Following an embarrassing 6-2 road loss at the hands of the resurging Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, the Anaheim Ducks fired longtime head coach Randy Carlyle.
Carlyle became the fifth National Hockey League (NHL) coach fired in the 2018/19 campaign, joining the Flyers' Dave Hakstol, the Edmonton Oilers' Todd McLellan, the Los Angeles Kings' John Stevens and the Chicago Blackhawks' Joel Quenneville.
Why was Carlyle fired?
In the past 21 games, which included a franchise-worst 12-game losing streak (0-8-4) from December 18th - January 15th, the Ducks are 2-15-4. More importantly, during their last seven-game skid (0-7-0), Anaheim has been outscored 37-8.
As a result, the Ducks are last in the Western Conference (21–26-9) and eight points behind both the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carlyle’s impressive coaching career
Carlyle, who has the most wins in Ducks' history (384-256-96), compiled a 111-74-35 record in his second stint coaching the team after being hired June 14, 2016, to replace Bruce Boudreau.
The 62-year-old had previously coached the Ducks from 2005-11 and won the Stanley Cup Championship in 2007. Anaheim won the Pacific Division twice and qualified for the playoffs seven times under Carlyle.
In 13 seasons as head coach of both the Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs, Carlyle posted a 475-334-115 all-time record in 924 games behind the bench. Among all-time NHL coaches, Carlyle ranked 33rd in games coached and 29th in victories.
Carlyle is the only person in NHL history to play 1,000 career NHL games (1,055 games) and serve as head coach for 900 or more contests.
Who will replace Carlyle?
Executive Vice President and general manager Bob Murray will take over as the coach for the remainder of the season as interim coach.
"We thank Randy for everything he has done for the organization," said Murray. "Leading the team to a Stanley Cup and three conference final appearances, he has accomplished so much in Anaheim. Difficult decisions need to be made when times are tough, and our play has clearly been unacceptable. We have a tradition of success in Anaheim and we need to get back to that."
"I don't think it would be fair to put anyone else in this position right now," said Murray. "I felt I needed to be in the trenches. I strongly felt this way. I know this is the right move for our organization right now.
"It's my job," said Murray. "I'm looking forward to figuring out what the issues are. One of the biggest things I have to determine is if we have people who can (lead). I haven't given up on them yet, but I'm worried."
Murray’s deciding factor
"What's happened here lately and what it looks like and how we played, it was time for change. I gave it as long as I could ... this team has a history of being a second-half team, but it wasn't going to happen this year,” said Murray.”
"What bothered me the most was the lack of emotion, the lack of push back," he said about his decision to fire Carlyle. "This team has always been a pride team, and that went away. Nothing works if you lack hard work and emotion, and it wasn't there."
Murray, a three-time finalist for general manager of the year (won in 2013/14), is 509-374-130 in 1,013 NHL games as GM for the Blackhawks and Ducks, and the longest tenured and winningest GM in Anaheim history (445-279-101 in 825 games). He signed a two-year contract extension through the 2021/22 season.
Ryan Getzlaf comments
”Hopefully, we can right the ship now," said center Ryan Getzlaf. "Bob's obviously going to implement his vision of what he envisions our team doing and it started today. I'm not exempt from anything that's going on in this room. .... He's going to evaluate me down to the next guy who gets called up, so it's an opportunity for our group to get their eyes open a little bit, maybe, and push in a direction we want to go."
Next chapter in Ducks history begins
The Ducks begin a three-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and will be evaluating player options ahead of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline on February 25 at 3 p.m.
What are your thoughts on the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle? Do you think it was justified and will it help the team get out of the spiral dive they are experiencing? Let us know in the comment section below, and make sure to follow us on Twitter (@VAVELNHL_ENG) for more updates!