Randy Carlyle’s Big Challenge

Posted: 02/16/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

The Anaheim Ducks have climbed from out of the playoffs into a dogfight for the Pacific Division title. The Ducks currently hold  the fifth playoff but could drop to sixth if Nashville beats San Jose.

That’s pretty heady stuff considering the Ducks stumbled into the Christmas going 1-4 before Santa’s visit. Given the guys have gone 14-4 since suggests Santa left each Ducks coach and player a can of wakeup.

This isn’t something Ducks fans haven’t seen before. Our Ducks won six straight to start the month of November. During those heady days there was much talk about the Ducks identity. Randy Carlyle said the identity was a strong forechecking team. You could hear the collective “Huh?” reverberate throughout Orange County south to San Diego and east through the Inland Empire.

Our Ducks just as quickly and inexplicably collapsed and lost sixth straight. For the next six weeks our Ducks grumbled about things they couldn’t control. The schedule. The injuries and those always great punching bags, the Refs.

Unlike last season the team appears to have come together. These Ducks are finding ways to win hockey games. One night it’s the goaltending stealing two points. The next it’s the PP or the top line or the Masterton Line or the secondary scoring.

Right now when everything is clicking the coach is almost irrelevant. He can dress 7 D-man and the team doesn’t lose a beat. He can lose his  best player and then his No. 1 goalie and his team still wins. Life is good when everything clicking.

A coaches biggest challenge when everything is going well is to do less. This is particularly tough for the curmudgeon Randy Carlyle. RC has to inject himself into the process. He’s the matchup coach. He’s the coach who admits that, “We do things differently here.” Randy Carlyle is not a guy who can do less. Even when less is more.

You’ll recognize the symptoms. You’ve seen and heard them all before. RC will get his team focused on executing the dump, chase, churn send it back to the point and attack the net. Carlyle will talk about the need to make safe plays and just like the six game winning streak turned into a six game losing streak, the wheels come off.

Why? Simple. When you reduce the options you become predictable. At that moment you’re easy to defend against.

Randy Carlyle’s big challenge right now is to trust his players. Sometimes less coaching is great coaching. This is one of those times.

  1. czhokej says:

    I repeat myself – good interesting look at our coach. Right now, I enjoy the changes which improved our game. But you are right bc, he may try some other things to show he is in control.

  2. czhokej says:

    And he did against the Caps. It was a wild game, too many giveaways, disorganized defense. Entertaining, but I prefer winning.

  3. bbdux93 says:

    Reminds me of your story about M. Messier (sp?) telling the coach to let them play because they had won a Cup and he hadn’t. Wish we could say we have a coach who could step aside and leave more responsibility for the outcome to the players.
    Wish in one hand – spit in the other & see which one fills up the fastest!

    • BackCheck says:

      lol bbbdux93. Actually it was Mike Keenan’s story. I just repeated it. Guess that post was a good niggling because it stuck with you 😉

      Working on a followup to this post. should have it up later today or this evening.The ugly loss to the Caps presented the exact situation. Here’s the tease, does RC follow his own advice and move on or does he react? We’ll get part of the answer tonight against the Wild.

  4. bbdux93 says:

    BC I may (well there’s a DOH) be lacking in a lot of areas – generally speaking – memory isn’t one of them. I study your educational posts, some sink in immediately, some take more time, some are still waiting to be understood. Your game stories posts usually stick because they usually make me laugh. All are appreciated

    • BackCheck says:

      Do you remember when we first started, I told you I liked your eye for the game? You get it and when you don’t you figure it out or find out. bb, I still think of myself as a student of the game. I’m still earning. The minute you think you’ve got it somebody will humble you quick.

      On the best teams and the best websites the players check their egos at the door.

      I stopped posting on the OCR Ducks Blog because I and not hockey had become the issue. That stuff will never happen here. The OCR is a business and has to operate under different rules. I respect that.

      Backcheck’s Blog isn’t a business. It doesn’t have customers. It has viewers. BackCheck’s Blog is a place for hockey fans to share their experience, knowledge and love of the game. If somebody has another reason to be here, they have an agenda.

      I do read the OCR Ducks Blog, often more than once a day. Mark Whicker, Eric Stephens and Curtis Zupke are great reporters. More than that, Mark Whicker is a great writer. I don’t read the comments anymore unless I see on the sidebar somebody I respect has posted.

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