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In defense of Lou

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I know a lot of people have been calling for Lou's head during the slump, and more and more I think it's unfair. Here's why:

 

1) We finished 6th in the conference last year. We're 8th right now. I know the Finals run was great, and makes us think last year went better, but the regular season wasn't THAT much better than this one, at least in terms of points. Throw in the fact that the conference is stronger (Montreal, Toronto, Carolina, Winnipeg stronger, Washington and Philly weaker), and Devils haven't actually gotten much worse at all.

 

2) Not only did we lose Parise by no fault of Lou's (and if you think we should have traded him, then you basically wish the finals run never happened), that was followed up by a lockout that cost Lou a chance to replace him in any meaningful way.

 

3) We have 4, maybe 5, top 6 forwards. You can blame Lou for that, but again, Parise wasn't his fault, and a lot of stupid contracts are getting thrown around, and it's for the best that Lou didn't make one. 3 of the best 6 forwards on our team are hurt (Zubrus) or slumping badly (Zajac and Clarkson). Zubrus will be back. Zajac will almost certainly bounce back, and I expect Clarkson to as well, at least to some degree. If that happens, the top 6 will still be very slightly below average (Elias and Kovalchuk make a lot of people look good), but they'll generate some chances.

 

4) Everybody wants us to trade one of our d-men for a top 6 forward. No one has come up with a good trade. We have 3 guys who conceivably might fetch a top 6 forward. Volch has a NMC, and it would be stupid to trade Fayne, who has been our best d-man for most of the season, or Larsson, who does a lot right, and is still developing, no matter how many people here want to flame him.

 

5) Lou HAS done a good job getting third line type talent, without mortgaging the future or breaking the bank. Kostopoulos looks like a good pick up. While I would have preferred to just sign him, Lou didn't lose much to get Poni back. Loktionov looks great for the price. This team may be a little shallow up top, but they have a ton of flexibility, and decent forward depth. If Zubs comes back strong, and Zajac and Clarkson return to form, they'll go into the playoffs with a much better than average bottom 6 to make up for a somewhat below average top 6, and that below average top 6 includes Kovy and Elias, so they're certainly not bad.

 

6) The Moose has struggled. When you have a couple of goalies pushing 40, there's a chance of injury/guys looking their age. I don't love the Hedberg contract, but he's good in the locker room, and he did a great job when Marty got hurt 2 years ago. It may not have paid off, but I take that chance if I'm Lou as well.

 

This slump has sucked, but the team isn't that bad, just like it wasn't that great last year. I trust Lou to make smart moves to bolster this team without mortgaging the future, which is exactly what he's done since he's been here. And if we make the playoffs, anything can happen, just like last year.

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Anyone calling for Lou's head is not very smart. It's a friggen slump where the team has still played pretty solid. All your points are good, but it sucks that you have to make this thread to defend him.

I haven't ready much of the board lately, but how anyone can call for anything drastic during this season and this 7-8 game slide is a little ridiculous to me. No one knows what Lou tried to do anyway.

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I don't think most rational people are saying fire him, but he had from July 4 to early September to do something about Parise-Syk-Poni's departure and did nothing to replace sixty goals.  He could have alleviated the eight-D logjam monstrosity and it's hurt far more than it's helped.

 

There are some things it's silly to blame him for, Zajac's contract being tops on that list.  How was he supposed to know Zajac was going to have eight points in 26 games?  People always want the FA's signed before they can go FA, well this is the other side of it. Maybe if we don't sign Zajac we find out this year that he's a creature of Parise before inking him for another eight years.  It's a chance Lou had to take though with Zajac's all-around skills and our total lack of 'true center' depth.

Edited by NJDevs4978

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I think, with Lou , we win or lose with solid, upstanding men. First, above all else.

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If you're anti-Lou, the first question you have to ask yourself is who replaces him that does a better job. Good GMs do not grow on trees.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Fire Lou he is as lost as Chico, fire Deboer because you know last year doesnt matter, Kovalchuk should be bought out, Clarkson should be traded for draft picks, start Kinkaid, should have signed Semin, oh my gawd they didnt score more than three, yes to Dany Heatley, system needs to be changed, I want Jones or Mackinnon. 

 

Am I doing it right?...

 

 

 

Very good post. ;)

Edited by Zubie#8

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I don't think most rational people are saying fire him, but he had from July 4 to early September to do something about Parise-Syk-Poni's departure and did nothing to replace sixty goals.  He could have alleviated the eight-D logjam monstrosity and it's hurt far more than it's helped.

