Randy Carlyle Isn't One To Make Excuses, But The Ducks' Playoff Schedule Was...Like...Really, Really Hard
PuckDaddy- Randy Carlyle, indicated that the schedule wasn’t in Anaheim’s favor, and that the NHL should reconsider it.
“I don’t think we played poorly in the series. I think that the toughest part I have about the whole thing is that this was our seventh game in 13 days,” said Carlyle.
“Now, there’s various reasons for that, but I think there’s got to be some consideration in the scheduling in the future between series. We finished on a Wednesday and had to open again on Friday, whereas other teams had to open on Saturday. An extra day would have given us a chance to recover. And we know how tough these games are. And that was a tough hand that was dealt to us.”
Also please recall that on May 17, Carlyle completely punted on the schedule question, when asked “is it fair to play the playoffs with this kind of schedule” by a reporter.
“Well, I better not comment what’s fair and what’s not fair. I leave that up for other people. I think the issue is we get accustomed to it and we just have to make sure we manage the time, what we do in the days between and how we can re-energize our group. That’s the most important thing,” he said.
Well, I - for one - simply cannot believe what I just read. Did Randy Carlyle just imply that the NHL Playoffs can be long and unforgiving? And that a two month tournament consisting of 7 game series between the best teams in an aggressive, contact sport often offers forms of adversity that might take a mental and physical on it's participants? I'm going to need to hear from a less biased party on this, because if the Ducks really were impeded from competing at full strength due to their failure to close out Edmonton Oilers in a timely manner then we are going to have to put an asterisk next to 2017 Western Conference Finals.
Maybe the Nashville Predators aren't a team of destiny that has gotten contributions from up and down the lineup and overcome injuries to their first line center and longtime captain in stamping their ticket to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. Maybe they are just a group that was all-but-gifted an express pass to the next and last round by eliminating their previous opponent as soon as they got the opportunity. Sure, the Anaheim Ducks only played one more game than the Nashville Predators have this postseason, but that extra day or two of rest that the NHL used to unfairly sabotage the healthier roster clearly made all the difference in the world.
I know the head coach of a team that could have made their playoff lives easier by not getting their doors blown off (7-1) in the game that inevitably tightened their schedule would never make excuses, so I'll do it for him. Seven games in thirteen days is a hell of a lot of hockey. Who knew that hoisting the most difficult trophy to win in all of sports can often be extremely challenging when you make it harder on yourselves? Sigh, it's a shame really. When we look back at this year's Anaheim Ducks team I can only imagine the first thing that will pop in our head isn't that they lost to a more deserving opponent, but that they were one free Friday night away from glory.