This isn't about giving the owners benefit of the doubt or not. It's hard to understand exactly what Lou said or not, and even if he blamed everything on the new owners, would it bother me? No.
These owners have deep deep pockets. They spent a ton of money on other things within the organization, and up to this off-season, I am betting Lou would have been able to sign any free agent he'd want.
As for what Lou was probably saying, it's mostly about the Parise stuff. That's where the organization has not been able to recover from. Not only did they not sign him, but that off-season they didn't replace him with a single NHL free agent. Plan B(utler) was a shame. Lou couldn't do a thing, so I think that's mostly what he is referring too.
Obviously, the Devils are where they are now for a reason, but I don't think Lou was told the Devils would not be spending money this off-season in Feb or March when he was already looking for a new GM.
I still think that offseason once Parise was off the table they should have gone after Semin. He and Kovalchuk I think could have been good together. Obviously Kovalchuk later left us high and dry, but who knows how things might have been different if we gave him someone to play with.
He didn't leave when VDB was still owner, he left now. Sure he thought about it, that's why he said 5 years. But he left today, not 5 years ago. You guys are just giving the owners every benefit of the doubt. Sure you can make tangential claims like, "Who would we have gotten?" but we won't know because we don't know the restrictions they were under. Maybe we trade for Kessel, maybe we signed Statsny, maybe a lot of things. But when the GM and President references financials as a reason he left, it wasn't because of the guy that signed his checks a couple years ago; that would be irrational of him. That isn't reading into anything, that is reading common, rational human action. VDB is to blame for the financial struggles and why Lou began to feel shackled, but Lou stayed on beyond VDB and left with these owners. He did have the itch still but he referenced financial restrictions of why he didn't stay in NJ too. You can't ignore that.
Maybe, but I'm inclined to believe that he blames a lot of the recent struggles on financial instability that arose during the Vanderbeek ownership. Lou is a very proud guy and will not ever publicly give excuses for poor performance, but I think that's what this is in reference to.
Out of curiosity, is there any reason why Portland hasn't been in the discussions for another West Coast team? They used to be front and center of these things (remember when YankeeNets was selling the Devils, Portland was a frontrunner in where we might have ended up) and now I hear nothing about them.