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Lou and the New Jersey Devils

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Old
12-29-2010, 09:30 PM
  #1
Heaton
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Lou and the New Jersey Devils

For many years, the Wings and Devils were considered the class of the league. 3 cups each, consistent regular season winning, good leaders with Hall of Fame credentials. Now since the lockout, the Devils brass have made some questionable and terrible decisions. I don't think Lou has hired a GM that he's ever been happy with, little to no playoff success and no real long term plan (that I can see).

I know some people have questioned Holland the past few seasons of his post-lockout management, but of all the revered GM's has Lou been the absolute worst? Having to trade 1st rounders to get cap space, signing players who haven't contributed (Rolston) to crippling deals and then giving away the most assets in a long time to get Kovalchuk. And whether or not that's Lou's fault or not it still goes on his resume.

A friend of mine basically believes that he shouldn't be fired or even raked over the coals for his many mistakes. I'm of the belief that his time has to be running out, even the best and hall of fame coaches, GM's and players get traded/fired from time to time. I think if Holland had made these moves I'd want him gone.

Maybe some NJ fans can correct some things I've said if they see the topic. Anyone else have a different opinion?

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12-29-2010, 10:00 PM
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I'm not convinced the Kovalchuk saga is all on Lou. I was under the impression that the owner was the one really pushing for Kovalchuk.

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12-29-2010, 10:04 PM
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I wouldn't be thrilled with Lou but it also looked like the owner forced Lou's hand on Kovalchuk. If he was against the move from the start, and it clearly wasn't his decision, I think he gets more rope. However, if the owners are becoming that meddling, Lou might want to leave. Wouldn't mind the Wings bringing him on in some capacity.

edit: bah, Fugu played the owner card already.

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12-29-2010, 10:11 PM
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I wouldn't be thrilled with Lou but it also looked like the owner forced Lou's hand on Kovalchuk. If he was against the move from the start, and it clearly wasn't his decision, I think he gets more rope. However, if the owners are becoming that meddling, Lou might want to leave. Wouldn't mind the Wings bringing him on in some capacity.

edit: bah, Fugu played the owner card already.

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12-29-2010, 10:34 PM
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I'm totally convinced Lamoriello wasn't the most guilty part in pushing this hard for Kovalchuk. I do however think he is pretty terrible when it comes to handling the cap, and ultimately he is the one that needs to make sure the team is properly built. In this case I think he was too naive, especially on the defense where he thought that things would be alright coming of a great regular season. Marty still looked like Marty, the old system etc.

The thing though, they lost Oduya in the Kovalchuk trade and Martin in the summer, that's one pretty decent PMD and one really good. What they added? Two of the most stay-at-home guys you'll ever find in Tallinder and Volchenkov, and both payed at salaries of which you'd expect at least some offensive contribution. Kovalchuk's deal took time, but they were looking at the $6-7M cap ballpark the whole time and he knew exactly how much he had left to play with. Not icing a full line-up on opening night is pretty shameful, and something I am confident to say we will never see in Detroit. It's one thing to be up against the cap, it's another thing to not do anything about it.

Then we have the rookie coach, I don't even know what to say about that as I only briefly remember him as a player and had no idea he was coaching nowadays, but it's safe to say he wasn't the right man at the right place this time.

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Old
12-29-2010, 10:44 PM
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I mentioned that the Kovalchuk deal maybe isn't all on him, but it will go on his resume. Either way, that's just one of many blunders.

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12-29-2010, 10:55 PM
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One thing for sure, Lou did not adapt as well as Holland did to the post-lock out NHL

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12-29-2010, 11:07 PM
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if you think about it, signing a perennial 40+ goal scorer at a cap hit of $6.7 m is on its own a pretty good cap hit.

why this kovalchuk signing cripples them is because of all the other bad contracts Lou had given in the past.

what really hurts the devils is the lack of a puck mover on their blue line. they pretty much chased their only puck mover Paul Martin out of town

crap has already been building up for this franchise, and it was the kovalchuk deal that tipped things over

the bottom line is Lou has made blunder after blunder in the post cap era, and to think he actually helped write it. if it was Sather who had given out all those contracts he would have ridiculed

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12-29-2010, 11:12 PM
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Kovalchuk doesn't fit that team at all. And his cap hit will kill them for years to come.

I understand making the move for Kovalchuk but after it didn't work they shouldn't have re-signed him.

But I believe Lou's hands were tied after what they gave up for him + pressure from ownership he had to re-sign him.

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12-29-2010, 11:21 PM
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Is Rolston toast? If he's got anything left in the tank I wouldn't mind him as a cheap deadline type move, particularly if it's via reentry waivers and he's a minor cap hit.

Haven't seen him lately but he used to be a good PKer who could win faceoffs, play on a scoring line if needed and score some goals. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone?

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12-30-2010, 12:08 AM
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Honestly, I don't buy the excuse that the owner pushed Kovalchuk on him. So what? He might not be the greatest player and you might not particularly like him, but you signed a perennial 40+ goal scorer at a cap hit of $6.7 m for the next 20 years. You better figure out way to (build your team to) utilize his skills.

And frankly, he had a great opportunity. Lemaire just retired. They lost a lot of their older players that represented the old Devils style of play. Then they traded for Arnott and let Pandolfo go. It would have been the perfect time to try and get a coach that can change the system a little bit. With Parise, Kovalchuk, Zajac, Elias and Arnott, they could've had a pretty decent forward core. All he needed to do was fix up the defense. And he failed spectacularly.

