Blog Entry

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:24 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:24 am

By Brian Stubits

The Anaheim Ducks couldn't buy a win. They had lost seven straight games and had only two wins in 18 games going into Wednesday.

So for finally getting a win by beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-1, head coach Randy Carlyle was fired. Literally, within an hour of winning the game. At the time of the firing, the Ducks announced the hiring of Bruce Boudreau, the former Capitals coach fired just 65 hours earlier, with a two-year contract.

"I was shocked," Teemu Selanne said. "I didn't see this coming. But obviously with the situation, we were expecting something was gonna happen."

The Elias Sports Bureau points out that is the quickest turnaround for a coach in NHL history.

Carlyle was the third coach canned this week. That means in the span of three days a former Stanley Cup-winning coach (Carlyle), Stanley Cup-finalist coach (Paul Maurice in Carolina) and former Jack Adams Award-winning coach (Boudreau) were all terminated. If anything shows how much of a win-now business the NHL (and all professional sports for that matter) is, this is exhibit A, B and C.

So there are a few of lesson in there. OK, there are a lot of lessons in there, but we're going to talk about two.

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The first lesson is the easy one: Don't let your team suck. It's obvious to say, but that was the primary reason Carlyle was fired on Wednesday, the team was playing awful hockey for the last month and a half. None of the tumult in Anaheim would have been spinning like the tea-cups at Disneyland if they could win a game or two.

To illustrate the Ducks sucktitude, the Battle of California blog dug up this little nugget: In the first eight minutes of periods this season -- any period -- the Ducks are a minus-24 in goal differential. In the other 12 minutes, they are even. That doesn't bode well for a coach.

"They didn't seem to believe in themselves anymore, and I hadn't seen that in six years here," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said.

The second lesson is one for general managers. Don't wait to make a move you think needs to be made. The Ducks had hit a point where a shakeup was necessary. That's why they have been talking about trading star young winger Bobby Ryan.

Then Boudreau became available. The move was announced on Wednesday night, but don't be fooled into thinking that wasn't a decision already made. It's not often a coach is fired right after a game, a win no less.

Murray admitted on Thursday that he called Capitals general manager George McPhee very soon after Boudreau was fired. Considering Murray was already looking for "a new voice," as he put it, Boudreau sort of fell into his lap.

On Wednesday Boudreau was doing an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. about his firing. During the call he was walking in the airport and he told the hosts he was headed to Toronto to see his mother. That might have been a white lie it turns out. Instead he was getting ready to see his new employer in Anaheim.

Good coaches don't last long when they are on the market. And make no mistake, Boudreau is a good coach. You don't go 201-88-40 by being a poor coach. It wasn't until he came aboard that the Capitals took off and became a regular-season stalwart. This situation can be similar.

"It's great to be here," Boudreau said. "I don't think opportunities like this come around every day, with the talent we have here. I jumped at it."

We saw it earlier this season with the St. Louis Blues, too. They obviously wanted Ken Hitchcock to be their coach. There was a lot of talk that the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to fire Scott Arniel and name Hitchcock his replacement. So what did the Blues do? Fire Davis Payne somewhat unexpectedly then announce Hitchcock as his replacement.

Speaking of Hitchcock, he comes off looking like a prophet. It was just on Tuesday he predicted that within 72 hours Boudreau would be back in rinks. Nailed it.

So when you see somebody you want, don't hesitate. Get while the gettin's good. Or should I say get while the gettin's still there to get. There are still a handful of teams who could potentially make a coaching change. The Montreal Canadiens don't have the most secure coach. Same goes for the Blue Jackets, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and even Los Angeles Kings. That would have been a lot of teams interested in Boudreau's services. So instead of taking a chance, Bob Murray decided to cut the line now and be the first to reel in the fish he wanted.

The third lesson? Star players will always win out in power struggles. Or at least, coaches will never win them.

Was there a battle between Carlyle and Ryan in Anaheim that led to so many trade rumors regarding the 24-year-old? Hard to tell for sure, but as of yesterday it seemed pretty clear that not all was right near the Magical Kingdom.

The Ducks were shopping a player that every other team in the NHL would love to have. That right there is probably a sign you have somebody worth keeping.

Then there was the incredibly ... odd quote from Carlyle to Ryan. When Ryan got around to talking to Carlyle about the rumors that had Ryan admitting he wouldn't be surprised if he were traded, this was the response from his head coach. "[He] has to find that inner peace in himself to deal with it."

Pretty rough. Never seen a coach give a response like that before. Some might say tough love. Others might say tough times for their relationship.

Obviously this shares a similarity to Boudreau in Washington. The two sides will continue to deny it, but it won't stop the speculating that not all was great between Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin. There are some who will believe for the rest of their time that Ovechkin pushed Boudreau out.

In the end, it seems as though Murray came to his senses and got rid of Carlyle. There is certainly no guarantee this brings an end to the Ryan speculation, but it should. The Ducks got their shakeup with this moves and don't need to trade away Ryan. He's still young and talented, it would be a trade they would likely rue forever in Anaheim.

"I'm hoping everything settles down right now," Murray said, "and I think it will."

