The Anaheim Ducks currently sit in 14th place in the Western Conference standings, and 28th in the league. It's quite a peculiar position to be in when their roster is analyzed on paper.
Jonas Hiller, in years past, has been one of the most solid goaltenders in the league. The ageless Teemu Selanne is not only one of the best veterans in the league, but one of the best overall players, and the majority of hockey fans can agree that they have the most talented first line in the NHL, with Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
With last year's Richard Trophy winner (Corey Perry) and the leading point-getter among defensemen (Lubomir Visnovsky), why are the Anaheim Ducks 14th in the west with the lowest G/G in the league?
When you watch the Ducks play, it becomes apparent. The problem isn't skill, and it most likely isn't chemistry, as these players have had great success playing with one another in past years.
It is motivation.
The Anaheim Ducks simply don't have the motivation to win games. They skate like a team who doesn't have a worry in the world, with no sense of urgency in their play.
Obviously, hockey is a team game, and it is everyone's duty to inspire motivation. There are two people, however, for whom this duty is much greater: the team's captain and its the coach.
The Duck's captain, Ryan Getzlaf, is a very coveted player in the NHL. He's still in his mid-20s, yet he has an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup under his belt. He's a heavyweight with remarkable speed, and a power forward with world-class deking ability. His play hasn't been great this year, but with his attributes, it's safe to say he isn't going anywhere.
So that leaves one person: head coach Randy Carlyle.
The Anaheim Ducks have done very well under Carlyle, but his role as head coach may be coming to an end. He saw great early success in his career as the Duck's coach, but has lost the ability to motivate and discipline his team.
Anaheim currently has the fifth most PIM/G in the league, which is the best they've been in that category since the '05/06 season, which was Carlyle's first season as head coach.
With just one win in their last 12 games, the time for change has come. Don't be surprised if you see Randy Carlyle on the job market within the next couple of weeks.
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