With the Devils out of the playoffs, it’s a little hard not to wonder if Devils’ coach Lou Lamoriello really needed to fire coach Claude Julien right before the playoffs.
If you buy into the idea that the Devils went down because goalie Martin Brodeur wasn’t good enough, it doesn’t really matter.
For the record, Brodeur’s save percentage in the playoffs was actually comparable to Ottawa’s Ray Emery, who helped bounce Brodeur’s Devils out of the playoffs.
Larry Brooks blames Tampa for the Devils’ loss, spotlighting the fact that Tampa showed that if you throw enough pucks at Brodeur, he’ll eventually crack. Brooks also wrote about how if you tire out the Devils’ checking line, they’re just not as effective.
Jim Kelley is still a big Lamoriello fan, though.
I don’t think you can really blame Brodeur for the Devils going down to Ottawa. They’re a team with a shockingly thin defense given the culture of the team. They also don’t have a ton of speed. As Brooks pointed out in his Sunday NHL column, the Devils aren’t built for the current NHL.
As far as Lamoriello blowing things by firing Julien, I really have the feeling this is going to come back and hurt the Devils. The Devils really need a coach who has some ability to coach at least a semblance of an uptempo style at one or two points during a game, or even a series. I’m not sure what kind of innovation Lamoriello will attract with everyone just waiting around for the coach to be fired in April.
In terms of Scott Gomez leaving the Devils, they might be better off focusing their search on more of a franchise defenseman. But to be honest, I’m not even sure who’ll be around this summer. But if the Devils use all of their cap space on Gomez, there’s a pretty good chance they might not even make it into the playoffs next season.