Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: lou lamoriello
From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:
Two years after Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment made a controversial bet on Shanahan – who had never worked for an NHL team in any capacity – what he will say is that he feels the Leafs are ahead of where he expected them to be.
He has a top coach in Mike Babcock, with a Stanley Cup and Olympic-gold pedigree. He has an experienced general manager in his 73-year-old mentor Lou Lamoriello, working on transactions. He has an up-and-coming executive in Kyle Dubas, managing the minor leagues (where the Toronto Marlies finished at the top of the standings), a renowned bird dog in director of player personnel in Mark Hunter and a cap guru in Brandon Pridham.
After the weekend, Shanahan also has 18-year-old wunderkind Auston Matthews, the projected star centre the Leafs selected first overall at the entry draft in Buffalo.
It’s a start.
“I had an idea before I even accepted the job of what needed to happen in Toronto,” Shanahan said in a wide-ranging conversation with The Globe and Mail about the rebuild the Leaf organization is undergoing. “But because I’ve gotten support [from ownership], things have fallen into place a little bit quicker. Other people have bought into it and come aboard.
“In each of my [hiring] meetings – whether it’s been with Mike Babcock or Lou Lamoriello or Kyle Dubas, Mark Hunter, Brandon Pridham – my approach has been honesty. ‘This is who we are. We need your help. We have a long way to go.’ But I like some of the early signs. And we’ve had some luck, obviously, with the lottery draft. It was nice to have a little bit of luck on our side, as well.”
from Adam Proteau of the Leafs' website,
MapleLeafs.com: You’ve been in Toronto for almost a year now. What have you learned about the market that you may not have known before?
Lou Lamoriello: Well, I don't know if it's what I didn't know about it, it was more reaffirming what I thought it was all about: the passion of the fans for the Maple Leafs, and the amount of people who are aware of the sport. I always thought there was a lot, but it's like everywhere, and anyone. And also, the coverage is what I expected, which is similar to Stanley Cup coverage.
MapleLeafs.com: When you look back at the 2015-16 season, the general consensus in the press box was that, whether it was affected by injuries, trades or other roster movements, you really didn't see any change in effort from the team from game-to-game. Is that a credit to the work we saw from Leafs head coach Mike Babcock and Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe?
Lou Lamoriello: Without question. Right from the first day of training camp, Mike established what would be happening, Sheldon spent plenty of time with Mike at that time, he was very open with all coaches (in the organization). And the culture was set with what was going to happen on that ice. The players followed, bought into it, and consistently did that throughout the year.
There was never a question for me that that would happen. And what it allowed us to do certainly was to see how many embraced it, and how many improved on it, because the word is accountability: their accountability to what's asked, their accountability to themselves, and certainly, to the organization.
His favorite sone must be....
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
He says he won’t think about the possibility of drafting Auston Matthews first overall, the probability of Steven Stamkos’ availability in free agency, the opportunity left behind by the Maple Leafs new-found salary cap flexibility.
“I’m not even thinking about where we pick in the draft,” said Lamoriello in a lengthy exclusive conversation on Wednesday. “You plan for every possibility. You prepare. You never know what might come about.
“The thing you can’t do is jump ahead of yourself. I work very hard at not thinking that way. You can’t get wrapped up in ‘what if?’ (Last June’s draft and how close the Leafs came to Connor McDavid) is a great example of why you don’t get yourself wrapped up in that. You can’t have an idealist attitude, you need a realistic approach. I worry about today and tomorrow. That’s how I think. I’m not worried about next week, yet. We have an awful lot of work to do here.
“If you think this is easy, I can tell you, it’s not.”
from Jonas Siegel of TSN,
Like a military unit, solidarity is established everywhere possible. Obvious are the changes in appearance of Leafs players. The beard of Roman Polak is gone. The longish locks of P.A. Parenteau have been trimmed. Any personal grooming details that separate the individual from the team (save for Movember moustaches) are no longer permissible.
Individuality has been dashed otherwise. Lupe's Troops, the game-night tribute to members of the Canadian military once presented by Joffrey Lupul (and Luke Schenn before that) became Leafs Troops when the regular season began. Phaneuf's Friends in the Captain's Corner – a charitable establishment from team captain Dion Phaneuf – was vanquished from the game-night presentation.
Other NHL clubs don't operate quite like this.
In Nashville, placards hung in the rafters of Bridgestone Arena for the charities of Shea Weber, Pekka Rinne, Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher and Eric Nystrom. In Dallas, glossy cut-outs of Tyler Seguin sat on seats in the lower bowl before a game against the Leafs. The Stars winger was being celebrated and singled out.
Not so in Toronto under Lamoriello. The team, and not the individual, is the sole focus.
"I know one thing, teams will always win championships, but individual players will win games for you," said Lamoriello, a three-time Stanley Cup champion. "And I think what we're trying to establish here is to set a path toward the ability to win championships."
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
After what seemed a lifetime as grand emperor of the Devils, Lou Lamoriello made his first appearance at the Garden on Friday as general manager of the Maple Leafs.
“Re-energized is a good word [for how I feel],” Lamoriello said before his team was beaten 3-1 by the Blueshirts. “But that’s because of the challenge there.
