Carlyle uses variety of tactics to motivate Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Coach Randy Carlyle likes to draw on his experiences as a former NHL player to motivate the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

After a regular-season loss at Boston, he had them practice outdoors on the canals in Ottawa. They beat the Senators the next night.

Before a game in Vancouver, the team took a two-hour bike ride around the city instead of practicing. Anaheim defeated the Canucks a night later.

The day before the Ducks' decisive first-round Game 7 in Calgary, he organized a pool tournament. Again, the break from the ordinary resulted in a win.

"I just welcomed it as a player," Carlyle said Friday. "You get into the grind and it gets monotonous. The change to a completely different venue with a team-building concept is always positive. I've never seen a team that comes out of it that hasn't had some sort of refreshed start. They may not win every game that they play right away, but there's a refreshing aspect to it."

It's unlikely Carlyle will have the Ducks doing anything too out of the ordinary during the team's break before the Western Conference finals.

"We're only halfway to what it takes to get the job done," he said.

After skating in a playoff game every other day since April 21, the Ducks rested Friday, a day after completing a four-game sweep of Colorado in the conference semifinals.

They await the winner of the San Jose-Edmonton series, which could end as early as Sunday.

"We've had pretty hectic schedule since we started and this is our first real chance to kick back and recharge the batteries," Carlyle said.

He has found playoff success in his first year behind the Anaheim bench.

Throughout the playoffs, Carlyle -- who played 16 seasons in the NHL and won the Norris Trophy in 1981 as the league's best defenseman -- has made adjustments to keep Anaheim competitive.

He boldly replaced goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2003 playoffs, with rookie Ilya Bryzgalov before Game 6 of the Calgary series and reworked his defensive lines to shutdown Flames leading scorer Jarome Iginla.

A pregame talk with rookie forward Dustin Penner before Game 2 against Colorado triggered a six-point effort by Penner over the final three games of the series.