Bobby Ryan is getting ready for his first taste of the Battle of Ontario as the Ottawa Senators prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Of course, Ryan isn’t the only former member of the Anaheim Ducks that’s involved in the clash, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle will also be in attendance.
It might seem appropriate that Ryan and Carlyle now find themselves on opposite sides of this heated rivalry as they didn’t always see eye-to-eye in Anaheim and that helped spur the trade rumors that hung over Ryan for years. However, Ryan thinks people were overestimating the problems between the two and while he wouldn’t term their relationship as great, he isn’t blind to what Carlyle did for him.
“He’s a tough coach,” Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. “I do still really owe him quite a bit for becoming the player I am. That isn’t lost on me one bit.”
In reflection, the 26-year-old forward thinks that in his youth, he didn’t always understand what Carlyle was trying to do for him and Ryan took things too personally. Now that he’s matured, he can appreciate that his former coach had the best of intentions.
“I can take things and separate them now whereas I couldn’t when I was younger,” Ryan said. “I just always felt like I was the scapegoat with him. Sometimes I needed more than I knew … That pressure, that push. I certainly regret a lot of what went on.”
Now Carlyle will have to face and try to counter the man he helped guide into the player he is today. Meanwhile, Ryan will try to push a promising young team towards greatness.