Randy Carlyle wants to coach again: 'In a lot of ways, it's who I am'

Robert Mayer / USA Today

Randy Carlyle can't stay away from the rink.

Carlyle moved back to southern California to soak up the sun after he was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in January, but he's not content with a life of leisure.

"I'm a coach. I want to coach. That’s what I do. Every day at four in the afternoon I have to begin fighting my wife for the remote when the games from the East come on the TV," Carlyle told Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press. "I want to be in hockey. It's what I do. In a lot of ways, it's who I am."

Carlyle is fully recovered from back surgery he underwent after his dismissal. The former Anaheim Ducks coach has been attending games at the Honda Center, which only exacerbates his need to coach again.

The game itself, it's a great game. I've done it all my life and been a player and a coach. I've been involved. It's what I do. I like the adrenaline, for sure. Going to the games I've been going to here in Anaheim, you get to look at it from a different perspective. But down there on the bench, just off the ice, you get into the ebbs and flows and you recognize certain things. It's the excitement of sports and competition. I miss it a lot.

Carlyle spent more than six seasons coaching the Ducks, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. Anaheim fired him in November 2011 after the team started the season 7-13-4. He was hired by the Maple Leafs in March 2012.

The Maple Leafs amassed a 91-78-19 record under Carlyle, who was behind the bench when the franchise ended its seven-season postseason drought in 2013.

His accomplishments in Toronto were overshadowed by lengthy slumps and unsettling trends in puck possession. The Maple Leafs failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2014 after finishing the season with two wins in their final 14 games, and they lost seven of their last 10 before Carlyle was fired in January.

Carlyle was disappointed with the way things ended in Toronto but he understands it's part of the business. While he laments not being able to convince the team to always compete, he is ready to move on to the next opportunity.

Plenty of teams seem likely to consider coaching changes in the offseason. The Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers already vacated their head coaching positions and early playoff exits could lead to more firings.

Carlyle doesn't need to rush into another job because he's still collecting paychecks from his contract with Toronto, but he's not concerned with the money. For Carlyle, it's all about finding the right fit and being involved in the game.

"You want to work with people that have a vision similar to yours. I think that's the most important thing, is that you look at who you're going to work with and what kind of hockey club," he said. "Again, it's a people game, it's a people sport. If you have good people, usually you'll have an opportunity to have success. Winning in the NHL is not easy."

Randy Carlyle wants to coach again: 'In a lot of ways, it's who I am'
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