ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Randy Carlyle stood outside the Anaheim Ducks' locker room Wednesday night at Honda Center, oblivious that he was about to be fired from a job he had held for a little more than six seasons.
He had just coached the Ducks to a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens, only their second victory in the past 15 games and third since Oct. 17.
He was already thinking ahead to Friday night’s game against visiting Philadelphia.
“My mandate is, now what do we do for the next one?” he said. “Because the next one is coming in a hurry, and that’s the most important one to me.”
He then walked down the hall toward his office, unaware that general manager Bob Murray was waiting outside the door.
Carlyle had guided the Ducks to the Stanley Cup title just four seasons ago but seemed to have lost his message with the team, which spiraled after a 4-1 start.
The Ducks have the Hart trophy winner from last season in Corey Perry, an All-Star goalie in Jonas Hiller, one of the top young centers in the league in Ryan Getzlaf and one of the most promising young defensemen in Cam Fowler, yet they went into Wednesday’s game with the second-worst record in the Western Conference.
There was much speculation before the game against Montreal that winger Bobby Ryan would be traded to shake up the team. Turns out Murray was devising another plan, reaching out to replace Carlyle with Bruce Boudreau, who was fired earlier in the week as coach of the Washington Capitals.
“The amount of things that have been going on outside the game has been a huge distraction,” Carlyle said during his postgame news conference. “Tonight, [the players] were rewarded and they deserved everything that they got.”
Unfortunately, Carlyle might have as well.