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Flames GM says Hartley took players ‘as far as he could take them’

So did Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving fire his coach Bob Hartley on Tuesday because Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau became available roughly three days earlier? 

“Today’s decision wasn’t based on anyone sitting in the on-deck circle. Today’s decision isn’t ‘is there a prettier girl at the dance?’” he said.

But seriously, was it about Boudreau?

“I don’t know Bruce,” he said. “We did this decision today with nobody else in mind. We’ll do a full search.”

Even if the availability of other candidates wasn’t a significant factor in the (convenient) timing of this decision, there were other reasons why the Flames decided to end their time with Hartley, who coached the Flames for four seasons and went 134-135-25 in winning the Jack Adams Award last season.

Like, for example, Treliving’s realization in speaking with the players after the season that Hartley had reached the end of the road with them.

“Bob has taken this team as far as I think he can take it. Every coach has his own style, his way of doing things. Bob is able to get a lot out of players, but I felt for us to move forward, it was critical and important for us to make this decision,” he said.

“This decision that I reached was not solely based on this season.”

Translation: Even with the playoff appearance last season, and the first-round win over the Vancouver Canucks, there were signs of trouble for the Flames and their system.

“Two years ago, we made 18 40-foot putts. A lot went right. That’s not to diminish anything anyone did,” he said.

[READ: Hartley fired by Calgary Flames; is Boudreau next coach?]

The Flames missed the playoffs by 10 points this season. “This isn’t just a necessary move because we missing the playoffs and we needed to throw a body on the tarmac,” Treliving said, vividly.

The problem, he said, was on defense and special teams. At one point this season, the Flames were 30th in both –  then ended up No. 22 (17 percent) on the power play and No. 30 on the PK (75.5 percent). 

Defensively, Treliving said the Flames simply didn’t play well enough to win, finishing No 22 in puck possession (47.7 percent, 5v5, score-adjusted). “Our goaltending was not good this year. That falls on the general manager. I need to fix that. The way we play in front of that goaltender needs to be fixed as well. That falls to style of play, and for those reasons I felt we needed a change,” he said.

“You go through that process and ask if we’re going to be able to maximize the ability of the players as we’re currently constructed. The answer was no.”

Give the Flames credit: This was a coach coming off a Jack Adams, and a coach that had just earned an extension last season. He was a coach that had earned the respect of management for getting his teams to play a hard-to-play-against tenacious style.

“He put his heart and soul into this team every day, OK? He bled for this team,” said Treliving.

But credit is due when the Flames saw what we all saw: That another coach could get better results as far as puck possession and defense, and that there was no sense in bringing Hartley back if better alternatives were available. No need to prolong the inevitable.

“Starting on a short leash doesn’t make sense. You either make a decision or not,” said Trelving.

So Calgary made a decision. The real intrigue is in the next one they’ll make.

Everyone assume it's Boudreau. Until, of course, Brian Burke mandates that it's Marc Crawford or Randy Carlyle, which was why Treliving was tempering expectations...

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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