Edit: This is a rather simplistic view of why the Devils are struggling but my main point is that, the Kovalchuk signing by itself did not make the Devils one of the worst teams in the league. It might have been the tipping point but it sure as hell isn't what started it.

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12-30-2010, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarcastro View Post
Is Rolston toast? If he's got anything left in the tank I wouldn't mind him as a cheap deadline type move, particularly if it's via reentry waivers and he's a minor cap hit.

Haven't seen him lately but he used to be a good PKer who could win faceoffs, play on a scoring line if needed and score some goals. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone?
His contract stretches through next year as well. If he was a UFA at season's end, I think a few teams would have jumped on him going through re-entry waivers but next year, even with half his salary paid, is a real anchor.

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12-30-2010, 07:08 AM
  #13
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i am not sure signing kovalchuk was a bad move. i think they needed D and C more than W, but adding an elite goalscorer is rarely a bad idea. kovalchuk was also one of NJ's best players in the playoffs. imo, it is too early to say whether it was a mistake or not.

i have wondered for years about whether kovalchuk can fit well into a good and structured team. he seemed like mostly a solo player in atlanta, and was in '06 olympics. but i think he played well in 2010 WC with malkin and datsyuk.


NJD generally have looked very disorganized to me, like the players do not know where they should be or how to support their teammates. sort of looks like they have no coaching. probably also totally demoralized and mentally spent.

i think if they can play with some more cohesion and determination, they should at least be able to win more games than they lose. OTOH, this is by far brodeur's worst season and he has allowed many soft goals and he may not be a good starter in the future.

their SA is still good, but their shooting % is terrible (under 5%, i think). luck is part of it, but their offense seems uncoordinated, and they seem not to get many 2nd chance shots, so i think they are taking lower quality shots than most or all teams.


it seems to be mostly unknown other than by NJ fans, but NJ had a .500 record for months before they traded for kovalchuk, which is probably a major reason they thought they needed to become stronger for the playoffs.

NJ record before january 10: 31-9-1
NJ record after january 10: 17-17-6

i don't follow NJ enough to say why that happened.


NJ has also often had problems scoring in the playoffs, which must be another reason they acquired kovalchuk.

NJD GFA in playoffs
'04: 2.25
'06: 3.00 (2.00 vs carolina)
'07: 2.73 (2.20 vs ottawa)
'08: 2.40
'09: 2.14
'10: 1.80



it is often mentioned that NJ did not adequately replace paul martin, but paul martin missed most of last season (only played 22 games), and they had a good record when he was injured. even after he returned, their record was 6-7, which is much better than now, but not very good, and basically the same as their record after january 10.


NJ has flopped in the playoffs every time since they lost stevens, even when they still had niedermayer and rafalski and martin, but i don't really know why. i think they missed an elite defender like stevens, and brodeur has not played very well in some series or individual games in almost every playoff since '03.


imo, worse than acquiring and signing kovalchuk were some other of lamoriello's decisions.

mogilny and malakhov seemed like decisions made out of panic. both had played in NJ previously (as did rolston and arnott. and lemaire was rehired twice.). but both were overpaid (over 3m each, when the cap was a lot lower), and both contracts had to be dumped, which was a problem b/c both were over 35. both retired shortly after. malakhov was traded with a 1st round pick for korolyuk.

mcgillis was signed for over 2M, but was waived in his 1st season in NJ.

re-acquisitions of rolston and arnott seem like bad ideas, especially considering salary, but i don't follow NJ enough to say.

also other UFA signings like vishnevski, rachunek.

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Old
12-30-2010, 07:21 AM
  #14
14ari13
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I am really glad the Devils/Brodeur struggle. I have said now for many years that Brodeur is one of the most overrated players ever.
The rules have changed and encourage the offesive hockey, while the Devils made their success playing defensive hockey, which does not work anymore.
They are dead last in the league and I'm loving it

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12-30-2010, 07:25 AM
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Risotto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ari13 View Post
I am really glad the Devils/Brodeur struggle. I have said now for many years that Brodeur is one of the most overrated players ever.
one has to imagine the kind of numbers someone like Hasek would have put up if he played that many years with the Devils, and if Brodeur played on Hasek's Buffalo teams

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12-30-2010, 07:44 AM
  #16
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This is something I touched on either before the year started or at the end of last season: Lou's been on an absolutely horrendous stretch. Since the Devils won the Cup in 2003, they haven't gotten out of the second round at all and have lost in the first round 4 times, including the past three years. Their combined playoff record since 2003 is 16-26.

And it's not just the Kovalchuk deal, which was and is awful (and not just for the contract itself and the underperforming, soft player it welded them to, but for the penalties associated with it).

The Rolston deal was beyond terrible. Letting Martin walk was terrible.

Their drafting has been really bad, too. Yes, they landed Zajac and Parise with #1's (at 17 and 20 overall)... but that's it. You have to go all the way back to 2000 to find their other significant draft success... and that was Martin, who they let walk.

And all of this is happening in the East, where every year has at least 8 teams which any self-respecting team would whip up on for 20-25 easy wins a year.

Let's put it this way: Ken Holland catches flack from fans here when his team only gets to the second round after being in the Conference Finals or Cup Finals or winning the Cup. If the Wings were out in the first round 3 years in a row and likely to miss the playoffs in the 4th, fans would (justifiably) be calling for his head.

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