CALGARY, Alberta - The Calgary Flames fired Bob Hartley on Tuesday, a season after he was voted the NHL's Coach of the Year.
Calgary took a big step backward this year after reaching the playoffs last season. The Flames finished 35-40-7, with only Vancouver and Edmonton posting fewer wins in the rugged Western Conference.
"Bob has taken this team as far as I feel he can take it," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said at a news conference.
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Last season, he led the Flames to a 45-30-7 record and third place in the Pacific Division, but there was no sign of that team this season behind Johnny Gaudreau and Marc Giordano. In February, Calgary dealt forward Jiri Hudler to Florida for draft picks and sent winger David Jones to Minnesota for goalie Niklas Backstrom and a sixth-round pick.
In four years with Calgary, Hartley had a regular-season record of 134-135-25.
Treliving met with Hartley early Tuesday and fired the 55-year-old from Hawksbury, Ontario.
"This is isn't just a necessary move because we didn't make the playoffs, so we're going to throw a body on the tarmac," Treliving said. "For us to move forward, I felt this decision had to be made for what Bob, in my opinion, can get from this group moving forward."
Capitals: Orpik thinks ban is fair
PITTSBURGH - Brooks Orpik was trying to be physical. Yet the instant the Washington Capitals defenseman made contact with Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta's head early in Game 2 on Saturday night, Orpik knew he had crossed a sometimes vague line between aggressive and illegal.
The NHL suspended Orpik three games for what director of player safety Patrick Burke described the hit as "forceful, unacceptably high and excessively late."
Looking back, Orpik can't help but agree.
"It was a bad hit," Orpik said Monday. "It was intended to be a hard hit, definitely not at his head but I don't think there is anything that you can argue that it was definitely late. I think that was pretty black and white."
Orpik is out until at least Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals or the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals if the Capitals should take the next three contests in the ultra-competitive best-of-seven series with the Penguins, which is even at 1-1 heading into Monday night's Game 3 in Pittsburgh. The outlook for the 21-year-old Maatta is murkier. Coach Mike Sullivan ruled Maatta out for at least Game 3 but didn't close the door on Maatta possibly returning at some point.
Either way, Orpik will be forced to watch the top seed in the East forge ahead following an uncharacteristic mistake. While Orpik has spent the majority of his 13-year career willingly throwing his 6-foot-2, 221-pound frame around, he's largely done it smartly. Not in this case, and Orpik knows it.
Rangers: Bring in backup goalie
NEW YORK - The New York Rangers have agreed to a deal with backup goalie Antti Raanta.
The 26-year-old Raanta appeared in 25 games with the Rangers this season after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in June. He had an 11-6-2 record, with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .919 save percentage and a shutout playing behind Henrik Lundqvist.
Raanta, who is from Rauma, Finland, tied his career high in appearances and was eighth in the league in GAA. He allowed two goals or fewer in 13 of his 18 starts during the season.
Raanta earned a win in each of his first four starts of the season, becoming the first goaltender in franchise history to register a win in each of his first four starts with the Rangers. He also was the fourth goaltender in franchise history to earn a shutout in his first start with the Rangers and the first to do so since Marcel Paille on Nov. 2, 1957.
Raanta, who made three appearances in the Rangers' first-round playoff loss to the Penguins, said Monday on Twitter that he is looking forward to his second season with the team.
He tweeted: "Great feeling to come back to (at)NYRangers thanks to the fans for a great first year and everybody who made NY feel like home!"