Five separate writers (by my count) have asked that question in the past week: one, two, three, four, five.
When a team is considered to be a Cup contender, and finds itself ahead of just three teams in the league standings, it’s a question worth asking. What are your thoughts?
Here are some background points to consider:
1. Bob Murray didn’t hire Carlyle — Brian Burke did — and the general manager is personally responsible for the roster overhaul that’s taken place over the last season. In theory, that might give Murray more confidence in the players he put in place than a coach he didn’t. But Murray and Carlyle are close; they go back farther than Burke and Carlyle did at the time the coach was hired.
2. I caught an interesting quote by Ryan Getzlaf, doing a one-on-one interview recently for an “Off the Ice” segment on NHL Network. Speaking of Carlyle, he said: “Randy’s not the easiest guy to talk to, but you can still talk to him.” Ouch. Not exactly a ringing endorsement from the future team captain.
3. Murray was the Chicago Blackhawks’ general manager for little more than two years (July 1997 to November 1999), but still managed to fire two head coaches during that timespan. The first, Craig Hartsburg, “sold out his soul to try to get things going,” Murray said at the time, but still got the ax; many speculated that the decision ultimately came from Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz. The second was Dirk Graham, Hartsburg’s replacement.
As Linda Richman would say, “Discuss.”