 

There are some things it's silly to blame him for, Zajac's contract being tops on that list.  How was he supposed to know Zajac was going to have eight points in 26 games?  People always want the FA's signed before they can go FA, well this is the other side of it. Maybe if we don't sign Zajac we find out this year that he's a creature of Parise before inking him for another eight years.  It's a chance Lou had to take though with Zajac's all-around skills and our total lack of 'true center' depth.

 

That's the crux of the problem there. Nobody was expecting Lou to go out and replace those 60 goals completely, but at least try to get half of 'em back. Plus his attempt at bringing in a cheap replacement (I think Lou imagined Butler would turn into a 20 goal 40 pt forward) was a complete bust.

 

re: Zajac. We already saw hints of this in 10-11 when Parise went out and Travis slumped to 40something points. In his last 40 regular season games he has only 13 pts. Very troubling. We still get reliable defensive play out of him, but Zajac needs a specific type of winger to get offensive from him.

 

Credit him for finding Loktionov, bringing back Poni, and Kostopolous looks good thus far...but we need that 2nd pure goal scorer to take the heat off of Kovy. Somebody who could at least score 30 goals over an 82 game season

Edited by '7'

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That's the crux of the problem there. Nobody was expecting Lou to go out and replace those 60 goals completely, but at least try to get half of 'em back. Plus his attempt at bringing in a cheap replacement (I think Lou imagined Butler would turn into a 20 goal 40 pt forward) was a complete bust.

 

re: Zajac. We already saw hints of this in 10-11 when Parise went out and Travis slumped to 40something points. In his last 40 regular season games he has only 13 pts. Very troubling. We still get reliable defensive play out of him, but Zajac needs a specific type of winger to get offensive from him.

 

Credit him for finding Loktionov, bringing back Poni, and Kostopolous looks good thus far...but we need that 2nd pure goal scorer to take the heat off of Kovy. Somebody who could at least score 30 goals over an 82 game season

I say Zubrus will be the best match with Zajac. Zubrus is a poor mans Parise.

 

EDIT: Oh how I miss the ZZZ line with Zach, Dainius, and Travis, what a forechecking machine that was.

Edited by Zubie#8

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Well now we have a nice 3 day rest, to re-group.

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That's the crux of the problem there. Nobody was expecting Lou to go out and replace those 60 goals completely, but at least try to get half of 'em back. Plus his attempt at bringing in a cheap replacement (I think Lou imagined Butler would turn into a 20 goal 40 pt forward) was a complete bust.

 

re: Zajac. We already saw hints of this in 10-11 when Parise went out and Travis slumped to 40something points. In his last 40 regular season games he has only 13 pts. Very troubling. We still get reliable defensive play out of him, but Zajac needs a specific type of winger to get offensive from him.

 

Credit him for finding Loktionov, bringing back Poni, and Kostopolous looks good thus far...but we need that 2nd pure goal scorer to take the heat off of Kovy. Somebody who could at least score 30 goals over an 82 game season

 

In that year I don't think it's fair to Zajac since everyone was awful, including Kovalchuk despite his GWG run in teh 2nd half. Zajac still had 31 assists w/ NaPalm on his wing (I know it's still not good) and only shot 7.5% which is horribly unlucky. He's only shooting 7.8% this year and you'd have to think that'd bounce back and with it some points. And he shot 14% in the playoffs last year so it's not like he has a Volchenkov/Salvador noodle shot, he can score he's just unlucky. 

 

The assists are something else but nobody's exactly scoring too well right now so I'm still not worried but if you didn't want him to hit UFA and leave you w/ Jacob Josefon in the top 6, you had to pay him 

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When Gomez left, the Devils signed Dainius Zubrus to be a center - a position where he was ok, but certainly not great.  The rest of the Devils' center depth was Travis Zajac, John Madden, and I honestly can't even remember who the 4th line center was that year. Mike Rupp?  Sergei Brylin?  Whatever the case, it necessitated moving Elias to center, and the Devils were fantastically lucky that all these players stayed healthy that year.  Once you lose a center, it's real tough to get one back.

 

The move that could really sting the Devils is the goalies - the Devils pretty much have to finish 15th or better in 2014 for their move to not lose the pick in 2012 to pay off.  It's really hard to do that with .900 goaltending.

