Ducks rehire Randy Carlyle as team's coach

ByScott Burnside ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Anaheim Ducks announced Tuesday that Randy Carlyle, the only coach to lead them to a Stanley Cup championship, will return as the team's coach next season.

Carlyle, 60, coached the Ducks from 2005-06 until early in the 2011-12 season, when he was fired and replaced by Bruce Boudreau.

Carlyle joined the Toronto Maple Leafs later that season and was coach there until midway through the 2014-15 season.

In his first full season with the Ducks, after the 2004-05 lockout, Carlyle led the team to the Western Conference Finals and then a year later guided them to their first and only Stanley Cup in June 2007.

"Everybody welcomed me back with open arms," Carlyle said, wearing a grateful smile on a frequently stony face. "This is a special place."

Carlyle replaces Boudreau, who was relieved of his duties earlier this spring when the Ducks were eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators.

"I know in my heart that this is the right move at this time for this hockey team,'' said GM Bob Murray, Carlyle's close friend. "We all know this group has got a little window here. Three years, maybe, whatever. And you had to get a guy in here that knew some of the players and knows that it's time, that knows how to win."

Carlyle played 1,055 games in the NHL, for Toronto, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg, and won the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman in 1980-81.

Considered a hard-nosed, old-school-style coach, he said he is grateful to be back at the helm.

"I don't think you could come into a better hockey club, on ice or off,'' Carlyle said, wearing a new orange tie. "It's hard to find teams of this quality, and I feel very fortunate that I'm the guy they trusted and are showing confidence in to coach this group.''

The Ducks' decision to rehire a coach is rare, but not without precedent: Michel Therrien is in his second stint behind Montreal's bench, and Carolina rehired Paul Maurice in December 2008, five years after firing him.

Boudreau went 208-104-40 in Anaheim while winning the last four Pacific Division titles and falling one game short of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He was still fired by Murray on April 29 after Nashville's surprising first-round elimination of the Ducks, who blew a 3-2 playoff series lead and lost a Game 7 on home ice for the fourth consecutive season.

Carlyle was known as a stern disciplinarian early in his Anaheim career, but Murray and Carlyle both said they believe he has changed.

"Randy is going to be different than he was before," Murray said, calling Carlyle a "much more mellow" after two firings.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.