“Toronto is Toronto. Toronto is hockey. I don’t apologize for saying that,” the GM said. “Toronto should be the Yankees of the NHL. That’s my feeling.”...
Lamoriello acted as sheriff, mayor and justice of the peace in New Jersey. But in Toronto, Shanahan is president. Mike Babcock, in place when Lamoriello was hired, is the coach whom the GM will not be firing.
“I’ve known Mike for a long time; you can throw Brendan in there, too,” Lamoriello said. “They’re very secure in their own skin.
“Everyone has an opinion, but as far as what people think and do, no one can ever come between the three of us.”
a bit more
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
LeBrun: A good place to start: What's the adjustment been like after being with the Devils for so long, the way things were there, to coming here where things are obviously different?
Lamoriello: The people have been great. From the transition end of it, I couldn't have asked for more. As far as being different, naturally things are different. When you've been accustomed to doing things a certain way for so long, it's not saying they're right or wrong, you have to take time to see exactly what and how people are doing things.
LeBrun: Sometimes change is good; people can get complacent being somewhere too long. Do you feel re-energized?
Lamoriello: I do. I don't know if I got complacent by any means ... but right now, yeah, I feel good. I think coming to Toronto, the way the fans have been, the receptiveness, I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be interesting. I know what the obstacles are, you have to be realistic. Some people have asked about the plan being long-term, that doesn't affect me if I don't see the fruits of it immediately. It's just being a part of the process and doing things and not worrying about the end results. Do all the things that are in your control to help it get to a point. That's what motivates you.
LeBrun: You beat me to an area I was going to touch on. In all the years you've been around, I don't remember you ever using the word "rebuild" --
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Lamoriello might have won the first round, but in a rare show of unanimity, senior managers at both Bell and Rogers are unhappy with the policy. These are people who have the ears of Rogers Communications Inc. chief executive officer Guy Laurence and BCE Inc. CEO George Cope, who both sit on the board of directors of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
One of those senior executives said Monday the issue of broadcasters riding on the team charter is not going away. He and his colleagues at the other telco do not want to see Lamoriello operate the Leafs the same way he ran the New Jersey Devils from 1987 to 2015, where even the most minor decisions required his stamp of approval. They plan to keep the pressure on the Leafs GM.
This could get mighty interesting because compromise is not something that comes easily to Lamoriello. And he’s an influential executive who has a long list of successful hockey people around the league who consider him a mentor. One of them is Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, who hired Lamoriello in the summer as part of a bid to transform the team from wealthy, soft loser to battle-hardened winner.
The owners are all in favour of a culture change driven by Shanahan, Lamoriello and head coach Mike Babcock. Up to a point. They believe it was all well and good for Lamoriello to operate the Devils much the same way he ran the sports programs at Providence College before that. But the Devils, despite all their success under Lamoriello, were not owned by two massive media companies, and their tickets were never the hardest to get in a rich, hockey-crazed market.
Lou Lamoriello spoke to the media about how he’ll build the Maple Leafs slowly, and gave them a key piece of advice when it comes to playing for their new coach.
From the Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger:
In the first of this two-part series, the new Leafs coach sat down with the Toronto Sun to open up on a variety of topics, including Dion Phaneuf, Nazem Kadri, Lamoriello and, most importantly, re-establishing the Maple Leafs brand in the hockey world.
“We’re an Original Six franchise that doesn’t hold our rightful place in the National Hockey league right now,” he says. “We will.”
How? Even Babcock is aware of the perception that, rightly or wrongly, some players don’t want to be play in Toronto, whether it’s because of the franchise’s recent futility or because of the fishbowl that comes with being a Leaf.
“Maybe not now,” he says confidently. “But they are going to come.
“What was the line in that movie Field of Dreams? ‘If you build it, they will come.’
“So, there ya go.”
Among the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' sports notes...
Lou Lamoriello is an autocrat. Although, a former NHL general manager referred to him the other day as a dictator. Mike Babcock is somewhat of an autocrat as a coach. It’s his way or the highway. Jacques Lemaire is about as rigid as they come. What’s going to be fascinating is how these men of large minds, large egos, and total belief in their own ways find a way to work together. The Leafs could be way more interesting off the ice than on it ...
I see where young Auston Matthews, likely first pick in the 2016 NHL entry draft, will be paid $400,000 to play in Zurich this season. That’s slightly more than the going rate for under the table money in the OHL ...
The NHL’s summer? Superstar Patrick Kane investigated; Ryan O’Reilly arrested; Slava Voynov off to jail; Jarret Stoll caught with cocaine; Mike Richards, first investigated, then had his contract voided; And the Canadian dollar just keeps on dropping. And how was your summer? ...
This will surprise some Leaf fans: Dave Nonis, the fired general manager, had three offers to join NHL teams before deciding to take a senior consultant’s job with the Anaheim Ducks. Among the teams interested in Nonis were the Montreal Canadiens ...
And this one, we're familiar with in Metro Detroit, because far, far more of a stretch than it's made out to be in the out-of-town circles:
Many who admire Mike Ilitch, owner of the Red Wings and Tigers, are concerned about his ability to properly operate his franchises. Ilitch is 86, not in the best health, and there is a lot of family interference around him these days. The Dombrowski firing seemed odd as did the quick hiring of Alex Avila to replace him.
