Oh ya, I thought the Flyers would sweep the Devils.
Alright, on to the good (and yes I said feel free to share anything positive you wrote either, but it is partially good as I changed my tune a bit on Jamie, who I was defending a lot). A lot of people were down when veteran defenseman Colin White was bought out. It turned out to be a fine move. Below is what I wrote at the time, and I think a lot of it worked out the way I was hoping. All year we heard about how well the entire team get along and enjoyed hanging out with each other, how special this group was. We probably heard that maybe 1000 times. It made me wonder about how rough it was the past few years. Everyone seemed to like guys like Pandolfo, White, Rolston and Jamie, but when they aren't happy with their play or happy with who is playing where they think they should be, maybe they just aren't so great to be around or aren't so nice to those kids taking their spots. Either way, this was a really happy group. A new young team with great leadership.
I think we're seeing Lou finally...finally...get what so many of us wanted over the years. To change the old guard, the coach killers, etc. It's just Brodeur and Elias...that's it. Even if Lou wanted to get rid of Elias (not seeing he wants to or ever would just it's almost impossible). Two players with rings. That might scare people, but I for one welcome our new inexperienced overlords. Clearly it wasn't working, and you can't be unhappy about Larry, Lou, Julien, Lou, Sutter, Lemaire, MacLean, Lemaire, Deboer, and then be unhappy with these moves. It took Lou long enough, but past success and loyalty turned into a combination of self-entitlement, groupthink, and then the disease of me.
Maybe it took Lou to see Claude Julien take an inexperienced Bruins team to the Cup finals to say maybe it was them and not the damn coach. It finally took Lou a few years to forget about the past and do what's right for this team to succeed moving forward. Follow the NFL route where veterans (no matter how successful in the past) are cut at the right time, which is as soon as they start to decline, or sometimes right before.
And maybe, I was guilty of this last year, but am finally seeing it a lot more clearer. A guy like Rolston might be the nicest guy in the locker room, and a guy like Jamie might be a great guy for the younger guys like Zach and Travis, but that doesn't mean that they deserve what they want, and it doesn't mean they can act the way they do. When you become a Devil, respecting the history, the crest on the front and not the name on the back, the team values, and so on is what you are taught and what you should follow. Guys like Pandolfo, Rolston, White, Langenbrunner, Arnott, Madden, even Elias are the players you respect. They are the veterans, the warriors, the champions But the reality is they were not acting like leaders. The last few years has not always been a good environment for younger players. And it probably was a partial reason why this team has gone in prolong slumps. Younger players were probably taking the wrong cues from veteran players.
As corny as it sounds, the past is almost finished being wiped away. It's time for a new beginning, a new generation and new leaders. This is an exciting time. There will be growing pains, and there will be bumps. But these bumps will be much better than the ones of the past 6 years. Because Lou and the Devils are doing it the right way.