Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/1/11
Statistically, there have been worse months than Anaheim's 2-8-3 November, though none of them stung quite like this. Four and a half years removed from raising the Stanley Cup on the Honda Center ice, the Ducks parted ways with the franchise's winningest coach and the third-longest tenured NHL coach on what was an extremely difficult day for not just Randy Carlyle, his staff and their families, but for the players and those in hockey operations who shared the assessment of the blame for the club's underachieving performance. On a professional level, the move was necessary, according to General Manager Bob Murray. On a more personal level, it was not quite as easy to accept. "As you guys all know, this is a real rough three days for me just because of what I think about Randy," Murray said. "It was tough, but after the weekend and watching, we've been through funks before with this group. We're in one, and after watching the way we played Friday and Sunday I decided that it was time for a new voice. It doesn't mean that the guy is a bad coach or a bad person, it's just it was time for this group to have a new voice in the locker room and it was time to move forward. We're all accountable, everybody in hockey ops is accountable for this." While there is a moment for reflection and reorganization, there's also plenty of hope looking forward. The new voice will come from Bruce Boudreau, the fastest coach to win 200 games in the modern era and someone who will once again have an assortment of elite talent and perhaps a few questions defensively when he stands behind the bench Friday night against Philadelphia (7:00 pm Prime Ticket) as the eighth head coach in club history. "I sat there on Tuesday and if I didn't believe that this was a team that had the possibilities of making something special, I think I would have sat down and waited," Boudreau said amongst his first remarks at Thursday's press conference. The events fell together quickly. Upset with the team's performance in demoralizing weekend losses to Chicago and Toronto, Murray immediately called Capitals GM George McPhee after it was announced that Boudreau had been fired early Monday morning. He was granted permission to speak with the coach, quickly noting his desire to get back to work quickly., "When I talked to Bruce, I wanted to sense in his voice if he was ready to go right back at it or not. That was important to me," Murray said. Carlyle then coached the Ducks to a 4-1 victory over Montreal Wednesday night, shaking off an underwhelming start before watching the team become more comfortable as the three periods progressed. After the game, he met with the team and the coaches, spoke with reporters, and returned to his office to find Murray waiting to hold the discussion that three NHL coaches have now heard in the last week. "It's been an awful three or four days," Murray said of the news that he had to break to a close friend and colleague. The news appeared to shed doubt on the likelihood of a trade involving Bobby Ryan despite reports less than 24 hours earlier that such a trade was "imminent". (link: https:twitter.com!JohnBorukCSN) After several days of practicing, playing in games and speaking to reporters regarding the pressures and distractions of his future with the club, there was at least some reassurance taken in being able to put away that discussion and look for a spark under a new voice. "You try and put things in the back of your mind as much as you can and you try and focus on the good and not the bad and all the things that are coming with the slump that we've had lately, but it's tough. It creeps into everything, and every outlet is there," Ryan said. "For me, it's nice to step away from it a little bit and just get ready to play hockey under a new coach and a new regime, and hopefully turn some of the season around, because there's still time." After Ryan saw time on the third line Wednesday in an effort to spread the offense around, Boudreau was willing to consider aligning him with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry again, saying he'll send them out together for their first shift. "Beyond that, we'll have to see how they do," he said. Taking the ice as the Ducks' coach for the first time Thursday morning, Boudreau led the team through an up-tempo work-out that had some good battles and a high compete level. There wasn't any prolonged meeting on structure or systems prior to taking the ice, only a discussion of what he expects out of every player on the team, with confidence and belief in one's self recurring themes. "I want them to be very positive and I want to be aggressive," Boudreau said. "I want them to play the way they're capable of playing, and with energy and thinking that they're going to be successful the way they should be successful. This was a team that before the season started, if you read a lot of the clippings that they said would really contend for the Western Division Crown or the Pacific Division crown, and I think they're very capable of doing it. I want them to believe in themselves. That's the message for today: believe in themselves." There is still plenty of time for a new voice to reach through to a capable Anaheim team. Eventually Lubomir Visnovsky and very likely Jason Blake will return. George Parros comes back Tuesday and adds character to a group looking for veteran direction. Ten points out of a playoff spot with 58 games to play, April still seems quite a ways away. Getzlaf spoke of his optimism and the belief necessary to turn the Ducks around. "It was weird coming to the rink today," Getzlaf said. "It was different for me. It was exciting. I think it's going to be an exciting time for us. And like I said before, it shows that Murph believes in our group and brought somebody in here that feels that can take this group and run with it." NOTES: Murray confirmed that trade talks including Bobby Ryan as well as several other Ducks did take place. "When you're struggling, and in a funk like we were, you get lots of phone calls," Murray said. "You always get phone calls. Sometimes you listen and sometimes you don't. And I'm not going to lie I was listening. But don't think for one second the calls were just on Bobby. That was a popular one, but don't think it was just him. I'm hoping everything settles down right now. I think it will. But again, I've said this if you're ever offered something that makes your organization better I don't care who the player is it makes your team better, you better damn well look at it." ... With his goal Wednesday night, Ryan Getzlaf snapped a 14-game goalless streak. He is now in a seven game pointassist streak (1-9-10)... Corey Perry has a four-game goal streak (4-3-7), his longest since a five-game streak since March 19-26, 2011. His seven-game point streak is tied with Getzlaf and
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