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kehatch

Time to Fire Huska?

AHL Head Coach  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Huska be Fired?

    • Yes, fire him immediately
      1
    • Probably, but give him the season to prove himself
      3
    • No, coaching isn't the problem
      4


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The team has gotten consistently worse since he has taken over.  They missed the playoffs last season and have been bad to start this season.  Plus nearly every prospect on the AHL roster has regressed with him as the coach.    

 

Time to move on?

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One thing that is missing is veteran leadership. There are really no vets on the Heat. We are missing those players who can show the young guys how to be pros on and off the ice.

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One thing that is missing is veteran leadership. There are really no vets on the Heat. We are missing those players who can show the young guys how to be pros on and off the ice.

 

Its true that we are a very young team and we don't have many veteran leaders that also lead the box sheet (i.e. Street, Kolanos, Walters, etc).  But there are plenty of young teams that are doing fine (i.e. The Rampage) and we have brought on guys like Nakladal, Johnson, Hamilton, etc.  

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The team has gotten consistently worse since he has taken over.  They missed the playoffs last season and have been bad to start this season.  Plus nearly every prospect on the AHL roster has regressed with him as the coach.    

 

Time to move on?

 

I am more concerned of the lack of development of our prospects.  Kulak starts on the Flames and looks fine, but he hasn't been great on the Heat.  Poirier is the one that concerns me.  What happened to his game.

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I am sure that we can spare Engelland, Raymond, and Stajan if they need leadership.


Poirier is the one that concerns me.  What happened to his game.

He has been a disappointment to me quite frankly. I have seen little that impresses. 

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The team has gotten consistently worse since he has taken over. They missed the playoffs last season and have been bad to start this season. Plus nearly every prospect on the AHL roster has regressed with him as the coach.

Time to move on?

Thank u for posting this, I just asked in the Stockton Heat thread if Huska is to be considered an upgrade over Troy Ward? I agree with whoever mentioned the lack of development of our prospects. It seems the players might be familiar with the Flames system when called up but are they actually developing in it? It felt like Ward had done a better job actually developing and acclimating them to Hartleys style of play

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Its true that we are a very young team and we don't have many veteran leaders that also lead the box sheet (i.e. Street, Kolanos, Walters, etc).  But there are plenty of young teams that are doing fine (i.e. The Rampage) and we have brought on guys like Nakladal, Johnson, Hamilton, etc.  

Yes they have some veterans so I don't think that is the issue.  Goaltending has been a problem after Gillies went down, so that's a few losses.  

 

Beyond that it is hard to know what is going on.  I agree we don't seem to be seeing much in the way of solid, progressing play from anyone on Stockton.

 

Personally I'm wondering if some of the key players are suffering from what I would call the "Reinhart effect"?  By this I mean guys that have shown well and progressed well for a season+, had an opportunity up in the NHL but didn't stick (for whatever reason) then get sent back down de-motivated.  I realize that's not good on the player, but at the same time I've been thinking for a while whether the excess of bodies on the Flames has been and continues to be a problem, especially bodies who aren't exactly lighting it up there but still are on the team.

 

I personally thought Poirier would push hard for a spot on the Flames this year but it didn't seem to happen so not sure what is happening there.

 

It also seems curious that Grant has made the jump.  He has been very solid on face-offs, and provided OK energy but not much offensively.  Its hard to imagine he's "better" than Granlund (who is terrible at face-offs, OK) so to me it mostly shows the style of play required by the Flames.

 

All in all, so far a disappointment for Stockton and a mystery.  I have no idea about Huska....

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Yes they have some veterans so I don't think that is the issue.  Goaltending has been a problem after Gillies went down, so that's a few losses.  

 

Beyond that it is hard to know what is going on.  I agree we don't seem to be seeing much in the way of solid, progressing play from anyone on Stockton.

