Carlyle Returns, But Can He Succeed Again In Anaheim?

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

By Michael Walters

Today the Anaheim Ducks officially announced that Randy Carlyle will be the next head coach. Reports yesterday by ESPN’s John Buccigross and TSN’s Darren Dreger expected Carlyle to be hired by Anaheim.

Carlyle was first with the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 2005-06 season. The organization changed the name for the 2006-07 season to the Anaheim Ducks and Carlyle led the team to their first Stanley Cup. Carlyle ended up coaching in Anaheim for just over six seasons with a 273-182-61 record. He won 36 playoff games and was 11-6 in elimination playoff games in Anaheim. After 24 games and a 7-13-4 start in the 2011-12 season, Carlyle was fired by the organization. Bruce Boudreau replaced Carlyle and Anaheim finished 34-36-12 that season. Ironically, it’s now Carlyle that is replacing Boudreau as Anaheim’s coach.

Analysis 

The hiring of Carlyle isn’t without reservation as some are concerned with how he left the team in the 2011-12. It’s no secret that he didn’t get along with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at the time of his departure. Others are concerned with his use of the dump-and-chase strategy and have criticized him for not changing his offensive lines enough. Additionally, Carlyle has also been known to not work well with younger players.

So with all this, why should Anaheim bring him back?

In regard to Getzlaf and Perry, some have argued that Bruce Boudreau wasn’t hard enough on them especially come playoff time. Carlyle has been known to rarely take days off for practice during the season and pushes his players. Getzlaf and Perry have been scrutinized over their play especially in the playoffs recently and maybe Carlyle can push them to perform better. Ryan Kesler thinks Carlyle can produce better results from the team as a whole. Kesler played for Carlyle while with the AHL Manitoba Moose and feels Carlyle could work because he focuses on faceoff strategies, special teams, and is very detailed.

In terms of game strategy, Carlyle focuses on team defense, penalty killing, playing discipline hockey, and holding players accountable. After the poor start to last season, the Ducks turned their season around with sound defense, quality goaltending, and the league’s best special teams. It would appear that Carlyle’s system on defense and special teams would fit in with Anaheim’s current one.

The bigger question is how Anaheim’s offense will perform under Carlyle. With the large amount of RFAs and UFAs this summer, the Anaheim team is going to be different next season. As a result, Carlyle will have to mix up the lines to start the season and get a feel for what combinations work with the new personnel. Once Carlyle finds the line rushes that work, then expect him not to change the lines so frequently as Boudreau did. Some criticized Boudreau for changing his lineup too much and not allowing players to develop chemistry. This won’t be a problem under Carlyle.

It will be interesting to see how Carlyle handles the forecheck. He has used the dump-and-chase strategy, which some feel is an archaic forechecking tactic. He may be able to get the team to use it effectively, but it would suit him better to work on players maintaining possession through neutral ice and the opponent’s blue line. The dump-and-chase is difficult to implore against team’s with good team speed. As long as Carlyle emphasizes more than just one strategy, Anaheim’s forecheck will have success.

Finally, Carlyle has been known to have issues with being difficult on younger players. The word is he appears to have mellowed out in this regard, but only time will tell come October.

A press conference will be held at Honda Center at 11:30AM this morning with GM Bob Murray and Randy Carlyle.

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