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05-14-2011, 01:00 PM
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I don't think it was Lou (necessarily) or the rules of the team. There's definitely something to the fact that we started to lose people with the new free agency rules post-lockout. But, I also think that the team lost a sense of loyalty to one another.

Niedermayer left to play with his brother, but also because he felt he accomplished everything he could in NJ. But, he never was the guy to lead the team to a Cup. He had the chance to do that, but didn't see it as a worthwhile challenge. Why not?

Gomer clearly didn't want to be the leader that Datsyuk has become. He preferred to go somewhere that had leadership (Jagr) and tradition (granted, a losing one, but still) built in. Who was around to stop him?

Lou apparently made Martin a similar offer to what he signed for. But, Martin was already focused on signing elsewhere. Why was it better to go for a shot at a Cup with a different bunch of guys?

One issue with the revolving door at head coach is that it's really been up to the players to police the room / develop loyalty to one another year after year. But, with free agency and the lockout / more players seeing that this is a business, it's hard for players by themselves to create the sense of team. Lou has used a college philosophy when running the team - that players naturally graduate, that new players step in, etc. But, replacing top end guys is not as simple at the NHL level. And - perhaps more importantly - the sense of sacrifice for the organization isn't built in the way it is for a college.

I don't know if it's stability at the head coach spot (where Detroit did go through Lewis before landing Babcock), or having a established player leadership / succession (where the torch was passed from lifelong Red Wing Yzerman and Lidstrom to lifelong Red Wings Datsyuk and Zetterberg), but there's something more than just circumstance that's changed between Detroit and NJ.

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