Randy Carlyle is refreshed and ready for his next NHL opportunity behind the bench.
The veteran head coach was fired last January by the Toronto Maple Leafs and still awaits his next gig. Ron Wilson, his Leafs predecessor, hasn't gotten an NHL sniff since being fired by Toronto in March 2012. The Leafs job has a way of beating down some guys.
So does Carlyle worry that the Toronto experience hurt his chances of getting another NHL job?
"But who does the beating?" Carlyle said over the phone with a half-chuckle. "It’s all-in when you’re in Toronto. It can be a deathbed for some people, but I don’t look at it like that at all. I look at it as a learning experience. I worked for some great people. Was it fun? No, it wasn’t fun when you don’t win enough. But you do the things you do because you believe that’s how things needed to be done with that group. Now, if you have a different mandate, you can do different things, you can change."
Carlyle, a Stanley Cup champion with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, believes he has learned from the Toronto experience and it will serve him well the next go-round.
While Carlyle would not comment, it’s believed he went fairly far down the interview road with the San Jose Sharks before the head coaching job went to Peter DeBoer last summer.
In the meantime, while living in the San Diego area, Carlyle has stayed in touch with the NHL game, watching as many as he can on the tube while also taking in a few in person.
"I’ve been to a few Ducks games in Anaheim," Carlyle said. "Although I stayed away when it was a little ugly for a while, I didn’t think it was right to go in that building when things weren’t going well and your name is floating around. So I stayed away for a bit."
Carlyle is being paid for the last year of a contract he signed in Toronto, which in part is why he’s hesitant to fully go over his thoughts on his experience there.
"I don’t want to say anything about the Toronto situation -- it’s past, there will be a time and a place," Carlyle said. "Obviously I have opinions that are different from what’s going on. It’s a frustrating situation when you’re in one that you know at the end of the day it’s not going to work.
"But it’s hard for me to comment on the Toronto situation. I’m still getting paid by them -- I don’t want to come across as sour grapes. It’s just that there are things that you would do differently, you change the way you approach the next situation, for sure you would."