Minutes after the Anaheim Ducks won only their second game in the month of November, General Manager Bob Murray made a bold move by removing Randy Carlyle as the team's head coach, replacing him with Bruce Boudreau, who was let go by the Washington Capitals on Monday.
Though the Ducks have struggled mightily this season, winning only seven of their first 24 games, the move has to be considered a surprise because Carlyle was handed a three-year contact extension in August.
For Boudreau, the chance to coach the Ducks presents an eerily similar opportunity to the one he happened upon in Washington four years ago.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2007, Boudreau was promoted from Hershey of the AHL to the Capitals, where he inherited a talented collection of players who were playing far below their potential.
Now with Anaheim, Boudreau is once again presented with a unit that, at least on paper, appears to be much better than what they've demonstrated on the ice.
Up front, the Ducks boast three of the best scoring forwards in the game in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. Beyond that trio, Anaheim has solid goaltending and enough grit and talent to at least contend for a playoff berth. However, Boudreau will once again have to right an underachieving team's ship.
For Carlyle, the firing must be a difficult to accept, especially considering the fact that he delivered the franchise's first and only Stanley Cup just four seasons ago.
Unfortunately, the memory of owners and general managers across the league don't last as long as they once did, and his team's performance over the course of the last 12 months ultimately cost him his job.
The choice of Boudreau as Carlyle's successor is particularly interesting in some respects because of how different the two bench bosses. Carlyle, a former Norris Trophy winning defenseman, is a defense-first coach, while Boudreau, the architect behind the Capitals' run-and-gun offense of 2008-09 and 2009-10, is known for icing more free-wheeling teams.
Currently, the Ducks sit 29th in the league in goals per game, so Boudreau has his work cut out for him in the offensive zone.
Luckily for their new coach, the Ducks have enough firepower and speed to play the 'fire-wagon' brand of hockey that Boudreau used in order to lead the Caps to four straight Southeast Division Championship banners.
After taking over behind the Caps' bench in late November in 2007, Boudreau lead his troops on a dramatic run to the playoffs, clinching their trip to the postseason on the final day of the regular season.
Bob Murray and the team's ownership group are hoping the affable Boudreau has at least one more miraculous comeback in him.
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