That came right after Nick Kypreos, the one who first reported Boudreau was on his way out in Washington and reported the trade rumblings on Ryan, tweeted that Ryan is off the market.

Now, under Boudreau, Ryan will be an asset. It's a situation somewhat similar to what he walked into four years ago in Washington. There are some very talented skill players up front. It will be interesting to see if he does what he did in Washington and just let them go crazy. Open up the ice and let them loose. Ryan would fit into that scheme very nice.

I love the turn of events for the Ducks. Much the same as Boudreau in Washington, Carlyle's time in Anaheim had clearly just come to an end. It was a great run that included a Stanley Cup.

"I want to think Randy for six-plus years of outstanding work," Murray said. "He’s a terrific coach and will be a terrific coach again."

But obviously what Carlyle was doing was no longer working. There is no reason the Ducks should be so low in the standings when they have last year's Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry on the roster along with one of the best skill players of all time in Selanne, who is still playing at a high level.

They might have just bought themselves a lot more wins in future seasons.

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Photo: Getty Images/Ducks Twitter feed

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Since: Oct 9, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:53 am

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Question now is....who's next? Once the dominos start to fall there's always a few more.I say Jacques Martin. Which is fine cause the Habs look lifeless, however he shouldn't be only one to take the fall. Pierre Gauthier should be shown the door before or at the same time. He's overseen this mess for quite sometime. He was gainey's assistant before and was in on that GREAT trade for Gomez! That alone should have him banned for life! His model is a passive fast team.....great if you're playing in the Sweedish second division but not great in the NHL. Especially in Montreal.
 Big question after that is who's in line for G.M and coaches jobs?   Hmmmm G.M, offer Pierre McGuire total control maybe? He's a Montreal native, passionate about the town and the sport. Intelligent and well connected. Ok that's settled. Now who does Pierre bring in as coach? Oh yes, he's got to be bi-lingual since our french speaking media doesn't understand english it seems Ok that narrows it down alot.Mario Tremblay? Uh no we've been down that road. Bob Hartly? Maybe but lets keep trying. Michel Terrian? Been there and didn't finish well. Ok so let's just forget the bi-lingul crap and get the BEST POSSIBLE CANIDATE people. Stanly Cup winning coach, hard nosed.....hey guy just came availible...RANDY CARLYLE!!

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:58 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

I was praying that we would NOT trade Bobby Ryan..and boy were my prayers answered Big Time! There were rumors about Ryan being traded years ago when Burke was GM. Now it makes total sense that the problem was between Ryan and Carlyle. Ryan may not be well-known because he plays on the West Coast, but he is a _phenomenal_ player. I think he is, or will soon be, a franchise player for us. Please, please don't ever trade him!

I don't know anything about our new coach. I hope we also go 30-10 or whatever he did when he first started with the Capitols.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:12 am

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

The third lesson? Star players will always win out in power struggles.

Yep.  Especially superstars like Ovechkin who are making the kind of money he's making..... they may as well make these players assistant coaches because they have as much say as anybody.  Yes that's sad and unfortunate, but it's true. 

That all being said, I think Washington's loss is Anaheim's gain.   In my opinion Randy Carlyle was and still as useless as they come, just a terrible coach that can't take control of his team.  Carlyle and his over aggressive/goon type thinking doesn't work in today's NHL so I'm very surprised it took this long for somebody to fire him.  

Since: Mar 20, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:16 am

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Bruce "Effin" Boudreau

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 10:25 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Nobody wants Scott Howson's garbage busts.  Still living off the riches of Doug McLean's already handicapped draft choices.  Howson's guys just plain suck.  He is just a terrible chosen one GM.

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:04 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Scott Arniel is going to finish the year in Columbus. Only if Nash decided to pick a fight with him would he be gone. Derick Brassard is being shopped around...any takers?   

Since: Jul 19, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:34 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

I guess the Blue Jackets are too far gone into the crapper to get a new coach to take over the mess in Columbus. Arniel should have been canned a month ago.

Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2011 6:28 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

I am not saying BB or Carlyle should have or should not have been dumped.  Message really is - players are spoiled prima donnas who can care less if team wins or not.  They want to be babyfied by whomever is coach.  When coach stops doing it what do these spoiled brats do?  They run into the corner and pout.  These two hockey teams are prime examples.  Baseball another one.  Watch A-Rod of Yankees.  I feel he will not be batting cleanup next year.  If he isn't he will pout and go into his corner.  Almost every pro basketball team has same situation.

It makes me sick.  For the bucks these guys make fans deserve the max output regardless of coach.  They should also follow direction of coach and put out everything they can.  Never happen.

Who gets screwed.  Only one group.  Not coaches-they quickly get new jobs; not players-they get big salary; not owners-they make profit.  It is fan who pays his/her $100 or more per game.

Since: Sep 28, 2011
Posted on: December 1, 2011 6:07 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: December 1, 2011 5:42 pm

Lessons in Ducks' Carlyle-Boudreau exchange

Enjoyed the piece.   Good 3 lessons to build around:
The first lesson is the easy one: Don't let your team suck.
The second lesson is one for general managers. Don't wait to make a move you think needs to be made.
The third lesson? Star players will always win out in power struggles.

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