Carlyle flies south

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

It took a little longer than he had hoped, but Brian Burke eventually got his man.

In doing so, the new general manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim has made Randy Carlyle the seventh head coach in franchise history.

Carlyle, a fixture in the Manitoba hockey community the past several decades for his role as a defenceman with the Winnipeg Jets and a coach and general manager for the Manitoba Moose, has made it back to where he always wanted to be and is getting his first crack as the bench boss in the NHL.

"At times you have to pinch yourself, but this has been going on for a period of time here," Carlyle said from California. "It's been kind of a whirlwind for the last week and finally, it all came together."

Shortly after Burke took his new post and Mike Babcock opted not to accept a one-year contract extension, word began to spread that Carlyle was one of the leading candidates to take over.

Initially the Canucks didn't grant the Mighty Ducks permission to pursue Carlyle, who didn't have an out clause in the contract he signed last summer.

When the Canucks relented and gave the Ducks permission late last Monday, it was only a matter of time before Carlyle, who was an assistant with the Washington Capitals from 2002-04, signed on the dotted line.

"This was the guy we wanted," Burke said during the press conference in Anaheim. "Players want to play for a coach who builds their trust, makes good decisions and provides a system where they can win. He's intense. He hates to lose as much as I do and he's committed to the same entertaining style of hockey that I believe the NHL needs to play as we go forward."

Carlyle, 49, is coming off an outstanding season when he led the Moose to a 44-26-3-7 record. The Moose went on to capture the North Division title after disposing the St. John's Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans before bowing out to the Chicago Wolves in the Western Conference final.

"The time I've spent in Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba has been an enjoyable one for myself and my family -- I spent close to half of my life in that province," said Carlyle, who specifically made reference to both Moose co-owner and governor Mark Chipman and Moose general manager Craig Heisinger for their support.

Heisinger was happy for his friend and long-time co-worker.

"It's good from a personal (side) and it's good from the Moose perspective as well," Heisinger said yesterday from Vancouver. "We're losing a good head coach, but on the other hand the nature of our business is to provide an environment where good people can have success and move on."

Heisinger said expects the Moose to replace Carlyle with a quality head coach, but didn't want to put a time frame on the process and wouldn't discuss potential candidates.

Former Moose captain and assistant coach Scott Arniel, who is under contract as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres, is expected to be the front-runner.

Carlyle, the 1981 Norris Trophy winner played 1,055 regular season games in the NHL and began his coaching career as an assistant with the Jets in 1995-96.

Carlyle compiled a record of 222-159-52-7 during six seasons with the Moose.


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