Edited by Triumph

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How quickly we forget so many bad moves, contracts and items.

 

Lets just try to remember one: the 2010/2011 John McLean as coach to start and not making the playoffs.

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How quickly we forget so many bad moves, contracts and items.

Lets just try to remember one: the 2010/2011 John McLean as coach to start and not making the playoffs.

In hindsight it was a bad move, but I remember when it happened many people were really happy about him being the head coach. It made sense at the time. With the players we had it made sense to try to be more offensive, unfortunantly McLean failed horrible.

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While I haven't screamed about Lou or DeBoer - I have gotten my knickers in a twist about players and our D.

 

I think I've let the shortened season freak me out.  Thanks for posting this mouse, because it actually really did help me gain my perspective. 

 

There is no huge rush to get this team firing on all cylinders.  The team feels like it's freaked out like me -- but Lou, and the coaching staff aren't.  I knew this but I didn't comprehend it.  I was glad - but the significance just didn't register...and I was still flipping out on players.

 

duhhhh. :smilegah:

 

I get it now.

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He's certainly made some bad moves, Maclean and Rolston the biggest IMO, but he's still an elite GM. Sometimes we forget there are 29 other teams, and none of them are happy to lose to us. Sometimes we're not going to solve a problem just by trying. No matter what, top 6 forwards don't grow on trees, and nobody really wants most of our d, so breaking up the logjam is easier said than done.

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How quickly we forget so many bad moves, contracts and items.

 

Lets just try to remember one: the 2010/2011 John McLean as coach to start and not making the playoffs.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20.  MacLean had put the time in and deserved a chance.  Unfortunately, he failed miserably.  Neither Lou nor anyone else at the time knew it was going to be a disaster.

 

If anything Lou can be faulted for is his loyalty to certain people and love of the known quantity, which is why he brings back so many former players to begin with. 

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i don't know anyone w/ a head that's really calling for lou to be canned. This last month's play people have been blaming the players and deboer simply because he stuck with hedberg as he's been terrible (last night notwithstanding as he was terrific).

 

i've said for years that there are some moves lou makes that are wrong that still might work out. re-signing salvador the most recent. you can't kill him on UFA's he didn't get because none of us really know if he was ever able to in the first place. we can all say hindsight that giving semin a 1 year deal would've been great assuming he played as well as he is in carolina but there's no telling if he would've come to NJ.

 

When Gomez left, the Devils signed Dainius Zubrus to be a center - a position where he was ok, but certainly not great.  The rest of the Devils' center depth was Travis Zajac, John Madden, and I honestly can't even remember who the 4th line center was that year. Mike Rupp?  Sergei Brylin?  Whatever the case, it necessitated moving Elias to center, and the Devils were fantastically lucky that all these players stayed healthy that year.  Once you lose a center, it's real tough to get one back.

 

The move that could really sting the Devils is the goalies - the Devils pretty much have to finish 15th or better in 2014 for their move to not lose the pick in 2012 to pay off.  It's really hard to do that with .900 goaltending.

 

I'm not sure how the goalies have anything to do with the draftpick choice. Unless you're saying that because the Devils have put themselves in a position where goaltending after marty is likely to be poor that they should not be in a position to have a bad draft pick because of it.

 

i'm not terribly concerned about this for next year. i think this year is opening lou's eyes that he can't have marty/moose for next year and that unless we're sure that frazee/kinkaid are ready for NHL duty next year, he's gotta get a true 1A guy and that is not moose.

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He's certainly made some bad moves, Maclean and Rolston the biggest IMO, but he's still an elite GM. Sometimes we forget there are 29 other teams, and none of them are happy to lose to us. Sometimes we're not going to solve a problem just by trying. No matter what, top 6 forwards don't grow on trees, and nobody really wants most of our d, so breaking up the logjam is easier said than done.

In all fairness only I knew how bad the Rolston caper was going to be  :giggle:  this ENTIRE board either forgot how he is in Jersey or thought he'd gotten over it.

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I'm not sure how the goalies have anything to do with the draftpick choice. Unless you're saying that because the Devils have put themselves in a position where goaltending after marty is likely to be poor that they should not be in a position to have a bad draft pick because of it.

