Monday, April 2, 2007


The New Jersey Devils have fired head coach Claude Julien. GM Lou Lamiorello will coach for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

I have no problem with Sweet Lou's hockey moves, and no one in their right mind can argue with 3 Stanley Cups in the past 12 years. But what the hell happened here? Imagine you coach a team all year to first place in the division and 2nd place in the East with 3 games to go, and then being unceremoniously kicked out the door. Maybe Claude insulted Lou on the color of his tie during dinner last night, I don't know. Lou has pulled this stunt before, shitcanning Robbie Ftorek with 4 games to go and plugging in Larry Robinson to win the Cup in 2000. But they were sucking at the time, and no one liked the bench throwing Ftorek.

By some accounts, Julien seems like an idiot incapable of tying the laces on a hockey skate. Okay, by my account alone he seems like an idiot. I liken him to the Red Sox Terry Francona: just get out of the way and let them play. But I haven't heard anything about him not getting along with the team, or being disliked by the media. On the contrary, he's barely ever interviewed and generally has only positive things to say. But this is Lou we're talking about, so there must be a good reason.

On the other hand, despite his reputation as a shrwed businessman, Lou is partially to blame for the Devils not being the premiere team in the NY area despite all their success. I understand that the Rangers are THE TEAM, and the Isles won 4 Cups before the Devils became the 3rd man in. But the 1st place Devils are languishing in the bottom 4 of the NHL attendance figures in percent seats sold, and part of that has to do with the way the team is marketed, something Old School Lou probably doesn't have the best grasp on. The other problem is having a team in an area with plenty of other ways to spend your money (see: Boston, Chicago, Washington). If you put this team in Winnipeg, Quebec, or Saskatoon, I bet they'd have 22K there every night and people would be tattooing Lou's name on their asses. (Calgary somehow averages 112% of their arena capacity. Are fans sitting on each other's laps? Does the fire marshall know about this?)

Regardless, I can't argue with the move since I don't know much about Julien, and it seemed like he was merely a puppet. Hopefully, this won't affect their playoff run (which I don't see going very long anyway).

No comments: