Sunday, February 10, 2019

Randy Carlyle Autographed Card

It's finally done.

After a 12-game losing streak earlier this season and riding a current seven-loss streak and losing 19 of their last 21 games, the Anaheim Ducks have relieved head coach Randy Carlyle of his position; GM Bob Murray steps in to fill the vacant slot until the end of the year.

We're talking about a head coach who, in two stints with the Ducks, made the playoffs in seven out of eight full seasons, is the franchise's all-time wins leader (with 384), brought them a Stanley Cup, two other Conference Finals (including one in 2016-17) and had a 111-74-35 record in his second go-round despite having been handed an aging roster that has consistently under-performed in comparison to its salary cap hit.

For instance, this season, none of their leading scorers are close to the point-per-game average, and most are along the 0.5 line:
Corey Perry has missed most of the year and only registered an assist in 5 games; the ghost of Ryan Kesler has 4 goals, 2 assists, 6 points, 29 penalty minutes and a -21 rating in 48 games.

Is the coach to blame, or the players? A bit of both? You can't fault Ryan Getzlaf's presence and will, as he's answering the media after every game saying the team needs to respond and play better, but if he can't rally the troops, maybe he's no longer worthy of the "C" on his chest. He sure can't carry the team's offense on his own anymore, leaving John Gibson to handle the load of the entire team between the pipes.

I'm not certain this was Carlyle's curtain call as a coach, either, because a team like the Philadelphia Flyers may want to return to a heavier style of play, or the Boston Bruins in the future; heck, if the Edmonton Oilers are waiting for Murray to get fired in the summer, who's to say the duo wouldn't get reunited in the tundra?

Regardless of your opinion of Carlyle as a coach, however, the fact remains that he was a very good defenseman in his day. He won the Norris trophy in 1980-81 and captained two teams: the Pittsburgh Penguins (1981-84) and Winnipeg Jets (1989-91).

He retired having scored 148 goals with 499 assists for 647 points with 1400 penalty minutes in 1055 regular-season games, and another 9 goals, 24 assists, 33 points and 120 PIMs in 69 playoff games. He had been drafted in both the NHL (Toronto Maple Leafs, second round, 30th overall) and WHA (Cincinnati Stingers, first round, 7th overall) in 1976.

He also won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 1989 World Championships, playing on a team that included Steve Yzerman, tournament leading scorer Brian Bellows, Kirk Muller, Sean Burke, and teammate Dale Hawerchuk. He tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs after a game against West Germany, but his B sample was found to be clear, so he was awarded his medal.

Here he is wearing the Jets' purple/blue (away) uniform (with a head shot in the white/home jersey) on card #288 from Score's 1991-92 Pinnacle (French-Candian Edition) set:
He signed it in blue sharpie when he was the Leafs' head coach (2012-15).

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