Anaheim Ducks Sunday Editorial: Stand by Your Man

General Manager Bob Murray will stick with Randy Carlyle as the Head Coach of his Anaheim Ducks. Why he’s doing that we don’t know. Carlyle, however, is now the one with his head on the chopping block when the season starts.

Friday’s Mailbag got me thinking aboutHead Coach Randy Carlyle coming back next year to lead the Anaheim Ducks. I wanted to expand more on his situation today.

Oh No, Too Slow

It’s been discussed en infinitum that the Anaheim Ducks were too slow to compete against the top teams in the NHL in 2017-18. Ducks fans were beside themselves wondering how the team’s brain trust could be so blind to what was happening on the ice.

It turns out they weren’t oblivious. As a matter of fact, Bob Murray and Carlyle had been talking about the Ducks inability to keep pace for months. At the end of season press conference, Murray admitted as much.

“I think he knows,” Murray said. “We had enough talks late in the year. We knew where we were halfway through the year and we knew we couldn’t do certain things this year. And that’s just because of the situation we were in.”

That explains why Murray said he didn’t think the team wasn’t worth investing in at the deadline. So instead of playing his hand one way or the other, Murray chose to do nothing. This summer he will have to do something.

New Game, Old Dog

Murray knows the team has to change. He is content to let the man who has time and again shown that he is slower to change course than a salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The GM is telling us that Carlyle didn’t have the tools last year to compete and his coach can run a younger uptempo squad next year.

“I know he definitely knows some things have to change. Hopefully, I can give him a healthy hockey team to start the year to see if they will change.”

On the Altar

Even with the mea culpa from Bob Murray and to a lesser extent Randy Carlyle, someone had to take a bullet for the team’s failure. Assistant Coach Trent Yawney turned out to be the fall guy. After serving seven years with the organization, the Anaheim Ducks chose not to renew his contract.

Yawney is the same guy who was a finalist for Carlyle’s job two years ago, and the guy who ran a top-five penalty kill each of the past three seasons. Its the start of pattern we usually see in football. A team underperforms and the first people on the chopping block are the coordinators. If the situation fails to significantly improve, the head coach is next to go.

After changing coaching staffs and the team still isn’t successful, the executives in charge (Athletic Director in college, GM in the pros) have no other scapegoats and eventually get axed so the team can start over from scratch.

Now the crosshairs are on Carlyle. Its safe to say he is in hockey’s version of Darwinism. Adapt or perish.