While it’s not often that a team will change their head coach but keep all of the assistants around, that’s what the Ducks did this offseason when they brought back Randy Carlyle, writes Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register. GM Bob Murray noted that he and Carlyle had agreed to try working with the retained assistants for a year and then they would decide from there what to do but it’s hard to imagine changes at this point considering the team is comfortably in a playoff spot and only two points out of the division lead. That was different from when Murray fired Carlyle back in 2011 as both assistant coaches were let go at the same time as well.
One of Anaheim’s assistants is former Ottawa bench boss Paul MacLean. While he’s pleased with his current situation – it certainly helps that MacLean and Carlyle were teammates back with Winnipeg back in the 1980s – he indicated to Stephens that he would like to be a head coach again someday:
“Do I want to be a head coach again? Absolutely. I’d take that opportunity. If it comes my way, it would be something I would accept. But at the same time, I can’t just say I want to be that (team’s) coach. They’d have to come and ask you. If they don’t ask you, you’re not even in the conversation. My goal would be to move on and be a head coach at another point in time. Until that time arrives – or if it never arrives – I’m perfectly satisfied with the type of work that I can get done here.”
If the Ducks continue their strong play this season, it’s likely that MacLean will be in the conversation for any potential head coaching openings so that continuity behind the bench may not last much longer.
Elsewhere in the Pacific Division:
- It has been an adventurous few months for Kris Versteeg. After his deal in Switzerland was voided, he wound up with Edmonton in training camp, then spurned an offer from them to join Calgary. Now, as Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun notes, Versteeg has had some tough luck with the injury bug, dealing with three separate injuries over the past six weeks. The 30 year old made his latest return to the lineup yesterday against Tampa Bay after missing two games with an upper body issue. When healthy, Versteeg has been a nice addition for the Flames with 11 points in just 20 games, giving them a bargain for his $950K cap hit.
- Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev took part in practice today, reports Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy (Twitter link). He has missed the last 20 games with an ankle injury and while he likely won’t be ready to return after just one practice, this suggests he’s at least closer to returning which would be a big boost for a Vancouver back end that is also missing Alex Edler and Philip Larsen.