Free-fall­ing Ducks fire coach, hop­ing it’s not too late

Tampa Bay Times - - Lightning Report -

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.

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