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Thursday, December 1, 2011
Daily Debate: Does coaching change keep Bobby Ryan in Anaheim?

By Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun


Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun debate how the Ducks' coaching change will affect Bobby Ryan's future in Anaheim:

Burnside: Good day, my friend. You had a late story Wednesday night with the late-breaking news that the Anaheim Ducks had put coach Randy Carlyle out of his misery and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau. Surprised? I guess I'm not; from the moment we learned Boudreau had been fired in Washington early Monday, I wondered how long he’d be out of work long given his successes at revitalizing a down-and-out Washington team.

I spoke to Boudreau on Tuesday and asked him how he would respond if he got a call right away. (Some coaches need to decompress a bit, but not Boudreau, who is manic about work.) “I would probably want to do it right away,” he said. Guess he got his wish, as he'll be headed west to try to pull off Miracle Part Deux.

The Caps were in last place when he took in November 2007 and led them to the top of the Southeast Division and a playoff berth. The Ducks are way better than their record suggests, but it's a pretty big hill to climb. What say you?

LeBrun: We weren’t kidding on Monday during our Faceoff video when we suggested Carlyle could be next after the firings of Boudreau and Carolina’s Paul Maurice. The sense I was getting out of Anaheim suggested the Ducks were thinking long and hard about a coaching change, which was a big departure from how they felt just 10 days ago. But the two weekend losses to Chicago and Toronto were a tipping point, and the players looked like they had no interest in playing for Carlyle on Sunday especially.

Despite the fact Carlyle that had two more years on his contract past this season and the Ducks are a frugal operation, GM Bob Murray delivered the news to him about 40 minutes after the game last night. Then Murray met with the team leaders. The hope, of course, is Carlyle quickly finds NHL work and his contract is then off-set. Carlyle won’t be unemployed for too long; he’s a great coach. But every coach has his time expire after too many years in the same place. The message gets stale. It was time for a fresh one in Anaheim, and the energetic Boudreau will certainly bring that.

Burnside: Well, I was ranting about this yesterday in our podcast, but I'm pleased the organization gave Murray leave to make the change as opposed to simply looking at the bottom line. Good for the Ducks and, ultimately, for Randy Carlyle.

So how long before the Carlyle-to-Toronto rumors surface? The Leafs hung with red-hot Boston for a couple of periods, but were ultimately outclassed in a 6-3 loss. The Leafs are another team that can't afford to let a good start go to waste. I’m not suggesting that Toronto coach Ron Wilson is in trouble, but with Carlyle’s strong connections to GM Brian Burke, who hired him en route to a 2007 Cup win in Anaheim, it won't take much to get the rumor tongues wagging.

LeBrun: There’s no question Burke is a big fan of Carlyle, but he did send out a tweet this morning in a likely attempt to stop those rumor tongues: “Sad to hear about Randy Carlyle. But our coach isn't going anywhere!”

It’s going to be an interesting dynamic now here in Toronto. Wilson's deal expires at the end of this season. Furthermore, the Leafs view AHL coach Dallas Eakins as a possible future head coach for them, as well, so there’s a lot to chew on for Burke, et al, in the coming months.

As for the Ducks, I think this move buys them more time to make sure they make the right kind of deal if they want to trade Bobby Ryan. I know teams were calling again yesterday; there’s no shortage of interest. But my sense is the Ducks were going to be extremely patient on that front and only make a deal they believe is a home run. The asking price is very high, as it should be for a 24-year-old power winger.

Burnside: I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens personnel-wise now that Boudreau is behind the bench. Ryan picked up an assist in Wednesday’s win over Montreal and was moved away from his usual linemates, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. When it came to mixing and matching lines, Boudreau always had a lot of options when he was in Washington with the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin (when he was tuned in), Nicklas Backstrom, etc.

In Anaheim, does he go back to the Big Three and hope they'll turn a corner with a new voice in their ear, or does he try to find some balance on a team that ranks 29th in goals per game? I'm with you, though, I'll be surprised if Ryan is moved, at least in the short term, given the coaching change, unless a team is prepared to overpay in draft picks and prospects. Doesn't make sense to make a trade that tells the players this season is toast. Will we be talking about Ryan being on the move a month from now? Perhaps, but I doubt if it happens now.

LeBrun: Let me be clear, I’m not saying I don’t think Ryan will move, I think there’s still a real chance of that. I’m just saying the coaching change allows Murray to breathe and focus on the offers he’s getting instead of feeling rushed into that kind of move. But I think if he gets the kind of offer he wants, he could still move Ryan. OK, my friend, enjoy your game tonight in Washington, where the rival Penguins visit. Let’s see if we can go through a whole day without another coach being fired. Three coaches gone in three days and one of them already re-hired. What a week!