It is August. The doldrums have hit. No arbitration hearings to discuss. You can hear the crickets chirping in the free agency market. Next thing you know, it’s been two weeks since you had anything to write about, and you don’t anticipate anything else coming up for another two weeks, or more.
So news that the Ducks coach, Randy Carlyle, was extended for three years, provided local hockey writers something to talk about rather than have to dig at the bottom of the barrel for ideas.
Carlyle is entering his 7th year with the Anaheim Ducks and he has three more to look forward to as well. As long as GM Bob Murray is in the drivers seat, Carlyle will be behind the bench.
“Randy has been invaluable to this club over the last six years,” Murray praised. “He has been a true leader through thick and thin, and we are very pleased to be able to reward him with this well-deserved contract.”
Carlyle is coach #7 for the Ducks franchise, and has brought the Ducks to the playoffs in five of the past six seasons, and leading them to their first (and so far only) Stanley Cup Championship in 2007. Carlyle has the most wins and highest winning percentage in Ducks history, compiling a 266-169-57 record in 492 regular season contests (.599 winning percentage).
“I’m very grateful to be able to continue coaching the Ducks into the future,” said Carlyle. “The Samuelis have laid a great foundation for success in Southern California both on and off the ice, and my family and I are happy to be a part of it.”
Carlyle has been the first to admit his job is not a secure one when the Ducks have gone through some of their rockier moments during a season. However, Murray has insisted on steady as she goes and gone against the grain in the NHL that removes coaches from their positions on a regular basis. As it has been said, when things are going south, it is easier to fire one guy than fire the whole team, even if the team is the one screwing up and not doing their job.
Coaching is a thankless position, but Carlyle certainly has to feel appreciated. He is often crusty and short tempered and does not hesitate to tell his players exactly what he thinks, but he also has a lighter side that fans rarely get to see.
Carlyle has only missed one game behind the bench, when he was severely ill. Assistant coach Dave Farrish took over for one night and after the win, claimed a “perfect” winning record as head coach.
For now, things look pretty secure for Carlyle, who will head into yet another training camp next month.
Will he head there with Teemu Selanne as one of his players on the ice? That is still unknown. Selanne is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and recently told a Finnish newspaper he is not going to make a decision about playing until September at the earliest.
Murray is not overly concerned about Selanne.
“I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing and then I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him,” Murray stated. “I think he intends to go pretty hard this week with the bigger boys that are there in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over. I want him to be healthy.
Murray says he has a plan B in case Selanne decides to retire after all, something he has been dabbling with since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. Eventually, that day will come, whether now or later. But replacing the Finnish Flash, who had 31 goals and 80 points last season at age 40, will be exceptionally difficult, whenever that occurs.