It's a few days since Festivus, but the Ducks and the Ducks coaches have finally aired their grievances with one another.
The fact that both parties are still soul searching at the midpoint of the season (and the fact that that quest is evident in the on-ice product) probably won't sit well with most fans.
Sleek's not here to blame the coach, but the argument is certainly there. If the coach has any influence over the culture of his locker room-- and if he doesn't, he really has no business serving as their coach --then doing battle with the pronounced ennui backstage should be his primary concern. It either hasn't been to this point or he hasn't figured out how to fix it 39 games in (though you could certainly argue it's been a problem for a season and a half or more).
There's an argument emerging against the players, too, but I feel it gets knee-deep in conjecture. Is the top line's inconsistency the downfall of the entire team? Are we to believe that they tacitly approve of the complacency in the locker room, or that their failure to deliver for a team that depends on them will keep this team from the playoffs yet again?
It's nice to think that a player like Ryan Whitney got away from the bad influence of the Anaheim locker room in order to get back to his game. But that unnecessarily obscures the fact that Ryan Whitney wasn't being used properly by Murray or Carlyle, which Murray admitted.
So you wonder about the coaching decision to make the top line the heart of this team, and maybe the general managerial decision to trade and release pieces that were the heart of this team. Is this a team that could really use a Pahlsson, a Moen, a Beauchemin or a Pronger right now? Did the young leadership of this team perhaps need more time with the character players to see how it's done?
When it comes to building chemistry, developing talent to serve team goals and choosing the players that your squad will live and die with, that's really above the pay grade of the average NHL player. It's an exercise that should be left to the people who know better. Of all the soul searching going on right now, wondering if Anaheim currently has those people should be everyone's primary concern as a calendar year of painful Ducks hockey comes to a close.