After meeting with his players as a group for the last time this season, Randy Carlyle spoke to the media in a press conference at Honda Center.
Carlyle reflected on the past season and the frustrations drawn from their first round exit against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Press Conference Video
Randy Carlyle Transcript
On his feelings entering the playoffs:
We felt that we were a team that was ready to take a long run into playoffs. You can never really feel comfortable as a coach, from a standpoint that you’ve got all the pieces or you’ve done enough. The disappointing part for us was because of where our group was at and the success that we’d had in the last probably half of the season. It was so frustrating, from the standpoint that we just couldn’t get the execution level to where it was necessary. We didn’t provide that passion that is required to win in the playoffs. That’s the most disappointing thing for our group. We never want to lose sight of the fact that we’ve had success, but ultimately we fell short of our goal.
On his feeling on Monday, a day after the loss to Dallas:
That’s the one thing about this game that when you don’t have success or when you play your last game and you lost it, it’s the same empty feeling as we had last year to some degree after we won. Because you were supposed to be going to work tomorrow morning and there was no work. The difference is there was no celebration or today. It was an empty feeling. We were numb. To some degree, we still are of what’s just transpired. It takes time for that to pass. We met with the players and they’ll have their exit medicals tomorrow. I’ll meet with each one of them before they leave the rink tomorrow and that starts the process as far as preparing for next year. This game is a game that you have to have success in and in pro sport, we’re held accountable for the success or the failures that we do encounter and we failed.
"I think that we have to recognize some of the things that happened to our group and not duplicate that next year for sure. We’re fairly happy with the work ethic that was put in by our hockey club because of the challenges that we met, but it’s unacceptable for our hockey club." - Randy Carlyle
On what his message will be to the players this year:
I think that we have to recognize some of the things that happened to our group and not duplicate that next year for sure. We’re fairly happy with the work ethic that was put in by our hockey club because of the challenges that we met, but it’s unacceptable for our hockey club from a standpoint of losing in the first round or not playing to the capabilities or anywhere near the capabilities that we felt this group had or possesses. That’s part of the message that’s going to be sent. As always, you can never guarantee that everybody is going to be back because pro teams change all the team with contracts, free agents and trades. It’s an opportunity again for us, as an organization, a coaching staff and management to do an evaluation of where we’re at with our group and move forward.
On his thoughts of a “Stanley Cup hangover”:
I think it definitely has some varying on the emotions and physical drain that it did take on people. Then to come back after the short summer and I think the scheduling earlier was part of an issue. I think the shortness of the training camp was a huge issue. The training camp was condensed into three days and then we started playing exhibition games. We played seven exhibition games before we went to London. We were in London to open the season and then we came back to finish three in Detroit, Columbus and Pittsburgh and opened their building. It was like we hadn’t really got our feet from underneath us. As far as a team, we weren’t real comfortable. We played loose hockey. It was evident throughout the course of the season that we struggled with that. That’s not our team. We’re not a hockey club, what we believe and in the system that we play, that we should be giving up the number on quality scoring chances, playing as loose and playing not as tight defensively as needed. Those things were evident for our group through the course of the season. We got them on track for periods of time, but we weren’t able to sustain it at the end in critical times.
On the two games at the end of the season entering the playoffs:
I touched on it. I was very nervous. I thought that at times we were playing hope hockey. We hoped that we’re going to play to a higher level, we hoped that the power play was going to do this, we hoped the penalty killing was going to do that and we hoped that some personnel would step up and play in a different manner. There were always those questions from us as a coaching staff. We didn’t really feel comfortable at times the way things were going and we tried to make as many as those adjustments as possible. In the end we just didn’t play well enough.
"t was so frustrating, from the standpoint that we just couldn’t get the execution level to where it was necessary. We didn’t provide that passion that is required to win in the playoffs. That’s the most disappointing thing for our group. We never want to lose sight of the fact that we’ve had success, but ultimately we fell short of our goal." - Randy Carlyle
On any injuries that impacted the team in the playoffs:
I don’t think that there was anything major. There’s always, obviously, lots of bumps, bruises and muscle strains. There were some people that had sore backs and all that kind of stuff.
I thought watching them play against San Jose, I think that they used that game, the last game of the season, as far as their preparation to play us. They were down 2-0 in it. The game became a little bit ugly. They came back and I think they won the hockey game 4-2. That to me was a message sent that we better be ready. They took that as a preparation game. They were able to maintain that intensity here. The first two games here, reflecting back, the first one we didn’t play that poorly but we allowed four power play goals. We weren’t sharp around the net. Our penalty killing was out of sync for whatever reason. We just didn’t get the job done. We regrouped and played much better in the second one, but we still gave up two power play goals and lost. We lost the first two games at home and it just seemed like we were left treading water. Once we went to Dallas and got a win, we felt much better about our group. We committed some major errors in the hockey game in the fourth game. That really turned the tide in the series I thought. Unforced errors or forced that we gave the puck away, created winning goals for them. Those are things that happen. Mistakes happen in game. To me, that’s what the difference was. We came back and played hard here (in Game 5). In the two games that we won in the series, I felt that our goaltender was our best player. We gave up too many quality scoring chances.