Ex-Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle: Experience was positive, firing wasn't
Randy Carlyle, who coached the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007 but was fired Wednesday because of the team's prolonged struggles, said Saturday he has been traveling "an emotional road" since his dismissal and will take a brief fishing trip to Northern California before considering his hockey future.
"We'll see," he said when asked if he expects to coach in the NHL again. "I'm working on putting one foot in front of another for the next couple of days."
Carlyle's last game was a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, which ended the Ducks' seven-game losing streak. However, General Manager Bob Murray had decided that no matter the outcome, he would dismiss Carlyle and replace him with Bruce Boudreau, the former Washington Capitals coach.
Boudreau lost his Ducks debut when the team squandered a three-goal lead and lost, 4-3, in overtime Friday. It was much like many of the games Carlyle coached this season, in fact, with a team that lacks depth and discipline.
"I was given my first opportunity to coach in the NHL, and I was able to coach great players. I was supported wholeheartedly by management. The event was unfortunate, but what happened, overall, was positive."
Carlyle said he felt he and assistants Dave Farrish and Mike Foligno had "emptied the tank" in trying to find ways to get their message across to players. Farrish and Foligno were fired too.
“It wasn't like we were doing the same thing we had done the year before or the year before that," Carlyle said. "I thought we'd softened in a lot of ways because the situation was so intense that we felt they didn't need more pressure. You make decisions and you live with them."
He also said he wasn't entirely surprised by what happened.
"I've been in the business long enough to know where there's smoke, there's fire," he said. "I've lived through some large-smoke situations before and we’ve gotten through it. This one was a different situation.
"We had different personnel and different areas where we found concerns. We just couldn't be consistent."
Since his dismissal, he said, he has cleaned out his garage and played golf twice "and I’m not a golfer." He also said he had received hundreds of text and voice-mail messages from friends but hasn't returned them. "I'm trying to step away," he said.
He probably won't be out of the league for long. His old-school ways and disciplined game would be a good fit for a young team that's looking to build a foundation and become a contender.
It will be interesting to see whether Boudreau, known as a players' coach, can get better results than Carlyle did.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Randy Carlyle at a Ducks practice in September. Credit: Chris Carlson /Associated Press