Ducks Gameday -- Intreau to Boudreau

Philadelphia Flyers (shrug) at Anaheim Ducks (shudder), 7 pm
Broad Street Hockey and Anaheim Calling -- let's have a safe and efficient Flyer drill.

Oh crap -- I got what I wanted. I feel so powerful, and yet so guilty. I guess it's time for a cartoon, though I feel a bit out of game shape in that department. :)

Coach_envy_medium
An adapted classic. Welcome, Coach Kirby!

Now I don't know really what sort of coach we're getting in Bruce Boudreau (some recommended links after the jump), but with the week's crazy events, I am growing really curious why we saw such a slew of Bobby Ryan trade rumors just before Carlyle got axed. After all, if I'm to believe what I heard on Twitter (yeah, I know), this was Bob Murray's timeline this week:

So if firing Carlyle was in the plans since Monday, even if there was friction between Bobby Ryan and Randy Carlyle, why was Ryan being shopped at all? Let's speculate!

Unfounded theory #1: Barstool never intended to trade Bobby Ryan -- this was all a sham to make the team play better Wednesday night.

I guess I can buy this a little bit, but it does seem a bit insane. If the plan was to keep Bobby Ryan as a Duck, why put him through this sort of headache? I mean, the Ducks did play their best game of the month (though the bar on that was really, really low), but this seems like a pretty extreme mind game to play on a young scoring winger.

Unfounded Theory #2: Barstool never intended to trade Bobby Ryan -- this was all a sham to trick Carlyle into thinking his job was safe.

This seems implausible, but I'm exploring all options. Maybe Barstool is just a devious guy who wants to appear to be catering to his head coach's priorities just so that the head coach has no clue at all that his tenure is coming to a close. Barstool just craves that moment when he can finally say, "Ha! You never saw this coming!", or something. But again, it's a weird headgame to play with a hockey player just for appearance's sake.

Unfounded Theory #3: Barstool did not actually decide to fire Randy until he read my post on Wednesday. He lied about making a decision Monday to ease me of any guilt, but the Bobby Ryan trade availability was quite real on Tuesday.

I like this theory, only because it makes me feel like the most powerful blogger on the planet. It's not true at all, but the timing of actions does suggest more of a late decision than an early one. Bobby Ryan was going to get his way out of Anaheim, but in the zero hour Barstool changed his mind and went for a new coach instead.

Unfounded Theory #4: Barstool wanted to see what Bobby Ryan might fetch; had the trade return been fantastic Carlyle might still be head coach.

It's possible that on Monday Barstool opened up two possibilities: keep Ryan and fire Carlyle, or keep Carlyle and trade Ryan, and he was going to use the market's best offer to help him weigh the decision. At least in this scenario it makes sense why you'd listen to Bobby Ryan offers. Who knows?

Unfounded Theory #5: Barstool was only going to fire Carlyle if Boudreau was the replacement; until that was finalized he had to follow through to a point in the process trading Bobby Ryan.

This probably is it -- he had to finalize things with the Capitals and with Boudreau, and if things were to fall apart in that process his backdoor play was then to acquiesce to Bobby Ryan's trade desires (or whatever it was that sparked all the trade talk). He played along with Ryan offers, but only if Boudreau could not be hired.

Unfounded Theory #6: Barstool knew how to make his coach firing popular -- artificially turn it into a "Carlyle or Ryan" decision.

Coach Carlyle was the franchise's most successful coach, and firing him definitely did rub a lot of Ducks fans the wrong way. On its own, it really could have split the fanbase a bit, and it still might -- time will tell. But if you change the decision into a "would you rather?" scenario, then the fanbase can better agree with your actions. So Barstool creates (or inflates) a player-coach rift with one of the team's more popular stars, creates a trade buzz to make it seem like either the player or the coach needs to go, then amongst all the "Save Bobby" chants executes a coach firing. There might be something to this theory, too, except that it requires more savvy than Barstool probably has.

Unfounded Theory #7: Barstool likes fucking around with other GMs and with his star wingers.

Maybe he just likes stirring the pot every once in a while just for fun. Who knows?

Anyways, that's probably too much theorizing on a weird week, but feel free to offer your opinion in the comments: if the GM knew he was going to fire his head coach, why put Bobby Ryan on the trading block at all?