 

Personally I'm wondering if some of the key players are suffering from what I would call the "Reinhart effect"?  By this I mean guys that have shown well and progressed well for a season+, had an opportunity up in the NHL but didn't stick (for whatever reason) then get sent back down de-motivated.  I realize that's not good on the player, but at the same time I've been thinking for a while whether the excess of bodies on the Flames has been and continues to be a problem, especially bodies who aren't exactly lighting it up there but still are on the team.

 

I personally thought Poirier would push hard for a spot on the Flames this year but it didn't seem to happen so not sure what is happening there.

 

It also seems curious that Grant has made the jump.  He has been very solid on face-offs, and provided OK energy but not much offensively.  Its hard to imagine he's "better" than Granlund (who is terrible at face-offs, OK) so to me it mostly shows the style of play required by the Flames.

 

All in all, so far a disappointment for Stockton and a mystery.  I have no idea about Huska....

 

The Heat have played roughly half of the games that the Flames have.  There are players there that could be called up, if Hartley would use them in the right situation.  Some are 3rd or 4th line depth, while some are top 6 potential.  Considering that our top 6 is healthy, I don't see where they would slot in and be effective.  Granlund plays a good 2-way game, but isn't as "big" as Colborne.

Agostino is an effective top 6 offensive player, but no room for him.

 

The defense in Stockton has little motivation to play harder, but I don't see that being the cause.  They have or had at least 2 extra defense to try to work with.  Sitting out is a normal week for a player.  Culkin was the #1D last season, but had to get shunted to Addy just to get minutes.

 

Things went downhill after Ward was let go (or quit).  There are good coaches waiting for an opportunity.  Some actually know how to teach defense.

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It also seems curious that Grant has made the jump.  He has been very solid on face-offs, and provided OK energy but not much offensively.  Its hard to imagine he's "better" than Granlund (who is terrible at face-offs, OK) so to me it mostly shows the style of play required by the Flames.

 

I think it's more about the player's role on the team than anything else. Grant is a good 4th line center on the Flames, especially since they need all the faceoff help they can get. If we needed help on the wing in the top 9, Granlund would be the better option. But with Gaudreau/Bennett/Colborne and Hudler/Frolik/Jones, there is no opening for Granlund. And even if a spot did open up, due to injury or whatever, he would need to beat out Raymond. Which would be far from impossible, but it's another obstacle.

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After 1 season? no not a chance.

 

Huska is a good coach. Just to quickly address the questions of Huska over Troy Ward, I would point out that after Troy Ward got fired he went to coach the Vancouver Giants and was so bad he didn't even last half the season while Huska won multiple WHL Championships in his tenure.

 

You need to build a program at the AHL level and remember that it wasn't just the hiring of Huska over Troy Ward it was BT coming in and they've commented that they overhauled how they were going to run their AHL team. Betweent he amount of change, it being a young team, and a real lack of depth at the center ice position I'm not suprised nor worried about Stockton. Talking about moving on is IMO a very rash move based upon a limited sample size. Under Huska, they've also been very young and very green at both center ice and the blueline. Super challenging to win consistantly when you are weaker in those two areas.

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Let's also not forget that the entire team moved from the west coast to the east coast and then back to the west coast. That in itself is a big transition. Hopefully it can stick in Stockton and we can develop some sort of continuity down there.

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I think it is time to rethink the system they have implemented worked ok last yr but seems all the other teams have this system figured out and are beating us at our own game don't forget both NHL and AHL are playing same system doesn't seem to be working this yr on both levels. 

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After 1 season? no not a chance.

 

Huska is a good coach. Just to quickly address the questions of Huska over Troy Ward, I would point out that after Troy Ward got fired he went to coach the Vancouver Giants and was so bad he didn't even last half the season while Huska won multiple WHL Championships in his tenure.

 

You need to build a program at the AHL level and remember that it wasn't just the hiring of Huska over Troy Ward it was BT coming in and they've commented that they overhauled how they were going to run their AHL team. Betweent he amount of change, it being a young team, and a real lack of depth at the center ice position I'm not suprised nor worried about Stockton. Talking about moving on is IMO a very rash move based upon a limited sample size. Under Huska, they've also been very young and very green at both center ice and the blueline. Super challenging to win consistantly when you are weaker in those two areas.

