ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray has been trying to give Randy Carlyle as much time as possible to turn things around. But a series of seven defeats and a free fall in last place in the Western Conference showed Murray that a turnaround was not coming soon.
Murray announced that he would assume acting coaching duties for the remainder of the regular season after firing Carlyle on Sunday. Anaheim will hire a new coach after the season.
"What happened here lately and how we played, it was time to change," Murray said on a conference call. "Some people thought I was waiting too long, but this team has a habit of starting and loading late. I realized that this would not happen a few days ago. "
After being eliminated last year, the Ducks are the sixth team to make a change this season, joining Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Edmonton and Philadelphia.
Carlyle, 62, the most successful coach in Ducks history, was on her second stint with Anaheim. He led the team at the Stanley Cup in 2007 and three appearances in the Western Conference Finals (2006, 2007, 2017).
Anaheim has made the playoffs six consecutive seasons but has won just two of his last 21 games. The Ducks were second in the Pacific Division on Dec. 18 after winning 11 of 13 victories, but have since gone 2-15-4.
Saturday's 6-2 loss to Philadelphia was crowned with a five-game road trip in which the Ducks were outclassed 29-7, including 14-0 in the first period.
After his 4-1 defeat in Montreal on Feb. 5, Murray said he was considering making a change. Murray was scouting in Europe, but he came back and fired Carlyle at a meeting Sunday morning at the Honda Center.
"It's obvious that Bob will have to implement his vision of what he's planning to do with our team," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, following Sunday's training. "We have had good practice, lots of discussions and lots of trying to understand exactly what is happening and what he wants to see from us."
In a 12-game losing streak last month, Murray issued a statement stating that he was not considering a coaching change but was focusing on alignment.
Murray improved his roster with some exchanges that led to two consecutive wins, but another set of defeats followed.
"It's a combination of everything, but what bothered me the most was the lack of emotion," said Murray. "We always pushed back. We never accept and accept and it is unacceptable. We must change that. "
Duck owners Henry and Susan Samueli e-mailed season ticket holders stating that they had supported Murray throughout the process.
Murray has been working at Anaheim since 2005 and has been the General Manager since 2008. He signed a two-year extension in December and is under contract during the 2021-22 season.
Murray has become the fifth person in the history of the NHL to play and serve 1,000 games as a GM, but that's the first time he's coaching. Murray said it was not fair to name someone else as an acting coach. He is also taking over the reins of training with two weeks remaining until the negotiations expire on February 25, which should leave some time to get a better indicator on the list.
"It's my job." We have problems here and need to be addressed, Murray said. "It's more problematic than I thought, and the only way it was right was to come here and to know everything. "
Anaheim's next three games are at home, starting Wednesday against Vancouver. Defender Cam Fowler said he hoped the change could shake the Ducks and allow them to run late.
"Sometimes all you need is a fresh start to get a good mojo," he said. "We felt like we were just stuck in neutral and as hard as we were trying to work to make things better, we just could not find a way to do it."
Dallas Eakins, who coaches the American League affiliate, the Ducks, in San Diego, would be one of the favorites for the vacant position for next season. Eakins is in his fourth season in San Diego. He has an NHL coaching background with less than two seasons in Edmonton.
The Ducks played in the playoffs of seven of Carlyle's eight full seasons on the team (46-37 in the playoffs). They were swept the first round last season.
Carlyle has already coached the Toronto Maple Leafs. He went 384-256-96 in 736 games with Anaheim. He is the only person in the history of the NHL with over 1,000 games played and 900 or more practices. His career behind the bench is 475-334-115.
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