Be specific then - should Lou have traded Clarkson and Parise? What the hell is it that you want?
SD and others of his ilk want to be able to second-guess everything Lou does when things doesn't work out. "Well then he should have done THIS, he should have done THAT." They're no different from the fans who think every game on the schedule is a winnable entity. No matter what Lou does, no matter what approach he takes, at some point, there's going to be a valley. To his credit, I think he's done what he could to try to stave it off. After Kovy left, Lou could've said "Maybe it's time to step back a little," even though he knew he was going to lose his 1st-rounder, but he didn't do that. He tried to get some bodies in here that could help, and a lot of us did like the moves he was making as he was making them.
Since SD just loves to bitch, whine and moan about Lou's approach as of late, let's analyze the last three seasons, which I guess could be called a "dark period", in that the team missed the playoffs two out of the last three seasons:
2010-11: NO ONE saw that first half from hell coming. Classic case of everything that could go wrong went wrong in that first half...injuries, some players woefully underperforming. Easy to knock the choice of John MacLean as head coach, but he had been with the organization for a while and had done a solid job in the AHL. All things considered, that team did a nice job recovering...they could have bailed, quit, but they didn't, even though they were never really a factor in the playoff race.
2011-12: Got all the way to the SC Finals. Some would now like to call this a fluke, but I don't think it was...yes, moreso than ever, the NHL playoffs have a crapshoot feel to them, and they could have lost to Florida in the first round...but they DIDN'T. I'm not going to take anything away from the Devils.
2013: Unfortunately, a lot of this year was a case of both goalies, both of whom had played well the year before, seemingly getting old overnight. The terrible aggregate save% was a killer. We know how bad both of them were, though both were good at times...of course, the team also stopped scoring. One can make an argument that Kinkaid could've been given some starts when Hedberg was playing some God-awful hockey. Hedberg was comically bad from 2/16 to 3/9 (9 consecutive starts)...he put up an .856 save% in those games. I think based on the year both goalies had in 2011-12, DeBoer just kept hoping they would get it going, but I think he probably gave Hedberg a longer leash than he deserved, and let's face it, the plan was never for Hedberg to play in 19 games that season...Marty getting hurt necessitated it. That was also the first year the Devils weren't successful in shootouts and OT...they went 2-7 in the the shootout and 1-3 in OT (3-10 combined).
Re: Clarkson, yeah, like Tri said, Devils really weren't in a position to trade him, and even if they did, I don't think the return would've been that great...by the time the deadline had rolled around, the goals had stopped going in for him. Probably a couple of middle-round draft picks, a mid-rounder and a middling prospect, maybe. Teams would've tried to get him on the cheap.
I think Marshall states it perfectly SD...what exactly is it that you want from Lou? You bitch about his approach, but it has mostly worked for him, and you seem to think if he had changed his approach or "adapted" to what you think he should now be, that everything would be fine. There's teams that HAVE taken the tact you want Lou to now take (Tampa Bay, Ottawa...both teams locked up their stars before they got away), and it didn't work out for them either. I think you're also forgetting that Lou DID lose key players to UFA even when you claim his approach "worked", and made it sound like everyone was willing to stick around for market value or less just because the Devils were successful. Alexander Mogilny, Bobby Holik, Doug Gilmour...and Mogilny and Holik left when the Devils were at their peak...Mogilny took off after playing in consecutive Cup finals, and Holik left the following season. We all know part of the problem is: when guys have been leaving as of late, the Devils don't have the youth that can step in and either replace what was lost (like Madden did for Holik), or fortify already strong areas (like Rafalski did), but it all goes back to the same premise...no matter what approach a GM takes, there's bound to be a period where things don't go your way, where even the on-paper "makes sense" move doesn't work out. You seem to think that almost the second a certain approach doesn't pay dividends, then it's time to switch, and that somehow making the switch will almost automatically pay off.
Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976, 06 November 2013 - 07:57 AM.