Ducks GM Murray says Carlyle's job is safe. Does the same go for players' jobs?
Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle has been a popular pick in the first-coach-to-be-fired pool, but General Manager Bob Murray said Monday it's not Carlyle's fault the team is 14th in the West and near the bottom of the overall league standings.
"We're not letting the players off the hook ... ," Murray said.
"He’s a good coach. His record proves that. It’s more our people. I’m getting tired of watching them looking for excuses, feeling sorry for themselves. Yes, the schedule has been tough but so has everybody else’s in this bloody league, especially the Western Conference.
"I daresay he’s more upset the way they’re playing than they are themselves, which in itself is a huge question there. Why is that?"
The Ducks on Wednesday will begin a stretch in which they play three straight games and five of their next six at home -- and their opponents include East-leading Tampa Bay, always dangerous Pittsburgh and scrappy Nashville. Murray said the next few weeks will be critical for the team -- and for him in deciding if he's sure he has the right players.
"They got a little while longer to convince me if they want to stay here," he said. "I'm going to watch this homestand very carefully. This homestand last year is where the season got away from us. This exact homestand right now. And I expect to see some desperation."
More on Murray and the Ducks in my weekly NHL column, which will be posted at Latimes.com/sports.
Also, with several forwards plagued by nagging injuries, the Ducks recalled center Nick Bonino from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. He had two goals and nine points in eight games.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Randy Carlyle. Credit: Carlos Osorio / Associated Press