Free-falling Ducks fire coach, hoping it’s not too late
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Ducks fired coach Randy Carlyle on Sunday amid a seven-game losing streak and free fall into last place in the Western Conference.
General manager Bob Murray takes over as interim coach for the rest of the regular season. Anaheim will name a new coach after the season.
“I think this is the only way for me to determine what all the problems are,” Murray said.
After no firings last year, Anaheim is the sixth team to make a change this season, joining Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Edmonton and Philadelphia.
Carlyle, 62, the winningest coach in Ducks history (384-25696), was in his second stint with Anaheim. He led the team to the Stanley Cup in 2007 and three appearances in the Western Conference Final (2006, 2007, 2017).
Anaheim has made the playoffs six straight seasons but won just two of its past 21 games. It was second in the Pacific Division on Dec. 18 after winning 11 of 13 but has gone 2-15-4 since.
“What’s bothered me the most was the lack of emotion, the lack of pushback,” Murray said. “This team has always been a pride team, and it’s gone away. It’s not there.”
Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Philadelphia capped a five-game road trip on which the Ducks were outscored 29-7, including 14-0 in the first period.
“You don’t expect to have to live through this stuff for an extended period of time,” Carlyle said after the loss.
Amid a 12-game losing streak last month, Murray issued a statement saying he wasn’t considering a coaching change and instead was focusing on the roster. He shook up the roster with a couple of trades that led to two straight wins, but another losing streak followed.
Carlyle’s fate was sealed with Anaheim’s 4-1 loss in Montreal on Tuesday. Murray said he phoned ownership after that and set the wheels in motion for the change.
When asked about his approach to the trade deadline, Murray said the Ducks have to get younger and faster: “I’ve been listening a lot lately. … This organization, we have to change some things.”
Anaheim’s next three games are at home, beginning Wednesday against the Canucks. Defenseman Cam Fowler said he hopes the change can shake the Ducks into making a late run. “Sometimes all you need is a fresh start to get some good mojo,” he said. “We felt like we were just kind of stuck in neutral and as hard as we were trying to work to get things going better, we just couldn’t find a way to do it.”
GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Vladimir Tarasenko completed a hat trick by scoring 16 seconds into overtime and the Blues held off the host Predators 5-4 to stretch their winning streak to a seasonbest six games. …Brad Marchand scored 4:03 into overtime and the host Bruins extended their points streak to seven games with a 2-1 win over the Avalanche. The Avs lost their seventh in a row but earned a point with a third straight overtime loss.