 

So how much rope do you give a coach?  You have to continually evaluate and determine if you have the right coaching in place.  It may not be Huska as much as the assistants.  But it's a results-based business, so you have to look at what you have done lately. 

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The Heat have played roughly half of the games that the Flames have.  There are players there that could be called up, if Hartley would use them in the right situation.  Some are 3rd or 4th line depth, while some are top 6 potential.  Considering that our top 6 is healthy, I don't see where they would slot in and be effective.  Granlund plays a good 2-way game, but isn't as "big" as Colborne.

Agostino is an effective top 6 offensive player, but no room for him.

 

The defense in Stockton has little motivation to play harder, but I don't see that being the cause.  They have or had at least 2 extra defense to try to work with.  Sitting out is a normal week for a player.  Culkin was the #1D last season, but had to get shunted to Addy just to get minutes.

 

Things went downhill after Ward was let go (or quit).  There are good coaches waiting for an opportunity.  Some actually know how to teach defense.

I agree their schedule leaves a ton of empty days, which was supposed to be a good thing, but I'm not sure if that's the case.

 

Your points about no space is exactly what I was saying, we agree.

 

And the coaching?  From what I had heard I thought that Ward didn't want to leave the Vancouver area but who knows for sure?  Last year the team, and players were doing pretty good after a poor start until Ortio got injured and then everything went into the toilet.  I don't think its the coach.

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So how much rope do you give a coach?  You have to continually evaluate and determine if you have the right coaching in place.  It may not be Huska as much as the assistants.  But it's a results-based business, so you have to look at what you have done lately. 

 

 

I'd give Huska at least 2 - 3 years before i contemplated replacing him. IMO, outside extreme cases, every coach should get at least 2-3 years becuase in alot of occasions its takes a full year to implement a program.

 

The AHL is  bit different for me as well becuase while i think winning is very important, development is also key. A team may not win consistnatly but if the development is there you will take it. I know everyone is freaking out about 10 games but IMO the development has been solid so far from the flames. Kulak took a step forward, I thought Garnet Hathaway took a step forward, Agostino has taken a step forward and i thought Ferland came up to the NHL last very wel prepared for what it was going to take. There are positives for me but you have to look past the stats.

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I'd give Huska at least 2 - 3 years before i contemplated replacing him. IMO, outside extreme cases, every coach should get at least 2-3 years becuase in alot of occasions its takes a full year to implement a program.

 

The AHL is  bit different for me as well becuase while i think winning is very important, development is also key. A team may not win consistnatly but if the development is there you will take it. I know everyone is freaking out about 10 games but IMO the development has been solid so far from the flames. Kulak took a step forward, I thought Garnet Hathaway took a step forward, Agostino has taken a step forward and i thought Ferland came up to the NHL last very wel prepared for what it was going to take. There are positives for me but you have to look past the stats.

 

Kulak spent most of last year in Alaska, and only made it back to Addy because of the injury to Culkin.  Ferland didn't spend much time in Addy, nor did Jooris.  Hathaway is an exception.

 

I care less about the Heat winning.  I care more that the players coming up show some progression.  Wotherspoon, Baertschi, Granlund, etc.  

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Kulak spent most of last year in Alaska, and only made it back to Addy because of the injury to Culkin.  Ferland didn't spend much time in Addy, nor did Jooris.  Hathaway is an exception.

 

I care less about the Heat winning.  I care more that the players coming up show some progression.  Wotherspoon, Baertschi, Granlund, etc.  

 

Huska has been there 1 year how much progression to you expect? I pointed out a few and your reponse was he hasn't coached them for very long but he's only been there for a year so how much do you expect? And to your point, Sven is showing some progression this year but does Huska get that credit for the 36 games he coached him or is the 15 games he spent in Utica more important?

 

My point was that players are showing progression. Are all of them, No, but its unrealtistic for even the best coach to progress every player. Wotherspoon, IMO, was a bad draft pick and thats not on Huska for him not developing.

