To be at rock bottom means that one is at their lowest level possible. When you hit rock bottom, the days are bleak, and hope is usually a pipe dream. The Anaheim Ducks are an embodiment of that, and their 9-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday is another kick in the gut.
It’s been a hard fall from grace for the Ducks. Anaheim had been a steady playoff team for the better part of the 2010s. The team made the playoffs every year from 2012-13, reaching the Conference Finals twice. However, the Ducks failed to take the next step and punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Ducks would fire Bruce Boudreau has head coach in 2016, replacing him with Randy Carlyle. Carlyle had previously coached the Ducks, but had struggled in his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs following that stint. Anaheim’s higher ups believed he was the man to lead the Ducks back to the Stanley Cup, and ignored those struggles.
The team would finish 46-23-13 in 2016-17, Carlyle’s first season back. They would go on to defeat the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs before bowing out in the Western Conference Finals to the Nashville Predators. Despite this loss, the Ducks seemed like they could turn the corner the following season. They ended up being swept by the San Jose Sharks.
Those playoff appearances look to be things of the past now. Anaheim have looked like one of the worst teams in the NHL at times. They currently sit at 21-22-9, enough for 5th in the Pacific Division. The Ducks, at one point, were limping along during a 12-game losing streak. Now, they have suffered one of the most embarrassing loses of any team this season. They allowed nine goals, six coming in the first period. A first period that saw the Ducks record just four shots.
Despite the team’s sharp fall from grace, nothing has changed. Carlyle is still head coach, while Bob Murray remains general manager. Heads should roll after this, but likely won’t. I feel this raises the question: has a “boys club” formed in Anaheim? If you’d like an example of what a boys club is, look at the relationship between Cincinnati Bengals management and former head coach Marvin Lewis. Despite years of mediocrity and not being able to get the job done, the Bengals just now got around to firing Lewis. It was about five years later than it should’ve been.
Are the Ducks going to be a team that just sticks to the status quo? Will they make a change to try and inject some life into this team? That isn’t for me to say, but feel free to discuss this with me on Twitter. Let me know what you think about this.