Simmons continues and comments on the Patrick Kane situation...
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, auston+matthews, dave+nonis, detroit+red+wings, jacques+lemaire, jarret+stoll, lou+lamoriello, mike+babcock, mike+ilitch, mike+richards, patrick+kane, ryan+o'reilly, slava+voynov, toronto+maple+leafs
Via the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere, St. Louis Blues assistant GM Martin Brodeur had some interesting things to say to NHL.com's Arpon Basu regarding Lou Lamoriello leaving the Devils for Toronto, as well as Brodeur's own post-hockey career path:
Though he admits he hesitated about the decision to join the Blues on a more permanent basis because he wanted to return to work for the Devils, in retrospect he said he's happy with his decision.
"[The Blues] offered me the job, and I had to think about it a little bit," Brodeur said. "I would have liked to go back to New Jersey, so it took some time for me to make my decision. But for me to go back there after everything that's happened in New Jersey lately, I think I made the right move."
Brodeur said he did have an offer to work for the Devils, but it was not in a front office role and he preferred the offer from the Blues. In any case, with the changing of the guard under Shero, Brodeur feels less of an attachment to the Devils, who he played for 21 of his 22 NHL seasons.
"There's nothing bad that happened with the Devils, at least from my side of things anyway," Brodeur said. "With all the new faces over there, for me to walk into the arena in New Jersey now would be like walking into any team's arena for me because everyone is gone. It would be as if I was joining Pittsburgh instead."
from Ken Daneyko at The Players' Tribune,
I’ve never told anyone this story until now, but during the second game of Lou’s tenure, we were playing in Toronto, and they were really giving it to us. One of Lou’s biggest frustrations with the team he inherited wasn’t just that we weren’t all that good, but that we’d get beat up and pushed around too much. In general, we didn’t carry ourselves in a way that demanded respect. At some point during the game against the Leafs, Claude Loiselle received an elbow to the head by Wendel Clark, a talented young player who was tough as nails. It looked bad, and Claude was woozy coming to bench.
After seeing that, I hopped over the boards for my shift and challenged Wendel to a fight at center ice. I don’t remember who won it, but I’m going to safely assume I took a few good shots.
We ended up losing the game, but afterwards Lou came up to me and stuck his hand out to shake mine, and I noticed he was gripping a couple of $100 bills. My eyes kind of widened and I looked at him seriously and said, “What’s this for?”
He goes, “I like what you did tonight. You stuck up for a teammate. Now take this and get yourself something nice.” I said, “That’s not necessary. This is my job.” Then Lou got a little hot, looked me in my eye and said (minus the expletives), “I want this team to understand that we’re in this together, thick and thin, on and off the ice. Read between the lines!”
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
... with the coach Mike Babcock already hired and not the least bit intimidated about what the GM may or may not say or want to do and Brendan Shanahan evidently making the real calls in the organization, you have to wonder as to how effective he’ll be. After all, when he was in Jersey he was pretty much all powerful. What he said was law until the final days of his time there. In this case, it’s Babcock who holds all the power when it comes to running the team.
Lamoriello’s peculiar dictates ran the Devils and it made life miserable for many, which is why most players tried to get out of New Jersey as quickly as possible with the exception of lifers like Patrick Elias, Martin Brodeur and Ken Daneyko.
Who can forget Igor Larionov telling the story of how, at age 42, when he was finishing his career, he wasn’t supposed to have a glass of wine with his dinner the night before the game. And, as we know now given his involement in Napa, Iggy understandably took wine very seriously.
In the team pictures taken in civilian clothes, everyone had to wear the same color shirt and tie. Members of the media were not allowed to go into any of the coaches’ offices, even if invited, which they most assuredly were not but only because of Lou’s dictates. No player was allowed facial hair as he obviously considered them far too immature to be able to make their own personal choices.
Legend had it he had security cameras installed in the hallway so he could tell which player was talking with which reporter at all times.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
In a Maple Leafs dressing room too often stuffed with inflated egos, personal agendas and a greater concern for personal stats rather than the overall standings, the arrivals of Mike Babcock and, now, Lou Lamoriello, are a sobering reality check for all concerned.
In being introduced as the 16th general manager in Maple Leafs history on Thursday, Lamoriello was candidly clear about that as he stated his mandate in this, his new hockey home.
He doesn’t care about how many points you accrue. He couldn’t give a rat’s rump over how many individual awards are shoe-horned into your trophy case. If you aren’t contributing to the greater good of the team, there really isn’t any room for you.
As an analogy, Lamoriello, 72, compared the makeup of a hockey team to that of a successful symphony orchestra.
“It’s all about music,” he said. “If the music isn’t good, no matter how good each and every instrument is, everybody leaves.”
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
If you are going to sweep out the country-club atmosphere, as Shanahan and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke promised, along with a lot of their predecessors, then there are no better people to do it than Lamoriello and Babcock. Both have definitive Type A personalities, both are demanding taskmasters and brook no nonsense.
