Monday, April 02, 2007

Lamoriello cans his coach

A day after they defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 to move back into first place in the Atlantic Division, the New Jersey Devils made the most unexpected coaching change of the season, firing Claude Julien and replacing him behind the bench with general manager Lou Lamoriello.

The move came out of nowhere, given the fact that the Devils had won two games in a row; and had stayed competitive in the Eastern Conference playoff race, despite playing without key forwards John Madden, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez for significant portions of March.
Bizarre news.

The Devils have three games remaining in their season, are leading the Atlantic Division with a fairly motley crew and Julien was a Jack Adams candidate as the league's top coach.

Obviously there are some tensions behind the scenes to which we haven't been privy to — but my guess is that's something that will come out over the next few days. Duhatschek notes that many players looked at the team's coaching situation as one where Lamoriello was pulling the strings from on high anyway.

Of course, hockey's wiliest GM has pulled this stunt more than once before, which makes me wonder just who will be willing to take on the Devils' coaching role in the future given their volatile boss and a lack of job security.

Julien, meanwhile, has a terrific win percentage as a bench boss, but has now been fired in consecutive seasons.

UPDATE Bill Watters said on Leafs Lunch this afternoon that players had complained about Julien's tactics in the past few weeks and that this was likely the reason Lamoriello made the move.'

UPDATE Lamoriello was on WFAN today at 4 p.m., and said the decision was not due to any personal circumstances regarding Julien, and that he will remain part of the organization in some other role.

"It came to a point where, were this decision not made, I would not be doing my job," Lamoriello said.



At 1:55 p.m., April 02, 2007, Blogger El Brucio said...

Ridiculous move on paper, but you have to think there was something personal/not hockey related that caused this.

But if the reasoning turns out to be rather frivolous and just Lou being power hungry, then I hope the people who vote for the Adams do the right thing and award it to Julien.

But I also could see Pat Burns coming back for the gig next year.

At 3:03 p.m., April 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Lou made the right move. I mean come on...has he ever done anything wrong?! Haha...he and Marty run that show.

At 4:45 p.m., April 02, 2007, Anonymous Hooks Orpik said...

Does anyone else get the feeling thatcoaching the New Jersey Devils must be like coaching the Oakland A's?

It really doesn't matter what you do, due to such a commanding presence from above. It's the system that's important and the coach is the most interchangable cog in the wheel.

At 6:16 p.m., April 02, 2007, Blogger Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Lamoriello's a moron for doing this.

At 7:02 p.m., April 02, 2007, Anonymous Tom L said...

"It came to a point where, were this decision not made, I would not be doing my job," Lamoriello said.

Yeah, like assembling a top-heavy, salary-cap-strapped bunch of plumbers and blaming the coach for the wrong direction the team was taking....

The GM provides the players and the coach does the best with what he has... and, in my mind, Julien did the best with what Lou gave him...47 wins is hard to argue with.

At least when the Devils get ousted like they did last year, Lou will only be able to look at himself to blame....


At 10:55 p.m., April 02, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julien did not do the best with what he was given. Go down the roster and look at the player stats. Zach Parise is the only one to exceed expectations, and that's only because of his work ethic. The Devils now have a chance to make it farther than the second round because they now have someone who will expect more.Julien was a coddler,"it's ok boys, you did the best could."
The truth is they didn't, and that's why the are battling the Penguins for the division.

At 2:05 a.m., April 03, 2007, Blogger Stevens8204 said...

This was the right had to be made....when Lou was boss...this team scored to more loose pucks...and played harder period!! A Pat Burns kind of work ethic if you will. Gomez has become so predictable under Julien's system that other teams don't fear the top line...they fear the second line. A team has to have 2 working, scoring lines come playoff time or they won't go anywhere.

This was far from a power trip....Julien let this team become complacent..and now that time is over.

At 9:32 a.m., April 03, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thing the Devils aren't hamstrung by the cap by handing out lifetime contracts to diminishing talents like Brodeur and Elias.

At 9:51 a.m., April 03, 2007, Blogger mike said...

Lou got lucky with this move a few years back, but this time it will not work out. Brodeur has been the real problem for this team over the past month or two--he'll shut someone out one night and then give up 4 goals on 20 shots the next. That is not going to beat anyone come playoff time.

I saw a rumor that this move was somehow tied into working Matvichuk into the lineup...that's a bigger reason for Lou to fire a coach then what his players feel about the guy.

At 10:03 a.m., April 03, 2007, Blogger Matt said...

"Good thing the Devils aren't hamstrung by the cap by handing out lifetime contracts to diminishing talents like Brodeur"

If you think Brodeur's talent's diminishing, I'd like some of what you're having.


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