The Anaheim Ducks have been in a tailspin for two months now, and after head coach Randy Carlyle was fired Sunday, team owners Henry and Susan Samueli expressed their disappointment in a letter to season ticket holders.
“This has been a surprisingly difficult season,” the Samuelies wrote. “We supported (GM) Bob Murray’s previous decision to allow the players and staff to battle out of this situation. While no one person should take the blame for our current predicament, recent results dictated that Bob needed to make this move.”
Carlyle was fired from his second stint with the Ducks after the team went 2-15-4 in their last 21 games. In that stretch, which began in the middle of December, the team has fallen from second place in the Pacific Division to the very bottom of the Western Conference standings.
The firing comes somewhat as a surprise after Murray issued a statement on Jan. 13 saying Carlyle’s job was safe and that the players needed to step their play up. That statement came after 11 consecutive losses, and the team has since gone 2-8-0 and are currently stuck in a seven-game losing streak.
Murray will take over for Carlyle as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, so he can “determine what all the problems are.” In their statement, the Samuelies said they support Murray’s decision to move to the bench and are trusting him to turn things around.
“We are a proud organization with a great winning tradition. Our current performance is very disappointing and therefore we have given Bob permission to do whatever is necessary to get us back to our winning ways,” they wrote. “By placing Bob behind the bench for the remainder of the season, he will gain unique insights into the team which will enable him to best determine the changes that need to be made.
“Changes are always difficult but you can rest assured that ownership and management will do a thorough and thoughtful assessment of our team and make decisions that are in the best interests of the team for both the near term and long term. We are confident that we can turn this around quickly.”
As of Monday morning, the Ducks sit eight points behind the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild for wild-card spots in the west. If they do miss the playoffs, it will snap a streak of six consecutive post-season appearances.