When Lamoriello was asked about potential changes, he said change will come only if he decides it’s necessary after examining the organization. Then he said this: “The one thing that fundamentally will not change … is the word accountability.”
That was followed by something anyone who ever played for the Devils during Lamoriello’s 28 years that saw 21 playoff appearances, five conference championships and three Stanley Cups had heard many times. The kind of player he wants are those “willing to give up their own identity for that logo and never [mix] what’s on the back of the jersey for what’s on the front.”
Lamoriello, 72, also represents the missing piece of the picture Shanahan has been painting since he took the first year of his tenure to sit back and study this dysfunctional franchise. He is as old school as it gets, demanding shirts and ties at all times of team employees, but he is also one of the most respected men in the NHL. A long list of hockey people cite him as their primary mentor, from Shanahan to former Leafs GM Brian Burke and former Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, who both played for him at Providence College. There is no one in the NHL from commissioner Gary Bettman down who dares not to take Lamoriello’s calls.
added 5:39pm, from Chris Stevenson at NHL.com,
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
Lamoriello should be applauded for what he did in his 28 years with the Devils, including five trips to the Stanley Cup Final, but he paved his own way out the door once ownership changed.
1. He stonewalled upper management's marketing attempts
As long as he was winning Stanley Cups and has past owners' support, Lamoriello was allowed to refuse attempts to market the team through use of players, fan events and alternate jerseys. However, once the team became an also-ran four out of the last five seasons and dollars-conscious owners moved in, he was a roadblock.
Ownership tried to ease Lamoriello into the modern world, but he fought it and continued to keep practices closed, argued against marketing ideas and even handcuffed the organization's own website from covering the team more extensively.
2. Stumbled as a general manager
Age wasn't the reason Lamoriello was nudged out as GM. It was because he seemed to lose his touch. His recent track record of free agent signings was not good, signing several players for more than they were worth. He also created roster situations that hamstrung coaches like John MacLean.
The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2:00pm ET, watch it below....
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock spoke with NHL.com's Dan Rosen regarding the Leafs' hiring of Lou Lamoriello as their general manager:
"Lou has been about winning," Babcock told NHL.com in a phone interview Thursday. "Lou is a guy who has pushed himself to get better every single day. I think a senior management guy joining our team, understanding what the vision and what the plan is, is a home run for all of us. Everyone concerns themselves with the team on the ice; the team off the ice precedes the team on the ice. I think we're set up very good."
Babcock said Lamoriello's experience and history of winning, including three Stanley Cup championships with the Devils (1995, 2000, 2003), will be especially important for Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas, director of player personnel Mark Hunter and assistant to the general manager Brandon Pridham.
Babcock said he has been impressed with Dubas, Hunter and Pridham since he was hired on May 20, but adding Lamoriello will give those young executives a sounding board.
"To bring in a guy like Lou, that gives those guys someone to talk to, someone to mentor them, someone to ask, 'Hey Lou, you've been through this 100 times, what do you think?'" Babcock said. "You have an experienced guy who is still passionate and still fired up about it and still wants to work. That's Lou. He loves hockey."
Babcock said he first met Lamoriello during the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, when he was coaching the Anaheim Ducks against the Devils. New Jersey won the series in seven games.
In the 12 years he's known Lamoriello, Babcock said every time he has spoken to him he has come away impressed. Babcock said he has gotten only positive reviews from the people who have worked for Lamoriello, including a recent review from former Devils coach Peter DeBoer.
"Every coach I've ever talked to about Lou, and most of them have been fired by him, love him," Babcock said. "I talked to Pete DeBoer the other day about him. He raves about him. Lou has got a way of doing things, but Lou is a smart, smart guy and just like all of us who are in the pursuit of knowledge and the pursuit of winning, we're sure willing to adjust to somebody who has a better idea. This was a home run for Mike Babcock."
Chris Johnston joins Jeff Blair to speculate how new GM Lou Lamoriello might fit into the current Maple Leafs management group, and whether he’d be willing to embrace a lesser role than he’s used to.
from the Toronto Maple Leafs,
Brendan Shanahan, President and Alternate Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced today that Lou Lamoriello has been named the 16th General Manager in the Club’s history. Lamoriello joins the Leafs after previously spending the last 28 years in the New Jersey Devils organization.
Newark, NJ – After 28 years, including three Stanley Cup Championships, five Eastern Conference titles,andnine Atlantic DivisionChampionships, theNew Jersey Devilsco- owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer announced today that Lou Lamoriello has made the decision to resign as the team’s President in order to pursue other opportunities. He previously stepped aside as General Manager on May 4, when Ray Shero was named to the position.
“Lou Lamoriello created and defined what it meant to be a New Jersey Devil,” said Harris. "His brilliance in shaping this franchise into one of the most storied and celebrated organizations in sport will make him a New Jersey Devil for life. He represented this organization, our current and former players, the state of New Jersey, and the greatest fans in the National Hockey League in a manner that exemplified character, class, and dignity.
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons engaged in a lengthy conversation with Lou Lamoriello giving that the Devils' general manager is stepping aside to become the team's president:
The longest serving general manager in professional sport stepped aside the other day: The Era of Lou is officially over after 28 years of directing, nurturing, bossing, controlling, shaping the part-hockey team, part-hockey cult that has been the New Jersey Devils.
