The Anaheim Ducks are off to a 1-4-1 start to the season, after their 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Absolutely nothing is going right, from the goaltending to Kevin Bieksa looking like he’s aged 20 years in four months to Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Carl Hagelin, Patrick Maroon, Jakob Silfverberg and Shawn Horcoff, whose combined goal totals through six games in the 2015-16 season matches mine.
Defenseman Hampus Lindholm is the Ducks’ leading scorer. He has two points.
It’s by far the worst start of any team that Bruce Boudreau has coached. (When he was fired, in 2011? He started the season 7-0-0!) The talk of his dismissal from the Ducks has gone from “this is a joke, right?” to lukewarm to “oh dear god GM Bob Murray might actually pull the trigger on this!?”
It’s never good when you start hearing about professional players “feeling sorry about” themselves. It’s especially not good to hear Boudreau say it, because all of this has happened before and will happen again.
The Ducks begin a five-game road trip Thursday in Nashville, and, according to a couple of sources, Murray wants to see how things go. I do remember a conversation I had with the GM well after he fired Randy Carlyle. He said he believes a firing is the last resort, because teams should be forced to try and work through their problems. So, his modus operandi is to be as patient as he can.
So with that, we present some nightmare scenarios for the Ducks and Bruce Boudreau that might actually come true, and their odds:
Bruce Boudreau Is Retained, The Ducks Play Out Of This (3-1)
Again, it’s still hard to believe that Bob Murray would be that shortsighted to fire Boudreau early this season because none of the Ducks’ offensive weapons aren’t firing yet, the power-play is 1-for-18 and Anton Khudobin has been more sieve than savior.
Especially the fact that Getzlaf and Perry haven’t hit the board. Getzlaf, in the Ducks’ first eight games, seven of them wins last season? Three goals and nine assists. Perry? Nine goals, three assists.
Important quote from Perry the other day, via Ducks Of A Feather:
“It’s something we really haven’t gone through, at least since I’ve been here. It’s tough.”
Adversity hits at a time there’s unprecedented for these stars and leaders, and they can’t quite figure out how to kick away the snake that’s biting them. Does a coaching change fix this?
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Paul MacLean Is Hired (3-1)
When Paul MacLean was hired by the Ducks, it presented two potential harbingers of doom for Boudreau: Changes in his assistant coaching staff -- none of whom he hired anyway -- and the addition of a potential successor with a Jack Adams Award and, now, a familiarity with the roster. They’re not asking the Senators to hire MacLean to hold a clipboard.
Bruce Boudreau Is Retained, But There’s A Trade (5-1)
Mark Spector of Sportsnet noted that Murray had been haunting the press boxes in Edmonton and Calgary this week. And while his summer moves obviously haven’t inspired much confidence given the results, the idea that Murray would further shake up the roster before turfing a good coach deserves some consideration. Especially when other GMs might be in the same boat.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Dallas Eakins Is Hired (15-1)
Eakins cut his teeth as an NHL coach during his brief time in Edmonton, and is currently coaching the AHL San Diego Gulls. One assumes Murray hired him for his abilities as a teacher of young talent, as his success with the Toronto Marlies led to his only NHL gig. But it would follow the usual dynamic for firing coaches in the NHL: Bourdeau, players’ coach, goes; Eakins, hard-ass meanie, is hired.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Randy Carlyle Is Hired (30-1)
The theory has been kicked around since Gary Lawless wrote a valentine to Carlyle on TSN. Murray and the former Ducks coach, who won their only Cup with them, are friends. He’s coached Getzlaf and Perry, and maybe time and distance has changed how they both felt about the guy when he was fired.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Guy Boucher Is Hired (50-1)
Still perhaps the best coaching candidate without an NHL gig, the key would be getting him out of his deal with SC Bern in Switzerland. He learned a lot with the Lightning, and perhaps a systems guy like Boucher might be a good fix for a Ducks team that looks aimless.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Todd Richards Is Hired (75-1)
Murray showed with Boudreau that he isn’t shy about hiring a coach with fresh wounds from a firing, and Richards is the kind of back-to-basics guy that could ground this team. But he’s not exactly accomplished, making the playoffs once as a head coach – is that really going to earn the players’ ears?
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Claude Julien Is Hired (100-1)
This would take a little help from Murray’s friends out East, but again, one senses the Ducks would be one of those teams that would have a contract and a pen in Julien’s face the minute he walked out of Boston with his box of stuff.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Mike Keenan Is Hired (200-1)
Speaking of hard-ass meanies, Keenan is now looking for a coaching gig, even as he tries to become a Russian citizen. He last coached in the NHL in 2008-09, with the Calgary Flames, where he made the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Short term, quick burn, but it’s not like he hasn’t found success like that before.
Bruce Boudreau Is Traded To The Penguins For Mike Johnston (300-1)
As we said last night, this would be the greatest thing ever on several levels. But just because we don’t get an official coach swap like the Canucks and Rangers had a few seasons ago doesn’t mean Boudreau couldn’t end up in Pittsburgh if the Ducks fire him.
Bruce Boudreau Is Fired, Bob Murray Is Hired (1,000-1)
Maybe he’ll just go the full Lamoriello.
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