 

Edit: just to add something.

Jamie Benn

Tyson Barrie

Luke Schenn

Brandon McMillan

Tyler Myers

Backlund

Damon Severson

 

All came out of the Rockets program with him as head coach. That also excludes recent draft picks like Rourke Chartier, Madison Bowey, Justin Kirkland, Nick merkley that all have high praise/held in high regard. His track record of working with and helping to develop good hockey players is very well documented.

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I hear what your saying Cross. But I don't think you can wait 2 to 3 years to see how things go. Not in a development league.  Especially since many prospects are only with the team for a couple of seasons.  I think there is enough of a body of work to review his prospect development.  And it isn't impressive.  Not at the AHL level.  

 

Personally I wouldn't fire him today.  But if I don't see progression in my prospects at the 2/3rd mark I am starting the search for another coach.  If I find one great. I move on at that point.  Otherwise I make it a point to replace him in the off season.  

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Which prospects aren't developing as planned? Emile Poirier is really the only one that comes to mind.

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Which prospects aren't developing as planned? Emile Poirier is really the only one that comes to mind.

It's early so some of this may change (which is why I wouldn't fire him right now) but there is a long list of prospects that at the least statistically are disappointing.

Poirier, Klimchuk, Morrison, Arnold, Wotherspoon, Kanzig, Smith, Kulak...

In fact the only young guys I would say are doing well are Granlund, Kylington, Gilles, Hamilton, and Agostino. And most of them entered older or have been around the block with other coaches.

I might be wrong. Maybe they are terrific and it just isn't showing up on the box scores or win column. But that isn't what I am hearing from anyone that watches the team regularly.

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It's early so some of this may change (which is why I wouldn't fire him right now) but there is a long list of prospects that at the least statistically are disappointing.

Poirier, Klimchuk, Morrison, Arnold, Wotherspoon, Kanzig, Smith, Kulak...

In fact the only young guys I would say are doing well are Granlund, Kylington, Gilles, Hamilton, and Agostino. And most of them entered older or have been around the block with other coaches.

I might be wrong. Maybe they are terrific and it just isn't showing up on the box scores or win column. But that isn't what I am hearing from anyone that watches the team regularly.

 

We'll have to agree to disagree on the notion that 1 year is enough time to properly gauge a coach because I don't think that's fair but I bolded the following for a couple reasons.

 

Arnold - What was wrong with Arnold's year last year ? From everything I read he had a solid year and IMO 38 points in 61 games played is pretty good for a guy who is not a high end offensive talent. 4 points in 8 games this year doens't to me sound like that bad a start....

Wotherspoon/Kanzig - At what point do you question the coach or question the draft pick? HOnestly IMO, these two are jsut not good draft picks so I think its unfair to question or use them against Huska. Especialy consdiering he coached Kanzig for a grand total of 1 game last year.... Wothersppon wasn't exactly progresing under Ward either....

Kulak - This guy went form the ECHL to making the Flames in training camp what more development do you want? I think Kulak is a success story if anything else. No he hasn't been great since being returned but you know what neither was TJ Brodie. Getting sent down isn't always easy.

 

I agree with Jtech outside of Poirier I see no prospect struggling to the point where we should question Ryan Huska's job.

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I think what the real issue is, is that outside of Gillies, Kylington, Poirier and maybe Klimchuk there really isn't any high end talent for Hushka to work with.

Poirier hasn't really been the same since his call up, he really looked like he lacked confidence during his call up and that seemed to carry over to the development camp, rookie tournament and training camp.

Klimchuk is a first year pro and is still learning the ropes so I am not worried about him.

Guys like Granlund, Agostino, Kulak, etc. Have NHL potential but I think it is limited to bottom 6 and bottom pairing roles. There just isn't a lot of top 6 and top 4 talent in Stockton.

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I think what the real issue is, is that outside of Gillies, Kylington, Poirier and maybe Klimchuk there really isn't any high end talent for Hushka to work with.

