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Carlyle’s seat gets hotter as Ducks implode, lose 10th in a row

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There is nothing to suggest that it will happen right now, or even at any point this season for the Anaheim Ducks, but this is definitely the type of game and the type of situation that could get a coach fired.

At the very least, it is the type of situation that could result in some kind of a significant change somewhere in the organization, whether it be on the ice or behind the bench.

The situation is a now 10-game losing streak that was extended on Friday night with a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that featured an absolutely unbelievable meltdown over the final two periods.

That is also probably understating just how bad it was, and it resulted in coach Randy Carlyle getting asked if he is worried about his job security. According to Mike Coppinger of the Los Angeles Times, Caryle responded by calling it a “dumb question” and abruptly ending his press conference.

That is where things sit for the Ducks right now.

After 20 minutes on Friday everything seemed to be going Anaheim’s way as the Ducks took advantage of a couple of fortunate bounces and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. They looked to be in control of the game, starting goalie John Gibson was making incredible saves in net, and it finally looked like the losing streak was going to end.

That turned out to be the highpoint of the night as things completely unraveled after that with the Penguins scoring seven goals the rest of the way.

It was not just that the Ducks were outscored by a 7-1 margin over the final two periods that made it bad. It was the fact they were completely and totally dominated in every phase of the game. It was like the two teams were playing entirely different sports, and the Ducks’ version was barely of an NHL quality.

That is the problem for the Ducks, and has been the problem for them all season.

Their overall record has been solid enough to keep them in the playoff race.

The results have been adequate.

The process behind the results has not been close to good enough, and there is no evidence to suggest that the Ducks have played as well as even their mediocre record might indicate or that things are going to get drastically better. The entire thing is driven by goaltending, and unless Gibson or Ryan Miller stand on their head they have almost zero chance to win on any given night.

You can cite injuries.

You can point to the fact the core is getting older and may not be as good as it once was. All of that is true.

What is also true is that the way this Ducks team has played is the same way just about every Randy Carlyle coached team has played over the past decade. They get dominated territorially, spend way too much time defending in their own zone, and will only go as far as their goaltending can take them.

This season the Ducks are the fourth-worst team in the league when it comes to 5-on-5 shot attempt differential. The only team in the league that gives up more total shot attempts and shots on goal is the Ottawa Senators, a rebuilding team that is going into tank-mode and is in the process of stripping its roster down to the bare bones.

It’s a testament to just how bad this team has been when you consider they have sixth-best team save percentage in the NHL and have only won 19 out of their first 45 games.

When you are that dependent on goaltending eventually the luck runs out. The Ducks seem to be at that point this season.

Now they have to head out on a five-game road trip that opens up on Sunday in Winnipeg against one of the NHL’s best teams. Things are looking bleak right now and there does not seem to be much optimism on the horizon.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Ref pushing Blues’ Barbashev gives us some comic relief

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In these trying times, sometimes you just need to see a zany mishap where a hockey player loses a skate blade, and hilarity ensues.

OK, that might be highly specific, but such bits of bad luck usually do provide some real comedy. Even by those standards, this was some good stuff, as Blues forward Ivan Barbashev got a boost from an on-ice official, and it was quite a boost down the ice.

You can watch that moment in the video above this post’s headline, and likely have a nice chuckle.

The Blues ended up beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday, so Barbashev & Co. can share a bigger laugh after the game.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Bruins’ Rask helped off ice after huge collision

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Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask needed help off of the ice – and took quite a while to leave the ice – after a frightening collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil.

Moments after this post went up on Saturday, the Bruins provided an unsettling – if, sadly, not surprising – update that Rask suffered a concussion and will not return to the game.

You can see the collision (and get an idea of how long it took Rask to leave the ice) in the video above this post’s headline.

This is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break, and they won’t play again until they host the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on Jan. 29, so at least there isn’t much pressure for Rask to rush back to action too soon.

Rask began the game tied with Tiny Thompson at 252 wins, the most in Bruins’ franchise history.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Erik Karlsson misses Sharks game on Saturday

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Considering how much Erik Karlsson has been heating up along with the San Jose Sharks lately, it would have been fun to see him skate against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that once tried to acquire him.

That’s not happening on Saturday, as Karlsson was a late scratch for the game.

The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that Karlsson was “limping noticeably” and favoring his left side following the Sharks’ 6-3 loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday. Kurz also reports that Karlsson hasn’t participated in practice or pregame skates for about a week.

Paul Gackle of the Mercury News points out that Karlsson was held out for most of the third period of Tuesday’s 5-2 win against the Penguins for “precautionary reasons,” yet Sharks coach Peter DeBoer indicated that the 28-year-old was expected to play on Saturday. Instead, Karlsson must have determined that he wasn’t good to go after skating a bit during warm-ups.

Saturday’s game against the Lightning marks the second of a four-game road trip. The Sharks are set to play against the Panthers in Florida on Monday (Jan. 21) and the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday (Jan. 22), then they’ll be off for the All-Star break.

Karlsson was one of the Sharks’ three selections to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, but we’ll see if what seems like a lower-body injury ends up sidelining him from the event. Either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Swede miss at least one of the Sharks’ remaining two games before the break, considering that it’s a back-to-back set.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also out with an injury, so the Sharks are limping – can Sharks limp? – a bit into that run of off time.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Hurricanes’ Brind’Amour latest coach to put his team on blast

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Sure, you can have a high-up team executive call you out and compare you to horse excrement.

That’s one thing.

But when your coach, who is nearly a decade removed from playing his last NHL game, contemplates dressing because his team is that bad, that’s another.

And then to top it all off, that coach then apologies to a newly-acquired player on behalf of the team that he coaches.

That stings.

We’ve seen a couple of outbursts this year that haven’t been seen in some time — if ever.

Carolina Hurricanes legend Rod Brind’Amour is the latest to eviscerate his team publicly in what seems to be the in-fashion way to get the message across these days.

Who can forget Jim Lites’ tirade in Dallas?

Or Bruce Boudreau’s rant?

Or David Quinn putting his team on blast earlier this week?

Now you can add Brind’Amour to the list.

“We were so bad, I almost dressed and got out there,” Brind’Amour said after the Hurricanes fell 4-1 to the Ottawa Senators on Friday. “I might have been as good as what we were throwing out there. We just didn’t want to play the way we were supposed to. I didn’t know what I was watching. That’s the first time all year I can say that.”

If that wasn’t the kill shot, Brind’Amour then feeling the need to apologize to Nino Niederreiter certainly was.

The latter was picked up in a trade earlier this week for Victor Rask. In his first game, his new teammates crapped the proverbial bed.

“Good. I thought he was fine,” Brind’Amour said about Niederreiter’s debut. “He had a couple chances. I think the first shift he almost had a breakaway. … I apologized to him for that effort. That’s not our team, and that’s his first game.”

It’s not often you hear about that sort of thing.

The Hurricanes had won seven-of-eight before dropping a 6-2 decision to the New York Rangers and Friday’s loss to the visiting Senators.

The Hurricanes are now nine points adrift from the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck