The Anaheim Ducks re-hired Randy Carlyle on Tuesday, welcoming back the franchise's only Stanley Cup-winning coach 4 1/2 years after firing him.
Carlyle replaces Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Carlyle on Nov. 30, 2011, early in Carlyle's seventh season in charge of the Ducks.
The 60-year-old Carlyle led the Ducks to the 2007 Stanley Cup title during parts of seven seasons in charge, going 273-182-61 and becoming the winningest coach in franchise history.
Boudreau went 208-104-40 in Anaheim while winning the last four Pacific Division titles and falling one game short of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He was still fired by general manager Bob Murray on April 29 after Nashville eliminated the Ducks, who lost a Game 7 on home ice for the fourth consecutive season.
Carlyle spent parts of four seasons in charge of the Toronto Maple Leafs after his ouster in Anaheim, and he moved back to Southern California after his firing in January 2015. He attended many games at Honda Center, usually sitting in the press box and taking notes while waiting for another NHL job.
Turns out he won't have to move this time.
Carlyle made five playoff appearances with Anaheim, but was fired by Murray, his close friend, with the Ducks off to a 7-13-4 start during which he apparently lost the attention of his core players. Carlyle will have to regain the attention of captain Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Andrew Cogliano, the four players left from his tenure.
Perry, the 2011 NHL MVP under Carlyle, and Getzlaf won the Cup with the coach in 2007, but they have yet to get their team back to the championship round, falling one game shy last summer. The dynamic duo's postseason leadership skills have been questioned by Murray, who blamed his veteran leaders for the first-round loss to the Predators that cost Boudreau his job.
Carlyle reclaims an appealing roster that includes veterans Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, who both played for Carlyle with the Vancouver Canucks' minor-league affiliate in Manitoba a decade ago. Murray also has acquired a wealth of young talent for the Ducks, including Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm.
The Ducks won plenty of regular-season games over the past four seasons, but just three playoff rounds for Boudreau. Most distressingly, they lost the final two games in each of their four playoff series defeats, blowing a 3-2 series lead each time.
Carlyle had his own playoff woes in Anaheim, winning just one postseason series in his four years after winning the Cup. He has a reputation as a stern coach with a standoffishness that will contrast with the ebullient approachability of Boudreau.
Murray led a deliberate coaching search after his quick firing of Boudreau, saying he wanted to re-evaluate everything about the Ducks' approach to hockey. He has yet to make any major personnel changes, but he interviewed several candidates for the coaching job, including assistant coach Paul MacLean and former Ducks player Travis Green, in a search that stretched over six weeks.
Murray's re-evaluation apparently led him back to Carlyle, who didn't survive a slow start to the 2011-12 season. Anaheim got off to a similarly slow start last fall, but Murray showed patience with Boudreau, who was swiftly hired by the Minnesota Wild last month.
Carlyle was the final coach of the Mighty Ducks, replacing Mike Babcock in 2005 and leading Anaheim to the title two seasons later.
Carlyle was hired by Toronto in March 2012, three months after Anaheim fired him. He led the Leafs to their only playoff appearance since 2004, losing a seven-game thriller in the first round to Boston in 2013.
But the Toronto front office fired his assistant coaches after the Leafs finished out of the postseason picture in 2014, and Carlyle was fired the next season, even while the Leafs were in a playoff position.
Carlyle played over 1,000 games in his NHL career, serving as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Winnipeg Jets. Carlyle and Boudreau were teammates with the Maple Leafs.