Randy Carlyle is a Stanley Cup winning coach that was chased out of Toronto for reasons unbeknownst to many in the realm of hockey. When you have bad cards, you can only win so many games, yet Leafs Nation rationalized the need for his departure, and look how that panned out. Is Toronto still rebuilding? Yes. Randy Carlyle isn’t the type of coach that thrives with a team of that sort. For those in need of a history lesson; he was the head coach of the 2007 Stanley Cup Champions. Nevertheless, we’ve all heard the forum chatter, “Any fool could have coached that team to a Stanley Cup.” Of course, this narrative reared its ugly head when Carlyle was rehired as Anaheim’s head coach this offseason.
When Carlyle was rehired, GM Bob Murray made it clear that he was in a “win right now” mindset. He even referenced giving the team, “One more year,” after resigning Hampus Lindholm. So here we are with 44 games played, and what are we looking at? Are we looking at a team who show’s up for 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there, or are we looking at a team that is learning importance of 60 minute hockey? To the untrained eye, one might opt for the former, but the latter is the reality.
Here is a list of opinions why the Ducks are playing a more complete game with Carlyle behind the bench:
- The complaining is down
- The egregiously stupid minor penalties have improved
- The 5 on 5 offensive system hasn’t been a predictable, drawn out endeavor
- There has been more emphasis on initiative and urgency throughout the entire roster
- There have been consequences via TOI
- There have been rewards via TOI
- The attention to detail, especially in regards to tape-on-tape passes, has been significantly greater
This is only part of what Randy Carlyle has brought to the table, but the underlying theme is that he is bringing stern management into the locker room. A team as talented as Anaheim ultimately had to beat themselves in the playoffs, and not addressing the reasons above was the culprit of their failure. Maybe they had to be humbled? I don’t know. However, I’m watching a team that’s really beginning to find their identity, through cutting down on antics and staying focused on the task at hand.