Poirier hasn't really been the same since his call up, he really looked like he lacked confidence during his call up and that seemed to carry over to the development camp, rookie tournament and training camp.

Klimchuk is a first year pro and is still learning the ropes so I am not worried about him.

Guys like Granlund, Agostino, Kulak, etc. Have NHL potential but I think it is limited to bottom 6 and bottom pairing roles. There just isn't a lot of top 6 and top 4 talent in Stockton.

 

I don't know what happened to Poirier.  He used to fire about 3 shots per game, but now is lucky to fire one.  He is tending to pass first now.  I saw that in him during the Flames camp.  He would pass with the chance for a good shot.  Is that a product of Huska's defense-first mindset?  

 

Granlund and Agostino probably are top 6 and top 9 players once they reach their peak.  Getting there is the hump they need to overcome.  

 

It may not be as simple of Huska's fault or Hartley's fault or the player not being good enough.  It may be all three.

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I think what the real issue is, is that outside of Gillies, Kylington, Poirier and maybe Klimchuk there really isn't any high end talent for Hushka to work with.

Poirier hasn't really been the same since his call up, he really looked like he lacked confidence during his call up and that seemed to carry over to the development camp, rookie tournament and training camp.

Klimchuk is a first year pro and is still learning the ropes so I am not worried about him.

Guys like Granlund, Agostino, Kulak, etc. Have NHL potential but I think it is limited to bottom 6 and bottom pairing roles. There just isn't a lot of top 6 and top 4 talent in Stockton.

 

Agreed.

 

Not to mention its really weak at the center position (depth but not alot of "talent') and on defence. There is some talent on the D but its also really young with the average age of 23.75 (22.5 if you take out Johnson). Plus you have Kylington, Morrison, Nakladal playing their first seasons and Kulak and Seiloff attempting to play their first full season. And on top of that you don't have great depth in goal and your number one got hurt.

 

Lots working against Huska that i think has negatively impacted their record.

I don't know what happened to Poirier.  He used to fire about 3 shots per game, but now is lucky to fire one.  He is tending to pass first now.  I saw that in him during the Flames camp.  He would pass with the chance for a good shot.  Is that a product of Huska's defense-first mindset?  

 

Granlund and Agostino probably are top 6 and top 9 players once they reach their peak.  Getting there is the hump they need to overcome.  

 

It may not be as simple of Huska's fault or Hartley's fault or the player not being good enough.  It may be all three.

 

By everything that has been said by Huska, Hartley etc is that they want the same system played in Stockton that they play in Calgary so I don' think its fair to suggest that Huska is any more of a defence first mindset then Hartley is.

 

When it comes to Poirer I won't comment to much on how he is playing as I don't watch. But in terms of passing more I think that would be about development. One thing I've found with Poirier is he is a one trick pony offensivly in that he can score off the rush and thats about it. he really isn't strong enough, yet, to work a cycle game, and because he typically just shoots all the time he woudln't be that hard to defence. While his overal numbers were pretty good last year he did go through a prolonged slumped and I'm wondering if the message to Porier is let's utlize other aspects of your game and make you more dangerous overal rather then just a guy who can score off the rush and then bascially can't help you in other ways.

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I don't know what happened to Poirier. He used to fire about 3 shots per game, but now is lucky to fire one. He is tending to pass first now. I saw that in him during the Flames camp. He would pass with the chance for a good shot. Is that a product of Huska's defense-first mindset?

Granlund and Agostino probably are top 6 and top 9 players once they reach their peak. Getting there is the hump they need to overcome.

It may not be as simple of Huska's fault or Hartley's fault or the player not being good enough. It may be all three.

I don't see the enough offense from Agostino to say he could be a top 6 guy at the NHL level. I see him being more of an energy guy.

Granlund is a guy who can play in the top 6 but I don't think he has high end offensive ability. His skating, puck skills and shot are all pretty average. He does have plus hockey IQ and vision. I just see him being that 30 point not quite a 3rd liner not quite a 2nd line player.

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