by PuckStopsHere on 12/03/11 at 02:13 AM ET
It is usually a good rule of thumb that a team shouldn’t fire their coach if that coach would become the top available coach for the next team to hire. The Washington Capitals fired Bruce Boudreau on Monday. On Thursday the Anaheim Ducks hired Boudreau as their new coach and fired Randy Carlyle.
Anaheim has been struggling this season. After a playoff berth last season, they are second last in the West Conference. Perhaps their drop in the standings was predictable by their league-worst even strength Corsi last year, but there are enough positives on the team to expect they would have stayed out of the draft lottery.
Randy Carlyle was the Ducks Stanley Cup winning coach in 2007, but he had never shown himself to be a great coach. He was never a serious coach of the year candidate and never able to repeat that playoff success. Thus Carlyle has been let go.
Boudreau is a player’s coach. He is very good a motivating his team. His problem in Washington was that he had lost the confidence of his team’s star players, most notably Alexander Ovechkin and Boudreau was a failure to transform himself into the role of disciplinarian. I think Washington made the right move in replacing him as coach. This is an example of the rule of thumb failing. Washington probably made the right move in firing a coach who would quickly become the top available coach for another team. The good news is that team is in the other conference and is not a direct rival to the Washington Capitals.
It isn’t obvious that Boudreau is much an improvement over Carlyle. Neither are top flight NHL coaches, but both are competent coaches who can win in the NHL. Anaheim will likely climb up a few positions in the standings, as they are underachieving right now, but I think they are more than likely not a playoff team.
I think the real problem in Anaheim is the general manager. Bob Murray has done little to show his ability. He took over from Brian Burke, who is a first rate GM. Anaheim has been on the road downhill ever since. Murray had to make a move to try to save his job. If he cannot do it better, he is likely to be the next person fired in Anaheim.
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