This is not the news you want to hear when your team has a head coaching vacancy:
SJ has permission to interview Randy Carlyle for coaching job— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 24, 2015
Especially this offseason, there is no shortage of qualified candidates to replace Todd McLellan as the Sharks' next head coach. Which makes it all the more inexplicable that Doug Wilson and the rest of the management team would even consider Randy Carlyle, fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this season after years of incompetence. Yes, Carlyle has won a Stanley Cup. A potato could have won the Cup coaching a team for which either Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger was on the ice at any given time.
Following the Cup win, the Ducks were one of the worst puck possession teams in the league through the end of Carlyle's tenure in Anaheim, despite a roster not too dissimilar from the one Bruce Boudreau subsequently guided to three straight division titles. That trend continued in even worse fashion when Carlyle was hired by the Leafs, with every single key member of the team experiencing a massive drop-off in underlying numbers with Carlyle behind the bench compared to his predecessor Ron Wilson.
Carlyle perpetually saddled the team's best player in Phil Kessel with Tyler Bozak, one of the league's worst defensive centers, in the face of superior options like Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri. He underutilized and misused the talented Grabovski to such an extent that the team used a compliance buyout on the top-six forward in order to sign David Clarkson, purportedly more of a "Carlyle player," to one of the most disastrous contracts in league history. In his one playoff appearance with the Leafs, Carlyle scratched excellent two-way winger Clarke MacArthur for goon Colton Orr and used both Orr and fellow goon Frazer McLaren, picked up by the Leafs on waivers from the Sharks, in the lineup at the same time. He also scratched talented young defenseman Jake Gardiner for now-out-of-the-league Ryan O'Byrne during that playoff run and did so numerous times in favor of other, equally poor options during the 2013 regular season.
Under Carlyle, the Leafs literally set records for defensive futility. He routinely coached his defensemen to passively cede the blueline at even-strength, was clueless on how to execute an effective breakout with control of the puck and employed a comical positioning scheme in the defensive zone. For a GM who publicly stated just four days ago that he's looking to build a puck possession team, Wilson even giving Carlyle an interview for the head coaching job just doesn't make sense.
If there's a silver lining here, it's that Wilson interviewed over 20 candidates for the head coaching position before settling on McLellan back in 2008. It's possible this is simply an informational meeting to pick the brain of an experienced NHL coach. Of course, if that's the case, it's worth nothing this is a man who believes concussions are caused by players wearing their helmets too tightly. If this is more than that, if they actually go through with it and hire Carlyle, the Sharks will be...wait for it...this is gonna be good, trust me...just a little longer delay for comedic effect...toast. They'll be toast. Because of the Carlyle thing with the toast.