What’s old is new again in Anaheim.
On Tuesday, the Ducks announced that Randy Carlyle would be back as head coach, confirming earlier reports that the 60-year-old would be return for a second stint with the club.
“A proven winner and motivator, Randy has expertly managed the bench throughout his coaching career,” Ducks GM Bob Murray said in a release. “Our expectations are extremely high, and I believe Randy is the coach who can lead us to playoff success and our ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup.”
Carlyle, the winningest coach in franchise history, led the Ducks to their first and only championship in 2007, but was dismissed four years later after the Ducks started the 2011-12 campaign with a 7-13-4 record.
He went on to coach in Toronto, only to be dismissed midway through the ’14-15 season.
Now, he’s back in the mix.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Anaheim and rejoin the organization that gave me my first opportunity as an NHL head coach,” Carlyle said in the same release. “I’ve followed this team closely for the last couple of years and am familiar with the core group. I believe this team can win immediately and I can’t wait to get started.”
The Carlyle hire comes six weeks after Murray dismissed Bruce Boudreau — the guy hired to replace Carlyle six years ago. Boudreau’s dismissal came after Anaheim’s opening-round playoff exit to Nashville, the last in a long string of postseason disappointments.
The Ducks did look at some other candidates, including Mike Yeo (since hired by the Blues), Rick Bowness (since re-upped with Tampa Bay) and Travis Green (still with AHL Utica). But Carlyle always remained a constant, and it’s believed some of the club’s veteran players wanted him back in the fold.
Ryan Kesler, who played for Carlyle back in AHL Manitoba, said he was a big fan of Carlyle’s coaching style.
“I remember that he probably played me 30 minutes a night,” Kesler said of his time under Carlyle, per the Province. “He was a very good bench coach and very detailed. We worked on faceoff plays every practice and on the power play every practice — things that you really need to work on everyday.”
The decision to bring back Carlyle has been met with some criticisms, however. Some consider it a rather uninspired hire, and there are those with less-than-fond memories of his first tenure in Anaheim — like former NHL defenseman Ryan Whitney, who played for two years under Carlyle.