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Randy Carlyle's Coaching Disconnect

Bruce Bennett

In Elliott Friedman's latest 30 Thoughts, number 23 is about Bobby Ryan and the new style he's playing in Ottawa. Also included in this insight into Randy Carlyle's coaching systems:

Senators head coach Paul MacLean wants his forwards to engage opponents who go to the half-wall with the puck in the defensive zone. Ryan remembers then-Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle demanding they stay in the middle of the ice. "If the goalie can't stop it from out there, we'll get another one," Ryan said Carlyle would say.

By "another one", Carlyle is referring to goaltenders. This is the same line of thinking that Carlyle, the other coaches, and even the Leafs GMs are preached since Carlyle joined the team; give up shots from the outside because they're of a lower quality and easy stops for the goaltender to make. This makes comments given by Carlyle after practice yesterday extremely puzzling.

I don't think we shoot the puck enough from the points...What we try to preach to our group is you're not trying to score goals from there all the time. Your job is to get the puck on net so that, which today's goaltenders, most of them have the bigger pads, there's lots of rebounds, give our forwards a second opportunity.

So let me get this straight. Carlyle says that simply getting pucks on net, even if it's a bad shot, is a good strategy for the Leafs because it gets the puck on net where rebounds can find their way to a forward's stick for a good scoring chance. But then also says that when other teams do it to the Leafs, he's not the least bit concerned and is willing to give up those shots all day long? There's a huge coaching systems disconnect here and it's going to cost the Leafs unless Randy wises up to thinks he already preaches.

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