ryan McGill from down on the farm and promote from within. Scott Arniel from the Manitoba Moose could get a look-see, though you never know what the Canucks would say to that. Of course, the Ted Nolan debate could linger, but it's very, very, very doubtful. And, for pure insanity-- let's put Patrick Roy in here too. Also, the long-lost Sutter, former star of "The Bachelor", Ryan Sutter.
It's going to be an interesting time in Calgary when it comes to what's happening behind the bench, amongst many other things that the Flames will be looking at as they head into the summer trying to figure out how to right the ship with so much promise.