 

 

Goaltending after Marty?  Two+ years and playoffs:

 

2010-11:  .903

2011-12:  .908

2011-12 playoffs:  .917

2012-13:  .911

 

That's average-ish, but the guy's 40.  There are just no guarantees at all that he can maintain even this rate.  When your two goalies were drafted back when Zubaz were the hottest thing in men's fashion, you are risking a severe drop in play.  And I don't even think this drop in play is necessarily visible, either - meaning that even if Hedberg is a true talent .880 goalie, the Devils won't find that out until the end of this season.

 

i'm not terribly concerned about this for next year. i think this year is opening lou's eyes that he can't have marty/moose for next year and that unless we're sure that frazee/kinkaid are ready for NHL duty next year, he's gotta get a true 1A guy and that is not moose.

 

I'm not so sure that it is.  And I think that guy is going to be tough to get because a lot of teams are struggling with goaltending these days.

Edited by Triumph

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Goaltending after Marty?  Two+ years and playoffs:

 

2010-11:  .903

2011-12:  .908

2011-12 playoffs:  .917

2012-13:  .911

 

That's average-ish, but the guy's 40.  There are just no guarantees at all that he can maintain even this rate.  When your two goalies were drafted back when Zubaz were the hottest thing in men's fashion, you are risking a severe drop in play.  And I don't even think this drop in play is necessarily visible, either - meaning that even if Hedberg is a true talent .880 goalie, the Devils won't find that out until the end of this season.

 

 

 

I'm not so sure that it is.  And I think that guy is going to be tough to get because a lot of teams are struggling with goaltending these days.

 

tremendous on the zubaz call - i had several pair.

 

also - w/ goaltending league wide being a bit worse, you could say a rising tide raises all ships.

 

there are goalies in the system that, at least, have some pedigree and could conceivably be ok. there's also always money in the banana stand (europe).

Edited by sundstrom

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How quickly we forget so many bad moves, contracts and items.

 

Lets just try to remember one: the 2010/2011 John McLean as coach to start and not making the playoffs.

Did you think it was a bad move to start with? MacLean, who's name you've spelled wrong, was named coach after spending MANY MANY years as assistant coach and then having done fairly well as head coach on the farm. So I'm pretty sure no one saw that sh!t coming. It's absolutely insane to have picked that out, if anything, what was Lou's fault was our roster jam at the beginning of the season that was only saved by Rolston getting hurt and going on LTIR.

Lou has won us 3 Cups, drafted many HOF players and done us fans all pretty well. Now you want to nitpick over his few bad decisions? Like you never make one or something. On the Cups and Finals trips alone, he could have basically been sleeping the rest of the time and it's still ok.

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Lou hasnt been very good since the last lockout in a number of areas. People can wax poetic about the three cups and thats great, but that is not the subject of how to handle the future.

Bringing up bad teams and their GM situations is really not specific to the Devils. Its apples and oranges.

It is time to start pondering the succession. I dont want Lou fired or embarrassed at all, but he is at the point where there is real merit to the conversation of change and having some fresh ideas and such.

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Lou hasnt been very good since the last lockout in a number of areas. People can wax poetic about the three cups and thats great, but that is not the subject of how to handle the future.

 

I don't buy that anymore. Initially, without question he made some bad moves. Now he's opting for cap flexibility, and doing a good job of it. He had money to keep Zajac, he has space for the next few years to keep Henrique, and Kovy's locked up. He needs one more good forward, but he's not crippling his future moves by taking the best available for too much (Rolston). Sometimes what you want isn't there, and that hurts, but that's not on the GM, or anybody else.

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Bringing up bad teams and their GM situations is really not specific to the Devils. Its apples and oranges.

It is time to start pondering the succession. I dont want Lou fired or embarrassed at all, but he is at the point where there is real merit to the conversation of change and having some fresh ideas and such.

I agree with the suggestion that it's time to start thinking of Life after Lou. The guy's in his 70's, and I think 2 more years (3 at the absolute max) is all he's really looking for.

Regarding the goaltending situation however.. I fork ZERO blame on Lamoriello.

Marty has missed nearly 80 games due to injury since 2009, and his paying for the 15 years where he played 75+ games a season. He's breaking down like a 40 year old goalie playing over 1,200 games would.. and Lou locked up Johan to play alongside him with the best intentions that the previous 2 season worth of track-record would repeat itself. -and why wouldn't it? Moose has nearly 40 victories since becoming a Devil. He's been the best backup\co-starter goalie a Devils fan could ask for. Better than Vanbiesbrouck, better than Weekes, and yes.. even better than Clemmensen.

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