Re: the A-Line, Lou blew it up because it wasn't very good in 2001-02. They were damned near invisible on the road. When fans bring up its prowess, they tend to remember 2000 and 2001, but forget 2002.
Re: the 2010-11 team, when you get off to a 10-29-2 start, let's face it, even though the players all have to say the right things, none of them are thinking about making the playoffs at that point...there wasn't much pressure on them, though I think there was a lot of it on Kovy...Year #1 of a megadeal, a god-awful start, booed on his own turf, trying to improve his all-around game, probably for the first time ever at the NHL level. The second half of that season was odd, in that to start the second half, the Devils suddenly started scoring goals for seven games (mostly because Rolston's shooting luck, just as suddenly, changed for the better). Then their offense pretty much disappeared again, but they started winning a slew of low-scoring, one-goal games due to timely scoring. Then it came apart just enough (though it's damned near impossible to keep up a 23-3-2 pace, especially when the team isn't really scoring) at the end, but overall, the record was probably on the low end of what the Devils were that season, with Zach missing so much time. They should've been better than 38-39-5, but I don't know HOW much better...had Lemaire been coaching from the outset, maybe 6-10 points better? Who knows? Doesn't really matter anyway, can't get a DeLorean with a flux capacitor to replay that season.
I know there haven't been too many "Fire DeBoer!" types, in the grand scheme, but the Devils DO respond to him, and they DO play hard. They just lack depth and don't have a lot of guys capable of cashing on their chances, and when one of your top guys gets hurt, and the ones you're counting on to put home the puck (Elias, Zajac) flat-out aren't doing that, not hard to see what's going to happen. The Devils are in a position where they now have to count on Clarkson to score, which is NOT good...not knocking Clarkson, but he's the kind of guy who should be looked at as a "bonus" kind of scorer, not a guy the Devils NEED to score.