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Anaheim Ducks hire Randy Carlyle as head coach

The Anaheim Ducks hired former head coach Randy Carlyle as the team’s new head coach

 The team announced the decision Tuesday morning. Carlyle replaces Bruce Boudreau who was fired after the Ducks were ousted by the Nashville Predators in the first-round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 60-year-old Carlyle led the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup championship, when they beat the Ottawa Senators in five games in 2007. He held a 230-155-49 overall record with Anaheim from 2005 until when he was fired in 2011, and replaced by Boudreau, and a 27-19 postseason record.

“A proven winner and motivator, Randy has expertly managed the bench throughout his coaching career,” said Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “Our expectations are extremely high, and I believe Randy is the coach who can lead us to playoff success and our ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup.” 

Said Carlyle in a statement, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Anaheim and rejoin the organization that gave me my first opportunity as an NHL head coach. I’ve followed this team closely for the last couple of years and am familiar with the core group. I believe this team can win immediately and I can’t wait to get started.”

The decision to bring back Carlyle could be seen as controversial, considering his recent coaching past.

He’s considered an old-school disciplinarian who hasn’t meshed well with hockey’s analytics movement. The latter was often pointed out during Carlyle’s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-15 where he had a 91-78-19 record and led the group to one playoff appearance.

Despite some of his on-ice accomplishments, his struggles with analytics became a major part of his narrative and could be a reason why he didn’t quickly land a job after his ouster from Toronto.

When the Ducks fired Boudreau, who was known as a player’s coach that didn’t shun analytics, Murray was asked if a strong willed, old school coach could succeed in today’s game.

“You cannot do what the old guys did in the old days. I don’t think you can, and I even think some of those guys that are older that are still coaching in this league, that are good, have changed their ways somewhat to deal with the new modern athlete,” Murray said. “There’s a bunch of guys out there. This is a huge choice for us. We’re going to take our time; do all our homework.” 

There is some belief that Carlyle was humbled by his experience in Toronto and has a better sense of how to handle current players in the NHL.

Former Carlyle assistant Dave Farrish spoke of this in a May 2016 interview with Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register

“[Carlyle] has softened a lot too,” Farrish said. “I noticed a change in him when he went to Toronto as far as millennial players coming along. He’s much more receptive to a lot of these players.”

By the end of his first tenure with the Ducks, Carlyle seemed to wear out his welcome with some of the team’s stars, wrote the LA Daily News. 

While it became clear at the end of his six-year-plus run that the Ducks, in particular top players Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, had grown tired of Carlyle and needed a more player-friendly coach, Carlyle’s prodding in the early days pushed a talented team over the top in 2007.

Negatives would be that his demanding ways wear on a team over time and that his dump-and-chase style of hockey goes against an NHL that is increasingly about puck possession, with teams using more analytics to shape their rosters and systems.

This will be a major curiosity with this hire – on how much input they had and whether they’re on board with management’s choice to bring back Carlyle.

Part of the reason for thedecision to go with Carlyle may have had to do with lack of high-end coaching options.

The Ducks had reportedly interviewed former Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo and Utica Comets coach Travis Green, who made the Calder Cup Final last season. Yeo was named associate coach of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

They also reportedly interviewed Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Rick Bowness and inquired on former Washington Capitals coach Dale Hunter.

Even though Carlyle comes with some supposed baggage he’s considered a solid bench coach who has a calm demeanor in big games. Under Boudreau the Ducks lost four straight Game 7s at home and the belief that he struggled behind the bench in the face of pressure. 

Franchise icon Teemu Selanne, who won the Cup with Carlyle as his coach, approved of the hire. 

Recently Ducks center Ryan Kesler told the Vancouver Province that the Ducks needed “a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods.” 

The Ducks won four straight Pacific Division titles with Boudreau as coach, but never made it as far as Carlyle with the team – to a Cup Final. The furthest they went with Boudreau was to Game 7 of the 2015 Western Conference Final where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks blew a 3-2 lead in that series.

This past season Anaheim blew a 3-2 lead to the Nashville Predators and lost Game 7, which helped lead to Boudreau’s ouster. 

They have a roster that’s still in its window of opportunity with core players like Perry, Getzlaf and Kesler in their early 30s and emerging youngsters like defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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