Ducks hire Bruce Boudreau as coach

Updated: December 1, 2011, 4:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Anaheim Ducks have fired coach Randy Carlyle and hired former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau.

Boudreau, who won 200 games faster than any coach in modern NHL history, was fired by Washington on Monday and replaced by former team captain Dale Hunter.

Carlyle has been the Ducks' only coach since the lockout and delivered the franchise's only Stanley Cup title in 2007. He agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season in August.

General manager Bob Murray delivered the news to Carlyle roughly 40 minutes after Wednesday's 4-1 win over Montreal that snapped a seven-game slide, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun. Murray then met with team leaders to inform them, the source said.

"This was an extremely difficult decision," Murray said in a statement. "Randy is a terrific head coach, and did a tremendous job for us for six-plus seasons.

"At this time, we simply felt a new voice was needed. Bruce is a proven winner with a great track record, and we are optimistic we can turn this season around under his leadership."

Boudreau will run the Ducks' practice on Thursday before his formal introduction. Anaheim hosts Philadelphia on Friday night.

Carlyle clearly didn't know he was about to be fired when he addressed the media after Wednesday's game, expressing relief his club had turned a corner.

"We did a lot of things to a higher level than we have in the past few games we've played," Carlyle said. "That is what it takes to win. We can't overemphasize, our captain stepped up big-time, Corey Perry stepped up big-time, our penalty killers stepped up and our goaltender stepped up. Our effort from our group was closer to the 60-minute mark than we've been in a while. They went out and earned it."

Carlyle is the fourth NHL coach to be fired this season, and the third this week. Paul Maurice was dismissed Monday by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Davis Payne was let go by the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 6.

Boudreau led the Capitals to four consecutive division titles but couldn't find sustained success in the playoffs, failing to advance beyond the second round. His attempt to instill more accountability this season backfired -- Washington was not only losing, the losses were becoming humiliating. Change was all but inevitable.

Ducks At this time, we simply felt a new voice was needed. Bruce is a proven winner with a great track record, and we are optimistic we can turn this season around under his leadership.

-- Ducks GM Bob Murray
on hiring Bruce Boudreau as new coach

"Gee, every time we lost two in a row for the last year, people were saying it was going to be coming," Boudreau told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday. "You never think it was going to be coming, but we lost some games in the recent weeks by scores that we were not accustomed to. That hadn't happened to us ever before, so I didn't know where we were at or what was going to happen, but it wasn't fun."

Boudreau's approach failed to reinvigorate team captain Alex Ovechkin, who was coming off a career-worst season and was off to a slow start this fall. The two-time league MVP was benched in the crucial final shifts of regulation in a game against the Ducks on Nov. 1, although both coach and player quickly downplayed any kind of rift.

The Ducks, who are 7-13-4 and tied for the second-fewest points in the league with 18, will be in for a major change in styles from the sometimes-crusty Carlyle to the personable Boudreau, nicknamed "Gabby" for his garrulous style.

The change will be even more dramatic since Carlyle, the winningest coach in Ducks history, has been behind Anaheim's bench for many of the 1993 expansion franchise's biggest moments. He has coached the Ducks since August 2005, taking over for Mike Babcock and compiling a 273-182-6 record as the seventh head coach in club history.

[+] EnlargeBruce Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesBruce Boudreau, left, wasn't out of work for long after being fired by the Capitals on Monday.

Carlyle led Anaheim to the postseason in five of his first six seasons, winning more playoff games during that stretch than any coach except Babcock in Detroit. But Anaheim won just one playoff round in the past four seasons since winning the Cup, losing to fifth-seeded Nashville in the first round last season.

On Sunday night, after Anaheim fell 5-2 to Toronto and lost for the 13th time in their last 14 games, Carlyle said the team's issues stemmed from the neck up.

"We just seem to be dead between the ears," he told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Sunday. "We're not thinking, we're not reading and then it seems we pile on extra work for ourselves from our lack of execution."

Anaheim also fired assistant coaches Dave Farrish and Mike Foligno and video coordinator Joe Trotta on Wednesday. The Ducks hired Brad Lauer as an assistant coach to Boudreau, and will add another assistant soon.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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