The Anaheim Ducks find themselves 21-21-9 at the NHL All-Star break after dropping the final game before the break 5-1 to the St.Louis Blues in a dismal fashion. And captain Ryan Getzlaf is finally not staying quiet on the issue anymore. But will change in any form come of it?
Silence is No Longer Golden
Ryan Getzlaf is not holding back anymore. He didn’t mince words following the Ducks absolute dud against the Blues right before the break and virtually said everything that needed to be. And although not throwing anyone under the bus, in particular, you can read between the lines and see he isn’t happy with either the front office/coaching staff, the current group of players, or both. And since the group that is here is more or less the group that has been here the last few seasons, you have to think he is talking more about the coaching staff. You can see the full video here but here are some of the main quotes;
“It’s too hard to park things right now,”. “We’ve been doing it for a month already. I’m pissed off and I’m frustrated. It’s really, really frustrating to realize our group is in a playoff race still after everything and we can’t come out and compete hard around our net, around their net, and do the things we did tonight. We’ve got to play and compete”.
“Never in 14 years here have I had that feeling that we’re not going to compete on a daily basis. We’ve had three- or four-game stretches where things didn’t go our way and maybe we didn’t have the group we wanted (because of injuries), but never for a consistent period like this.”
“We’ve got play and compete, as a group, as five-man units,” he said. “At times we have one guy going or two guys going and the third or fourth guys aren’t there. As a collective group, we’re not competing hard enough or playing hard enough to compete in this league”.
And he couldn’t be more dead on with each comment. In his tenure, the Ducks have never suffered something like this. In watching the team I have never seen this. Every team goes through slumps, every team has rough patches. But you figure out what you are. Right now the Ducks are a team that can’t compete. In the last month, the Ducks looks like they don’t even belong on the same ice with the rest of the league. And that lack of confidence needs a big-time jolt to be fixed. So what will change the coaching staff or the roster?
The Fish Rots from the Head
The Ducks need to change the roster or the coaching staff. And while it isn’t easy to change the roster mid-season if you’re going to you need to be committed to it. You cannot just trade fringe pieces for fringe pieces and expect change. Whether the fan base likes it or not at least making significant moves shows you are trying to go in a different direction. Fringe moves that don’t even scratch the surface of the problem will never work. And right now the Ducks are getting what they paid for. But the roster composition isn’t the problem.
I have said it and said it and said it again. The Ducks roster isn’t the issue, the gameplan and scheme are. And who is responsible for that, the coaching staff. It has been written, said, tweeted, posted and any other form of media and there is no use in continuing to say the same things over and over again. But these comments from Getzlaf seem to be a kind way of letting management know that changes need to happen. Talking about “compete level” and the fact that with things on the line the Ducks cant rise to the occasion speaks volumes to the faith they have in the room and in the coaching staff.
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Make no mistake I am not absolving the players of all guilt. Regardless of what your boss says you need to show up every day and do your job. But that is difficult to do when day and day out you know your boss is setting you up for failure. However many teams claim to block out the noise and to not let things seep in they do. They know what the mass media is saying about them and the coach. They know what the fans are saying about them and the coach. And that makes it virtually impossible to have any faith in what you’re doing.
Getzlaf and the leadership group for that matter were very quiet during the extended 12 game losing streak. After ending it with two good wins only to go right back into a tailspin led to being able to stay silent no more. And though veiled when your captain starts to question things the problem has truly started to run deep. A coaching change may or may not work but at least it would show the front office is committed to making a change. But Bob Murray has been steadfast in saying that Randy Carlyle isn’t going anywhere. With that things seem destined to get worse before they get better. But if the players are starting to speak out things may come to a head sooner rather than later. That could lead to some messy moments but if it leads to change it will all be worth it.