It has been all Lou Lamoriello, all the time in New Jersey. His team. His way. His brilliance. His penchant for victory.
Three times the Devils won the Stanley Cup. Twice they lost in the Stanley Cup final. Only the Detroit Red Wings have had more Stanley Cup success in Lamoriello’s time on the job.
“I’ve been a lucky man to have been associated with the many great people and professionals we’ve had here over the years,” said Lamoriello in a rare, wide-ranging interview. “They all knew what they were getting into here, where we value loyalty, confidentiality, commitment, having success, but paying the price to have success. Look at the people who have been through here — the Jacques Lemaires, Larry Robinsons, Pat Burns, Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeurs, Scott Niedermayers — a lot of them are gone, but still part of the fabric of who we are. The (Brendan) Shanahans, the (Slava) Fetisovs, they’re still part of the Devils family. I don’t apologize for what we’ve built here. But it was time, time to move on.”
Rich Chere of NJ.com answered some New Jersey Devils related tweets,
(Regarding is this Lou Lamoriello's most important summer): Has ownership weighed in on this, or is it more of a "should" than an "is"?
Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have not yet been made available after the season. Indications are that Lamoriello will get an opportunity to rebuild the team this summer, but the delay in the co-owners' state-of-the-team address makes you wonder if they are now pondering a GM change.
more Q & A...
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch can only pen "'almost deal'" columns after today, so he's delivering a hum-dinger of a rumor wallop this morning. Among his trade deadline day ruminations:
A guy who isn’t being talked about much who may be attracting a lot of interest is New Jersey defenceman Marek Zidlicky. Nobody is sure if Devils GM Lou Lamoriello would actually deal Zidlicky, but teams have been calling to see what the asking price is, just in case he does decide to make a move.
The Maple Leafs want to be the busiest team in the league Monday. They have been trying to deal almost their entire roster, but all eyes will be on captain Dion Phaneuf and wingers Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. They’ve also, for the past two weeks, been shopping centre Tyler Bozak and his $4.2-million salary. Toronto has a chance to make this a significant day if they make moves.
The Montreal Canadiens set up shop in San Jose on Sunday night after a long flight that left at 11 a.m. The Habs have been steadfast in their search for a defenceman since the quest for help began. They were able to help their forward ranks by picking up Devante Smith-Pelley from the Ducks earlier this week in exchange for Jiri Sekac, but the thinking is GM Marc Bergevin isn’t done. The Habs would like to get a defenceman and the belief is they’ve been eyeing Toronto’s Roman Polak and Edmonton’s Jeff Petry. Though teams have wanted draft picks in return, the talk is the Habs may be dangling goaltender prospect Zach Fucale, who was a second-round selection (No. 36 overall) in 2013.
Garrioch continues, reporting that the Sabres and Bruins may swing a Chris Stewart deal, that the Blues want to make some sort of impact and that Matt Beleskey is in high demand.
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Tags: chris+stewart, devante+smith-pelly, dion+phaneuf, jeff+petry, jiri+sekac, joffrey+lupul, lou+lamoriello, marc+bergevin, marek+zidlicky, matt+beleskey, montreal+canadiens, new+jersey+devils, phil+kessel, roman+polak, toronto+maple+leafs, tyler+bozak
The Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere is making quite the claim this morning:
How much clout do three Stanley Cup rings bring, even it's been 12 years since the last championship?
Enough, NJ Media Advance has learned, that Lou Lamoriello will remain the Devils' general manager, even if the team misses the playoffs for a third straight season and for the fourth time in five years.
Owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have enough faith in Lamoriello's ability to return the Devils to Stanley Cup contenders that he will keep his position despite the belief by some critics that it's time to move on.
Both owners refused interview requests for this story, but people in the Devils organization familiar with their thinking say Lamoriello will stay on. Those people requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the club's front office personnel.
Rich Chere of NJ.com had his readers submit questions for the Devils and Lou Lamoriello answered most of them...
As the NHL game changes and gets faster, can the Devils' system and style of defensive hockey stay competitive? And how will you get fast, skilled, younger forwards without giving up our young prospects?
"I don't know what one means by 'the way the game has changed.' Defense has never changed and defense wins championships.
"Right now we have, in our system in our opinion, some outstanding young players. We just have to make sure they develop. Up front, we have to emphasize (acquire via the draft, etc.) forwards. I think our goaltending and defense is extremely solid going forward. We have to work at improving our offense, which comes through our forwards."
many more questions answered...
“We know the position we’re in. We also know that you can get on winning streaks. Right now what we have to do is focus in on every game, all the details that have to be done, the systemic changes that are taking place and let the end result take care of itself.
“But there is no team in the National Hockey League that doesn’t believe they want to make the playoffs or think they have the capability. You have to go on a streak. I said that last year. What we didn’t do was go on a winning streak.
“We have to get a couple players back. Despite what our record was, we didn’t have all our players here. It’s been very tough. I say that right up front. But a decision was made by me to make a change.You can’t apologize for doing what you think is right.”
- Lou Lamoriello, President, GM and coach of the New Jersey Devils when asked is it realistic for the Devils to make the playoffs. More from Lamoriello by Rich Chere of NJ.com.
from Rich Chere of NJ.com,
“Do I personally feel it? Whatever pressure I have is what I put on myself,” Lamoriello told NJ Advance Media. “I have to make whatever decision is right, in my opinion, for the best of the team. I can’t allow anything to affect that whatsoever or I’m not doing my job.”
Three Stanley Cups buys a GM a lot of leeway, but has Lamoriello missed the mark on his free agent signings, non-signings and trades over the past decade since the club last won it all in 2003?
Could he have signed Zach Parise long before the winger reached free agency and decided to go home to Minnesota? Or did former owner Jeff Vanderbeek’s financial problems make that impossible?
Should he have let Paul Martin, David Clarkson and/or Brian Gionta walk?
Was there a way to keep Ilya Kovalchuk in the NHL? And did Lamoriello and the Devils have the power, persuasion and the finances to keep Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski from leaving after the third Cup?
All valid questions.
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column is a good read, discussing the post-firing life of coaches who rebounded in their own ways in Tom Renney and Rick Bowness, but his "Short Shifts" are probably more pertinent:
- St. Louis Blues phenom Vladimir Tarasenko, who just turned 23, has 20 goals on the year, but he might have scored 30 if he had shot more. He’s got 113 shots but that only puts him seventh behind Ovechkin, Karlsson, Seguin, Giroux, Pavelski and Pacioretty. “He could be more selfish,” said an NHL pro scout, marvelling at the Russian youngster’s release. Tarasenko, who may get to the $5-million to $6-million per season range in a new contract this summer, has 16 even-strength goals, second only to Tyler Seguin’s 17. “Twenty goals before Christmas? That’s special,” said teammate Steve Ott.
- If Vincent Lecavalier is playing right wing with Zac Rinaldo and French rookie Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in Philly, this is the end of the line for him, no?
- It should be noted that Roberto Luongo has a much better (2.35) goals-against average and way higher (.925) save percentage than Ryan Miller (.267) and .900 in Vancouver right now, but Miller has 16 wins. His team gives him way more run support than Luongo’s (11 wins) in Florida. Miller’s numbers are five-alarm stuff, but he is in the first year of a three-year, $18-million deal and he’s 34, not, say, 28.
This is probably true of more general managers (and coaches) than not, too:
-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is almost always around his team, home and away, but he knows exactly what’s going on with his farm team and their prospects. “He gets tapes of the games and the practices,” said former Devils defenceman Mark Fayne.
Matheson continues, and while we're doing short quips and quotes, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned a superb "Three Periods" column discussing the Blue Jackets' resurgence and Patrik Elias' pluck, but the "Third Period" sticks:
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: bill+daly, bob+hartley, buffalo+sabres, calgary+flames, dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, las+vegas, lou+lamoriello, new+jersey+devils, philadelphia+flyers, roberto+luongo, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, toronto+maple+leafs, vincent+lecavalier, vladimir+tarasenko
via Tom Gulitti tweets,
Lamoriello: "I have a lot of feelings about where we're at, but that's for another time."
Lamoriello: "I don't think anybody is happy with where we're at. but right now we have to deal with where we are today..."
Lamoriello cont: "... not where we were yesterday. That's all I have to say."
This past July brought more than a couple of eyebrow-raising free agent signings, but the New Jersey Devils' signing of Mike Cammalleri to a 5-year, $25-million contract was my biggest "WHAT?" moment. Today, the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy explains why the unlikely marriage occurred:
“He played with an edge and had results,” [New Jersey Devils GM Lou] Lamoriello said. “He’s very diligent and he competes. When you see that in a player, it naturally sticks out. When we were looking at the potential free agencies and the type of player we needed, we felt we needed a scorer. Mike stood right out, and he was one of the top players we looked at, if not the top player.”
The money and especially the term were a huge vote of confidence to Cammalleri, who says the courtship lasted longer than the free agent negotiating period. His best years are behind him, but he remains a useful scorer who can play among the top six forwards. The Devils are taking a leap of faith on him, but it works both ways.
“What attracted me to the Devils was the success they’ve had, the template, the way they do things,” Cammalleri said. “I have a belief in how things are done that leads to successes.”
Unlike the team's financial struggles under the Jeffrey Vanderbeek adminstration, however, the fact that the Devils are going to lose money this season is actually good news.
Gulitti reports that "new" owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer are spending a significant amount of money cleaning up the legal messes Vanderbeek left them, and they're also investing a good chunk of money in growing the Devils' "business brand," reestablishing ties with local businesses and significantly bolstering the team's hockey operations personnel:
[O]n the business side (non-hockey operations), O’Neil says the team had just 76 employees immediately following the sale. Blitzer said the number is “more than double” that now after O’Neil has spent the last year building up his department to put it in a position to be better able to grow the business of the Devils.
“You just didn’t have personnel there,” Blitzer said. “It wasn’t like anyone was doing anything negatively in that sense. They literally did not have positions filled that were entirely necessary to run a business like this. We kind of found that a little bit shocking in terms of how depleted it was at the time we went in.”
Via SI's Allan Muir, New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has every intention of employing Martin Brodeur should the legendary goaltender not find the "right fit" with a championship-contending team, but the Newark Star-Ledger's Steve Politi reports that Lamoriello's standing offer involves a front-office job:
What happens if Brodeur gets to a point where he realizes the right fit isn't there? Lamoriello has the answer. The longtime Devils GM said Brodeur has a job waiting for him with the Devils if he decides to stop playing.
"He knows that," Lamoriello said. "He knows he'll be a Devil for the rest of his life. What Marty has done and the type of personality he is, and what his experience is, it's a no brainer. He's a Devil."
But Lamoriello wonders: Does Brodeur want to work? He's been around enough great players to know that this is not always the case.
"Marty and I have come to an agreement that is best for both himself and the organization, and there's nothing negative about that. Marty knows what it is to be a No. 1 goalie and to have that feeling, and that's what he wants. Cory (Schneider) feels the same way.
"I think it's time to move forward, but never negate what Marty has brought [to the Devils], nor was the door ever shut. It was a mutual understanding of what was best for both parties. Marty will always be a Devil and the communication with him is still there, even recently."
-Lou Lamoriello, GM of the New Jersey Devils on Martin Brodeur. A bit more from Mike Morreale of NHL.com.
from Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger,
"It was a distraction, to be perfectly honest," Lamoriello said Saturday. "It distracted everything you had to do."
Lamoriello said he wasn't surprised that there were fewer trades than expected.
"If there was anything that was going to happen, it was going to happen right away," he said. "This has been a very peculiar week, as far as free agency, the draft and then the signings of your own players. You're divided in so many different directions. I think everybody said, 'Let's focus on the draft.' "
The GM said the discussion period, which ends Monday, will inflate free agent prices.
Asked if the Devils will be active in signing free agents beginning noon on Tuesday, Lamoriello said: "We'll talk. As far as what the results will bring, I couldn't tell you."
"They want to give to the New Jersey Devils fans an off-ice experience, they want to make a commitment that [but] more important to me, a commitment to winning. They really know what is necessary to win and what it takes. Everyone wants to win but not everyone knows how. They're creative, they're intuitive and they want to get an edge in every way they can. I'm comfortable with that and I'm honored to be here and stay here in New Jersey with the New Jersey Devils."
-Lou Lamoriello on the new ownership group of the New Jersey Devils. More at the Devils' website.
"I watched him play the last couple of years and I have never seen someone work so hard. We know where he is in his career. He brings something. Everyone who has played with him the last couple of years and also the coaches have been complimentary toward everything he has done. There is no question he can help us on the power play."
"He is a well-conditioned athlete and we are happy with what he is going to bring."
"He is still a top six forward."
-Lou Lamoriello on Jaromir Jagr. More on Jagr signing with the Devils from the CP at TSN.
from Rich Chere of theStar-Ledger,
“It’s coming down to the wire right now,” Lamoriello said. “We’ve just got to trust the people that are involved. I’m embarrassed we are where we’re at. That’s the best expression I can use.”
He didn’t want to think it would take this long.
“I really didn’t know. Like everybody, I hoped not,” Lamoriello said, “but we are where we are right now and we’re getting to the 11th hour. I’m just hopeful everything can work out.”
In past lockouts, Lamoriello has taken an active role in negotiations, but that hasn’t been the case this time.
“I’m not involved the way I was in the past. I can’t answer why,” he said.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
It’s difficult to really ascertain who begat who.
Did Lou Lamoriello make Martin Brodeur, or did Brodeur make Lamoriello? Did Brodeur become the game’s greatest goalie because he became part of Lamoriello’s New Jersey Devils, or has Lamoriello already taken up residency in the Hockey Hall of Fame because he had the best between the pipes for so many years?
This much is certain. Both men, together through years of glory, and then through the last nine years of trying to figure out why they couldn’t win again before arriving, surprisingly, in this Stanley Cup final against the similarly surprising Los Angeles Kings, remain as firmly connected as ever.
Their careers and hockey destinies haven’t just intersected or become intertwined; they have been nearly fused for 20 years. Players and coaches have come and gone, and then come back again (the Devil you know ...) in some cases.
The goalie and the GM, however, have remained like stone pillars.
from Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News,
Somebody comes up to Lamoriello, shakes his hand, says, “I’m a great admirer of your work.”
Lamoriello smiles and says, “You ought to know that we work real hard at that work.”
Like his hockey team. For a long time. Run by a guy who took it over a quarter-century ago without any experience as a player or coach or general manager in the National Hockey League and made something lasting and real and great out of what was a joke at the time, one of the lost-boy franchises, an afterthought even in Jersey.
Made it into the San Antonio Spurs of the NHL.
Lamoriello looks at his phone the other night and sees a message from his friend Bobby Valentine. Before the night is over the Devils are up 3-2 in games and Friday night they beat the Rangers, 3-2, and they go try to win another Stanley Cup for Lamoriello, and the Rangers do what they have done since their greatest hockey spring, in 1994, and that means they go home.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
He has been in the same job, same team, caring about the same three things—winning, family and the Devils, and not necessarily in that order. Maybe Glen Sather has been around the NHL longer, just not in the same place, and nowhere near as consistent.
