Sharks Gameday: The One Where We (Poorly) Tie Tonight's Opponent Into Current Events



7:30 PST
10-11-4, 24 points 13-7-1, 27 points
12th in Eastern Conference 9th in Western Conference
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Hockey Inside/Out

Last night in Anaheim the Montreal Canadiens did a strange thing.

As Bobby Ryan trade rumors occupied the internet over the last forty eight hours, drum circles a blazing and calls from the Anaheim populace for a change in leadership spilling into the streets, the Canadiens entered Honda Center with an opportunity to do what...well, what many teams had done before-- defeat the Anaheim Ducks for the twelfth time this month, bringing their record to 1-9-3 in November, and potentially put into motion a domino of transactions that would change the core of the Ducks organization.

As it turns out the Canadiens ended up losing the game 4-1, giving the Ducks their second win in November. But that didn't stop Ducks General Manager Bob Murray from firing Randy Carlyle forty minutes following the game, replacing him with Bruce Boudreau who was fired on Monday by the Washington Capitals.

Surely it isn't the first time a Head Coach has been relieved of his duties following a win, and considering Anaheim's record during the last 30 days, it probably was only a matter of time. Carlyle is an excellent head coach who should find work at some point in the near future (although probably not as quickly as his successor), but the Ducks play this season made it all but a neccesitty to change things at the helm. Furthermore, the addition of Boudreau made sense on multiple levels-- he has experience leading a disappointing team to the playoffs in his first year behind the bench (remember Washington's run in 07-08?), his ability to get the most out of his offensive stars should suit him well with players like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan at his disposal, and his record as Head Coach in Washington is indisputably excellent.

Anaheim still needs more work however-- their blueline is a mess without Lubomir Visnovsky and barely treading water with him in the lineup, their secondary scoring is nonexistent for the umpteenth season, and the usually dominant Jonas Hiller has posted an ugly .899 SV% this year. If Boudreau can be considered a step in the right direction (and he should be), the fact is that a marathon still remains for Anaheim if they expect to make the playoffs this year or at the very least be competitive.

As former Apple CEO Gil Amelio once said, "Apple is like a ship and that ship is loaded with treasure, but there's a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction." When you've been Head Coach for a team for six plus years, which is truly a long-time in this League, sometimes you're trying to get your players to row in the same direction instead of fixing the actual problem-- the hole in the ship. That seemed to be the case behind the bench in Anaheim, even if Carlyle's top-heavy forward group, paltry blueline, and surprisingly poor goaltending weren't giving him a whole lot of tools to work with.

Long story short? Carlyle wasn't solely to blame for the Ducks struggles this season. He is a man that knows what he is doing, has gotten his team to play better than the sum of its parts in years past, and will be receiving all types of phone calls when another League GM buys a ticket to the NHL's couching carousel. But he wasn't part of the solution either, and as his team's record this season indicates, it was time to make a change.

Prediction: Oh right, San Jose takes on Montreal tonight. I knew there was a connection in here somewhere. Sharks win 4-1. Goals by McGinn, Pavelski, Burns, and Havlat.