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Flames’ coaching search still in “first inning”

Niklas Backstrom, Jarome Iginla

Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter, top centre, looks out from the bench behind, left to right, Matt Stajan, Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrison, Tom Kostopoulos, during third period NHL hockey action against the Minnesota Wild in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010. The Minnesota Wild beat the Calgary Flames 3-1. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press - Jeff McIntosh)


The Calgary Flames are nowhere near to hiring a new coach to replace the departed Brent Sutter.

Or, as GM Jay Feaster puts it, “We’re in the first inning of a nine-inning baseball game, if you will.”

Feaster says the club is still in the process of collecting a “master list” of names, after which the candidates will be cut down to “five or six people we would like to pursue and have conservations with.”

Among the potential candidates, according to the Calgary Herald:

---- Troy Ward, coach of the Flames’ AHL affiliate (Abbotsford Heat)

---- San Jose coach Todd McLellan, if the Sharks decide to go in a different direction

---- Bob Hartley, former Avalanche coach who Feaster is close to