Lamoriello is in Year 25 on the job: No one else in the game has been a GM longer than 14 years.
And few have experienced anything close to his success.
The Devils are in the playoffs, again, which is where they have been for 21 of his 24 seasons (the lockout stole one year) running the club. He’s missed the playoffs three times, once fewer than his one-time protege has missed in almost four seasons in Toronto.
“The first time was in our second season,” said Lamoriello, who turns 70 in October. “The second time came after we won our first Stanley Cup, and we learned something from that. The third time was last year and that was all my doing. I put a coach (John MacLean) in a position that was unfair. That one was all on me.”
Now that school has started for me, the ease of getting to a computer becomes limited to early in the morning, and very late at night. For my absense on the website for the past couple of days I apologize. Now that things are slowly calming down, I figured I would get back into things here on KK. I have news on the Devils bankruptcy rumor, some player who will be joining the Devils on a tryout, and some other interesting bits of information.
Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, David Pavlak, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: anton+stralman, bryce+salvador, jeff+vanderbeek, justin+barnett, lou+lamoriello, peter+deboer, petr+sykora, sergei+brylin, steve+bernier, thomas+nesbitt.
From Jeff Marek’s The Sheet at Sportsnet:
So let me get this straight: Front loading a contract that includes dead years at the end where the player has zero intention of playing (Ilya Kovalchuk) for cap relief was a violation of the “spirit” of the salary cap, yet trading for a player with zero intention of him ever playing (Trent Hunter) with the sole purpose of buying him out for cap relief isn’t?
I know they’re different, but at the end of the day there are still plenty of ways to get around the salary cap in the NHL and New Jersey, it seems, has tried all of them. Interesting too when you consider that Devils GM Lou Lamoriello helped craft the current CBA. New Jersey has four players on the books this season with buyouts: Andrew Peters, Trent Hunter, Colin White and Jay Pandolfo.
plus more odds and ends from the hockey world
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
What can you say about the importance of Zach Parise to the organization and the importance of re-signing him?
“I don’t think I can say anymore than anybody else can say. He’s an integral part, has been since he’s been here and in everybody’s mind he will continue to be that. So, we’ll do everything we possibly can as expeditious as possible.”
Have you begun your coaching search yet or are you still doing your end-of-season evaluation before moving forward?
“Everything is being addressed at different times. You certainly don’t put anything on the shelf if you can address it. It’s an ongoing process in all areas.”
more on the Devils…
from Christopher Botta of Slap Shot at the NY Times,
Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello will be the “Talkback” guest after the Dec. 14 performance of the play “Lombardi” at the Circle in the Square Theatre in Manhattan. Lamoriello will share his thoughts on the play, on leadership in sports and his affinity for Coach Vince Lombardi. He will take questions from the audience.
Though Lou Lamoriello still has his work cut out to get the New Jersey Devils under the $59.4-million salary cap, one area with a little flexibility might be the blueline.
While no GM would want to give up a player like Bryce Salvador, rumored by many to be one of those moved for salary relief, knowing that an insurance policy like Mike Mottau is waiting could help ease the blow.
On Friday, Lamoriello wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a return for the former Hobey Baker-winning Boston College alum.
from Mark Everson of the NY Post,
“The standards here are very high—it’s not something that will be accepted,” Lamoriello said. “It’s three years in a row. It’s not something you can hide. We have to look at it.
“Was this team playoff-built? There’s no question in my mind it was. It didn’t get it done. Start with the specialty teams. One team did it, one team didn’t.
“You can’t put any blame on goaltending. We’ve got goaltending.”
Lamoriello said he had high hopes for this team, which earned a 13th straight playoff berth, won a ninth Atlantic Division title, topped 100 points (103) for the 12th time and won its fifth Jennings Trophy for fewest goals-against.
“This team had the ability and potential to go a great distance,” Lamoriello said.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
“I called Lou’s room,’’ said Brian Burke, then a pugnacious, 185-pound Friar forward, recalling a memory of more than 30 years ago. “And I said, ‘Coach, you’re not going to believe this, but some guy’s got a bunch of dogs outside here . . . they’re making a real racket, and there’s no way we’ll get to sleep.’ Lou screams, ‘What?!’ then says, ‘I’ll be right there!’ and hangs up.’’
Burke and his fellow Friars then turned their attention back outside, watching gleefully from their hotel rooms as the diminutive coach from the Dominican Friars college located in Rhode Island’s capital - dedicated to a “spirituality that embraces the whole person’’ as its stated mission - transformed into a ferocious bulldog.
“Lou’s out there screaming at the guy, ‘What’s this! Pack these dogs up . . . get ’em outta here!’ ’’ said Burke. “The poor slob . . . didn’t know what hit him . . . and he gives Lou some lip. That really set Lou off. ‘Look,’ Lou screams, ‘you’ve got five minutes to get these bleepin’ dogs back in their boxes, get ’em outta here. Five minutes! And if you don’t, I’m telling you, I’ll start strangling them, one by one, with my bare hands!’ The guy had to think Lou was nuts. No question. But you know what? He got outta there, dogs ’n all.’’