After initially deciding not to in the early summer, Flames assistant coach Wayne Fleming has left the team to take the head coaching job in Omsk of the Continental Hockey League.
Surprising news, especially this close to training camp. This is a move that adversely affects the Flames, and puts even more pressure on Mike Keenan and his staff.
With Fleming gone, the Flames' coaching staff now consists of Keenan, Rich Preston, Jim Playfair, Rob Cookson, and goalie coach David Marcoux. Keenan is at least percieved to be on a very short leash. Preston has trotted out the same abysmal special teams for four straight seasons, and I've been calling for him to be fired for a long time. Playfair has already proven his ineffectiveness as a head coach. On this coaching staff right now, Marcoux is the only one I can say earns my confidence. If Keenan ends up canned in-season this year, I don't think I can say any of these coaches would be an improvement.
Fleming's departure further highlights a problem already highly visible for the Flames: their coaching. I always felt Fleming was most qualified to take over the team, at least on an interim basis, if Keenan were to be fired. Keenan's reputation makes him take a lot of the blame when things go wrong for the Flames, and there's a good chance he might take it officially this season. With Fleming gone, I believe it increases the probability. What kind of impact do you think Fleming's departure has?