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A Reflection: Randy Carlyle

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Winnipeg Jets Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

My name is Daniel Kleinberg, and I am an Anaheim Ducks fan. For the last two years and change I’ve hidden in the woodwork, afraid to talk to my hockey peers, because my favorite hockey team dumped more pucks into the offensive zone than every other team combined. Is that true? Who knows. It sure felt like it. The Randy Carlyle era was a throwback to Ducks’ history. Big, strong, tough hockey. Sometimes it won games and sometimes it did not. The pundits said that Anaheim was always scary to play against. Then one day the Ducks were not.

Randy, we had some good times. You put Holzer on the wing which was quite a thrill. The highlight of your second go around had to be getting us to a Conference Final. The comeback victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Cinco de Mayo was a night Ducks fans will never forget. You even won a Game 7 in the playoffs! We were so proud. I think I even shed a tear. That really might be it. I think I blacked out the rest of time.

Watching Ducks games went from a constant thrill to a snooze fest. Personally, I felt like it was tough to watch a majority of the games. In years past I watched almost all the games. When I lived in the Central Time Zone I would even stay up until midnight to finish a shootout. Fans used to be able to see players with personality out on the ice. No one was afraid to make a lofty move at the blue line or throw up the meatiest of sauce. At the end of the day this is all entertainment. That was all gone. Day in and day out it was more of the same but expecting different results. Dump and change.

Flash forward to 2018.

Randy, you said you would change. I really believed you, too. And then one day I saw you put out a system where two forwards were in front of the net and three players umbrella-ed the blue line. Was this a power play? Nope, this was 5 on 5. Bold strategy for sure. Surprisingly it did not work out like you had hoped. You preached pace and high danger shots, but all the fans saw were misguided quotes about effort and face-offs. Something had to change and unfortunately it was your time to go.

Now there is hope at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure there are more people like me that see the chance of watching fun hockey again. Will we see players show their skill and creativity? Will we see a faster pace of play that relies less on grit and truculence? Will John Gibson get the credit that he deserves? Preach—we hear you all the way from the back. Currently it probably won’t because Bob Murray is now judge, jury, and executioner, but hey now at least the potential. Aren’t I optimistic? Cheers to the possibility of offense. Just please do not trade a player because he’ll score too much in the future.