Randy Carlyle took his vacation. Now he's ready to go back to work.
"For sure," he said Sunday (a day before the Kings job opened) when asked if he was ready to coach again. "Without a doubt. I think I have something to offer."
Yes, he does. The marriage between Carlyle and the Anaheim Ducks came to an abrupt end two weeks ago. But, it's a guarantee that prospective employers will look at the positives of his first six seasons, rather than what went wrong in Year Seven.
Even though Carlyle coached the Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup championship, it isn't an uncommon belief that some of his best work came last year. Anaheim charged to fourth in the Western Conference, despite losing its No. 1 goalie to vertigo.
As for critiques that Carlyle can be too tough on players, well, Ken Hitchcock isn't always a favourite for the Wally Cleaver Award. And, look what's happening in St. Louis. If anything, that makes it even more likely that Carlyle's shot could come quickly.
(The fact Carlyle returned my call usually means nothing is imminent. My experience is that when someone is about to take a new job, it's harder to reach them. Of course, now that I've written this, Carlyle will get a job tomorrow.)
In the meantime, he spent some time relaxing in a small California city called Bishop -
the "Mule Capital of the World," according to Wikipedia.
"I wanted to make sure I had some time to look back, think about what happened...and why it happened," he said.
So, now that you've had some perspective, what do you think?
"That's something I'm not going to share," Carlyle said. "I'm not going to throw stones. A lot of great things happened in Anaheim and that's what I'm going to remember. It was a great experience."
Won't be long until he'll have a new one.30 THOUGHTS1.
Possible replacements if John Stevens doesn't keep the job? Keep an eye
on Tony Granato. Lots of ties to the LA front office, and ready for
another shot. (The Colorado fans are attacking that, but he's got much
more experience now. People grow.) Two questions, though: would
Pittsburgh allow him to go during the year? And, is Granato, as nice a
person as you can find, what Dean Lombardi wants? Lombardi likes Darryl
a lot. And Sutter sure fits the "hard-ass" image people think
That also fits Carlyle's profile. He's under contract through 2013-14,
so teams will need Anaheim's permission to get him. When the Los Angeles
reported Terry Murray was in trouble late Sunday night, Helene
Elliott and Lisa Dillman wrote the Kings "are not thought to be
interested" in Carlyle. President Tim Leiweke loves the headlines (he
brought David Beckham to MLS). This would certainly create some. Not
sure, though, the Ducks would want that.3.
Lombardi said he decided Sunday and flew to Boston first thing Monday.
Wouldn't be surprised if the story forced the issue. One of two things
probably happened: Murray asked if it was true, or Lombardi felt he owed
it to Murray to make a quicker decision once it got out.
Sounds like Lombardi really gave it to the players, blaming them for the
firing. "He was very upset," said one. He sounded as disappointed as
I've ever heard him on the conference call.5.
The Senators are being understandably tight-lipped about Patrick Wiercioch's injuries (the defenceman was hit in the neck by a puck in an AHL game last Friday). When we do find out more, sounds like we're going to learn that Binghamton trainer Glen Kinney is a real hero in this story. Patrick, we hope you make a full recovery.
Sidney Crosby met with reporters on Monday, saying he's not feeling bad, but has some symptoms and wants to be careful. He added the Chris Kunitz collision was not the cause. Glenn Healy wondered about that; with Crosby's great vision, Healy was surprised he didn't see Kunitz.7.
After Glenn said that, a few of us watched Crosby's previous shifts. (You kind of feel bad for the guy, everything he does is so picked apart.) He did a first intermission interview that night with Dan Potash and is cut under his right eye. On his very first shift, he's hit by David Krejci and it looks like his visor bends back into his face. That's probably where it happened.
Now, we'll get the questions: why was he playing? Ever since David Perron, I've hated that. Perron gets hit by Joe Thornton, scores on the ensuing power play and is accused of faking. Next thing we know, he misses 97 games. The most frustrating thing about this is it's not an exact science.9.
A few of you asked (via Twitter) why they don't just call it a concussion. One GM has a theory: "That word is so negative right now, teams just want to stay away from it...Behind the scenes, I'm sure these players are getting proper treatment. But every story you hear about concussions is so bad that I think they're worried about the effect it has on players and media." Considering how often we're seeing this now, I think he may be on to something here.10.
So, best to Crosby, and also to Chris Pronger, two guys who have more in common than they'd probably want to admit. Initially, we were concerned with Pronger's eye after Mikhail Grabovsky's stick hit him in October, but it appears as if his forehead took the brunt. He went into the boards hard against Carolina on November 14 (trying to break up a two-on-one) and versus Phoenix on the 17th (Martin Hanzal hit). The cumulative effects are the issue here. Thing that concerns me: Pronger doesn't miss time unless it's serious.11.
