so i'm going to come at this in a different way. there's a bunch of discussions in various threads over where to go from here and what is really ailing the devils.
let's get past the ray moves that didn't work. can we all agree that, aside from perhaps simmonds who we would've liked to give the roster spot to a kid and have that be an earn it spot for boqvist and other bingo guys, every move made total sense and in the end, just didn't work? for my point, i'm going to say yes, we're in agreement.
so here we are with a team that is clearly playing badly, is coached poorly, and looks unmotivated.
lets tackle each area:
coaching and system deployment:
- simply put, the entire staff should be replaced. kowalski's PP management has been awful. nas either when he was strictly D coach or head coach continues to make R-R and L-L pairings to the detriment of the team. grier - i don't know what he does. molanson - where have the goalies done anything to credit a coach.
- the devils system is broken - their breakouts make it much too easy for a forechecking team to attack and not provide suitable outlets - the forwards are essentially stationary by the red line or the opposing blue line waiting for a stretch pass. it hasn't worked for a long time - why does it still remain? in the d-zone, there is no pressure up high and they consistently lose men in "the house" down by the goal
player personnel - i liked the ray moves but they didn't pay off
- its time to cut bait on just about everything that isn't a true core player 3 years from now. i will say the exception to this is palmieri, coleman and maybe severson.
- we're stuck with PK and if he's going to be the #3 and actually be used properly on the PP, we can work with that. his attitude is still an asset which i'll get to in a bit.
- get players that are properly placed for the rolls that you want them to do
- its cliche and gets eyerolls all the time but it's about the "right players", not the "best players". the attitude of too many of these guys is rotten. i get that it's tough to put forth an effort when its a lost an losing season. but have some pride. where is the guy that says, "fvck you - i'm going to bust my ass because i'm the better player and I'll show you and I'll show them." that effort just hasn't been there. I'm not saying to get a team of plugs and facepunchers. there has to be some skill. but the bratts and boqvists and nicos and butchers - play with some pride please and play tough.
team attitude - the hidden issue
- more from the last piece but you know who's not getting any blame and perhaps should to some extent? Dr. Aimee Kimball? Who? The Team shrink (not officially her title). All the "Earn The B" and motivations and play for your team stuff - that is her department. And that's where we don't see it. Who is actually playing hard? Who doesn't looks like they're "going for a nice leisurely skate"? of course this is on coaching but she's part of the team that's supposed to get in guys heads and recognize if they have it in them or not.
- PK for all his bad play, is by all accounts, a terrific teammate and all around good person. this guy loves life and pulsates positivity. he can be on my team with that. but there just aren't those guys that are going to battle and push and demand a strong game on this team. the leadership is too old to do this and lead by example and it's not their type of play anyway. the only guy that kinda has this is coleman. maybe palms. but its not in nico's nature. hughes was bar mitzvah'd 5 minutes ago and isn't in the mold that's taking over this team at 20 like landescog or crosby or mcdavid did.
- this is the accountability we're talking about. it's not about a coach scratching a guy that played poorly. it's about looking a teammate in the eye and saying, you didn't give it everything and I did. the issue is, none of them are giving everything so nobody can hold anyone accountable.
WWSD? - What would Sundstrom Do?
Next year's team is Nico, Hughes, Palmieri, Blackwood, Coleman, Palmieri, Zajac, Subban. As far as I am concerned, literally everyone else on this team can go and get replaced with the right attitude guys.
We must get a coach and staff in that can see obvious issues and be able to correct them. I'm not going to say i know who that is but he's not on this ship right now.
tl;dr - get rid of everything that is not essential and bring in guys that care.