I think we can all agree that the new third jerseys are haunted.
Magics messaged me on G-chat last night to say that the Syracuse Crunch were equally disappointing. After a slew of roster moves that would hopefully benefit the AHL club-- and all of those moves save for Chaput being inserted into the lineup --the Crunch were apparently as inept as ever, a condition that could be terminal if the Ducks decide they've done all they can to help the farm. There probably won't be the big trade that the team needs, not until Bob Murray makes his annual trade deadline move on a virtually (and this time, probably absolutely) lost Ducks season.
I don't know if the Ducks are at that level of desperation yet. I don't know if they're ready to call their season, committed to the certainty that this group will not get it done this year. We are, of course, waiting on Lupul, whose Syracuse conditioning assignment may allow him to jump back into the Anaheim roster ready to play top 6 minutes. But beyond that, the other options-- or at least the other options this particular coaching and management group are willing to consider --have been explored. Anaheim has tried its prospects on for size, made small moves to acquire spare parts defensemen, and the coaching staff has done everything the coaching staff knows how to do i.e. shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Honestly, while I'm not ready to give up on every Ducks player just yet, I'm ready to give up on Murray and Carlyle. I'm ready to say that that group is not going to get it done this year. That's not to say that that position is reasoned or dispassionate. The nature of sports makes it hard to give up on athletes, who might astound you at any moment in the middle of a terrible game, and so much easier to give up on coaching and management, who are so much less the face of the team you're paying to watch.
So, it's not to say that Carlyle won't score enough goals and Murray won't make enough saves, so it's all their fault. But I know that neither of those men will try something new. Right now, Murray is the General Manager equivalent of an overly defensive boxer. He's unwilling to take one to give two, so he spends the first six rounds of the season looking for an opening. Around the Round 9 trade deadline, he decides he has to mount an offense to win. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won't, but it's a terrible strategy. Carlyle, meanwhile, is the coaching equivalent of a one-hit wonder, desperately committed to the chord shapes and verse-chorus-verse that earned him respect, and slowly losing it by showing his inability to adapt.
There are plenty of Ducks whose approach to hockey is probably just as static. But as athletes, I can't help but feel that they could go somewhere else, some other team, some change of pace and scenery, and find success. I'm starting to wonder if that's possible for Murray and Carlyle, or if it ever was.