In case there is any confusion, Pronger has been on the long-term injury list (retroactively) since November 19 -
the last game he played. Depending on how long they think he'll be out, it gives the Flyers an extra $5 million US in cap space.
Something new I learned this week: other teams really like dealing with Paul Holmgren. "No B.S.," one GM said. "He asks what you want, he tells you what he wants and if there's a match it gets done quick."
Okay let's lighten things up a bit. NHL Man of the Year: Tyler Bozak. Don't know what's going on with him and Kate Upton, but I'm very impressed.14.
Conference call sometime this week between the NHL and NHLPA to discuss re-alignment. Donald Fehr is used to consultation on this issue, because every time MLB went through something like this, there was discussion between the two parties. That's never happened in hockey. Most people seem to think the new plan will get approved. There is some wariness from the league that the NHLPA might want something in return. That would complicate the process, if true.15.
One thing that does look like it's headed for arbitration: the dispute over whether or not the players are entitled to the $25 million the city of Glendale pays to the NHL to run the Phoenix Coyotes. If it's not settled in the next week or two, sounds like someone else is going to have to decide.
Vancouver's power play is number one in the NHL at 26 per cent, five percentage points ahead of second-place Toronto. That's significant, because you could see Colorado and Ottawa try the Boston model last week -- punish them into submission. The Canucks' preference is to make you pay on the man advantage. It dried up in the Cup final, which was a major reason Vancouver lost.
Kevin Bieksa said he went to referee Kevin Pollock on Saturday night, asking him to watch Chris Neil. The Canucks defenceman claimed Pollock told him "they were good friends and he knows him well and he won't cross the line." Had a good debate with the NHL about this. I wanted Pollock's reaction, but a couple of league officials said no because "what is said on the ice should stay on the ice." So, I went to a few "independents." Most of them agreed with the league. 18.
One scout on Tomas Kaberle: "He's playing very carefully right now." Translation: he doesn't want to get hit. 19.
Zach Parise was so impressed with Mike Cammalleri's shot that he asked the Canadiens' winger about his blade, which is unique among NHL players. Parise, however, switched back to his old one, because he couldn't control the backhand. Ironic then, that Carey Price stopped that kind of attempt on a penalty shot to save Montreal's win in New Jersey on Saturday.20.
Boy, did the Canadiens need that. They tied Columbus late in regulation on Tuesday, but lost in the shootout. They led Vancouver 3-0 on Thursday, but you could see the Canucks believed they were going to come back and win. Another blown lead might have sent them off the rails.
Kirk Muller has a lot of fans. The one question, though, is: What will his system be? "We know he'll get his team to work hard," one GM said. "We know he'll have a good rapport with players. But we're not sure how his teams will play."22.
Karl Alzner said earlier this year that Eric Staal was the unluckiest player in the NHL. "Every time I see him, he's hitting the post or getting stopped by a great save." While that may be true, his low numbers were affecting his play. A few coaches/GMs saw Staal cheating offensively because he so badly wanted to score. That would explain the bad plus/minus.
Got to think an AHL stint is coming for Magnus Paajarvi. I can see why the Oilers are waiting on this, because it's hard to send a first-round pick down to Oklahoma City and not have it framed as a major disappointment. But, there comes a point where it's better for him to play there and not risk being a healthy scratch every couple of weeks.24.
One assist in 13 games is only proving how important Ryan Whitney is to Edmonton. The team's probably praying Taylor Hall's shoulder doesn't have the same recovery issues as Whitney's ankle.
With the World Juniors in town, Calgary plays 11 of its next 13 on the road. For the Oilers, it's nine of 11. Huge part of the season. Comparisons: Buffalo went 5-4-1 last season (seven of 10 on the road); Ottawa 2-7-1 (nine of 10) during the 2009 World Juniors; Vancouver was 8-5-1 on a mammoth road trip necessitated by the 2010 Winter Olympics.26.
Nice story from After Hours
with Scott Oake and Craig Simpson: Jay Feaster's son, Bobby, was named Baseball Alberta Umpire of the Year and intends to pursue that as a career. Good luck.27.
Get the sense Nazem Kadri is being scouted hard. Could be Brian Burke's trade chip.28.
Claude Julien told NESN's Joe Haggerty that the Bruins were working hard to keep Joe Corvo's confidence up. In Ottawa, Bryan Murray basically banned Corvo from watching video because he used to beat himself up so badly.29.
Richard Bachman, who beat the Kings in his first NHL start last Satuday, is drawing several comparisons to Jhonas Enroth. That's not too bad for the Stars.30.
Was somewhat surprised to hear the Maple Leafs' new owners didn't raise the question of compensation should the NHL decide to put another team in the Toronto area. What did happen was the Teachers' Pension Fund asked for another $80 million if that second team arrived in the next few years, but Rogers/Bell rejected that. (That amount was added to the purchase price, instead.)
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