Randy Carlyle

MacArthur: Not many have a relationship with Leafs coach Carlyle


Clarke MacArthur is getting ready for his first regular season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs squad he left over the summer. The 28-year-old forward had 62 points in 2011-12, but he fell in the Leafs’ depth charts while working under coach Randy Carlyle.

Now that he’s a member of the Ottawa Senators, he doesn’t plan to talk with his former bench boss.

“I didn’t have a relationship (with him) and not many guys do,” MacArthur told Sportsnet. “It’s one of those things where he runs the show there and everyone knows that and that’s the way it is.

“It’s worked for him in the past, he’s got a (Stanley) Cup from that, but at the same time there’s other ways to do things, too.”

MacArthur explained that he felt Carlyle only talked to him when the coach had criticisms to offer and that got grating.

“You’re old enough to know (you) made a mistake,” MacArthur said. “You don’t need to hear it every five seconds.”

He’s not the only one that’s publicly vented about Carlyle. Mikhail Grabovski was far harsher in his assessment after the Maple Leafs bought him out.

Grabovski also saw his playing time drop under Carlyle and signed with the Washington Capitals over the summer. He’s gotten off to a hot start with them with three goals and five points in two games.

At the same time, not all of Carlyle’s former players feel as negatively towards him. MacArthur’s teammate Bobby Ryan felt like his was a scapegoat at times for Carlyle when he was coaching the Anaheim Ducks, but in retrospect Ryan has softened his view.

“He’s a tough coach,” Ryan said last month. “I do still really owe him quite a bit for becoming the player I am. That isn’t lost on me one bit.”

Here’s hoping 3-on-3 doesn’t degenerate into a boring ‘game of keep-away’

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Are coaches going to ruin 3-on-3 overtime?

It’s been the one, big worry since the NHL decided to change from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 as a way to reduce the number of shootouts.

Via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, here’s a quote from an anonymous coach (talking about 3-on-3 strategy) that won’t exactly quell that worry:

“Really, it’s a game of keep-away, that’s what it is and the longer you can keep it away from the other team, the more likely they’ll break down. So I say let’s slow it down and hold onto that puck for as long as we can.”

Now take that a step further and imagine there’s a team that’s really good at shootouts. If you were coaching that team, might you tell your players to rag the puck for as long as possible to try and get to the skills competition?

Granted, five minutes is a long time to rag the puck. Not sure any team could play “keep-away” that long. Plus, there will always be teams that aren’t very good at the shootout; theoretically, those teams should be more willing to take their chances in 3-on-3.

But just remember that more time and space doesn’t always lead to more goals. Look at international hockey, which is played on a bigger ice surface. Canada won gold in Sochi by beating Latvia, 2-1, the United States, 1-0, and Sweden, 3-0. It was hardly firewagon hockey.

While nobody’s quite ready to suggest that 3-on-3 will actually lead to more shootouts, it will be interesting to see how things evolve, and if there are any unintended consequences.

“I don’t know if anyone’s figured it out completely yet,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Saturday after losing in 3-on-3 overtime to Vancouver.

“The big thing is, you want to control the puck as much as you can. It’s 3-on-3, so there’s lots of room and space out there. You don’t need to give it away. I think it’s smart to just wait, take your time, and wait for a good opportunity.”

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.