* * *

Anyways, on to Boudreau. I have a problem known as West Coast Bias -- I focus so much on what's happening in the western conference standings (plus I have a general distaste for how much attention is spent on eastern stars) that I tend to over-ignore what happens on the east coast. As such, I've never seen any of the HBO "24/7" stuff about Bruce Boudreau, nor have I even followed his team very well. I vaguely know that the Capitals have been a strong eastern team with some great offensive stars playing in a typically-weak division, and not too much past that.

So, with all my hard-earned ignorance, I decided to seek out some guidance from a guy who does follow the Capitals: J.P. from Japers' Rink. He sent me a set of links that talk about the good and bad about our new coach (maybe more bad than good, as some of these links come right at his firing). I think this is as good a place to start some reading -- thanks a bunch, J.P.!

2010-11 Rink Wrap: Bruce Boudreau
June 20, 2011

J.P.'s absolutely right to credit Boudreau for getting his team to win the Eastern Conference again with so many inexperienced players at key positions. He's clearly a fantastic regular season coach. And in that regard, he might have exceeded his work of last season, given the roster he was dealt. Again, he demonstrated the skills at which he best excels: instilling confidence in young players and unleashing their talents on the NHL stage.

But I maintain, in the face of another playoff calamity and still no evidence to the contrary, that regular season success is his ceiling, at least for this Caps team. Post-season progress had to be made in 2010-11. And defeating an injury-depleted Rangers team that hung on the edge of the playoff seeding cliff, while allowing fans the anticipation of two more home games in the second round, did not to me represent progress

Rink Roundtable: Bruce Boudreau's Job Security
December 14, 2010

On the surface, there would seem to be two possible explanations for the Caps' current skid - either Bruce Boudreau isn't making the adjustments necessary to win games or the team isn't implementing the adjustments he is making. Neither one of those options reflect particularly well on Boudreau, of course.

But there is a third option, and that is that the team - the players - simply isn't executing at present. Is it on the coach when his goalies are letting in soft goals, his forwards are flipping 40-foot wristers, or his blueliners are making critical mistakes in coverage? Perhaps you could argue that he hasn't prepared them, mentally, but that's a bit tenuous. More likely, this team started struggling with its focus and that has snowballed into a lack of confidence with predictable results. And yet some of the very same people espousing the "Cup or bust" mentality since mid-summer are now calling for the coach's head when the team hits a skid in December (that has included key injuries and, yes, some awful luck)? Get real.

Capitals Fire Bruce Boudreau
November 28, 2011

In four-plus seasons behind the Caps' bench, Boudreau amassed an impressive 201-88-40 regular season record and led the team to four-consecutive Southeast Division titles.

But his 2-4 playoff series record - losing all four to lower-seeded teams, culminating with a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning last spring - and the team's recent slide after a perfect 7-0-0 start, doomed Boudreau in D.C.

There'll be plenty to discuss on this move - from the decision itself to the reasons behind it and what Hunter brings to the team - but for now we'd like to tip our cap to Coach Boudreau and thank him for all he's done for the team, its fans and the city. Bruce Boudreau may not have been the guy to take the Caps to the next level, but it's been a pleasure to watch and cover him over the past handful of years, and we wish him nothing but the best in whatever he does next.

Time for a Change
May 6, 2011

To be sure, Bruce Boudreau isn't "The Problem" with the Washington Capitals. When a franchise suffers soul-crushing defeats in three-consecutive springs (or four, depending upon how easily one's soul is crushed), there's plenty of blame to go around. But, as the old sports cliché goes, you can't fire all the players, so it's usually the guy calling the shots who takes the fall. And in this case, that would probably be fair. Bruce Boudreau is a good coach and a great guy. But, for whatever reason, he's never been able to consistently extract from this Caps team a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts when it's mattered most. It's time to find someone who can.

* * *

Well, my Sleektooned blog logo re-design project has been dead for a while, and some blogs are really going to have to wait before I get going on that again, but before the project went dormant I did do some lettering design for Broad Street Hockey. It's not a completed logo, but it probably was going to be the best part about it. Enjoy!

Broad_street_hockey_lettering_medium

Prediction: I don't think it's going to matter for like two weeks what sort of coach Boudreau is -- the Ducks will play a more efforted game for a new coach regardless of who it is. It's not automatically going to lead to wins (Hunter and Muller are still winless), but I'm pretty excited to watch tonight's game on the DVR. I won't be around for comments, as I'm watching it late-night, but have some fun without me. Ducks 4, Flyers 3. Bobby Ryan scores 'em all.

Go Ducks.

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