For those of you who have not read John's article regarding Scott Burnside's "report" of the Devils firing John Maclean and hiring Lemaire, I suggest you go check it out here (you can find an original link to Burnside's article there).
For the fun of it, I decided to look at ESPN's NHL Power rankings, knowing that the Devils would be dead last. Not only were they dead last, as expected, but I saw it was written by Scott Burnside. Next to the ranking, it gives a sentence or two describing the team's recent successes or failures (as per Mr. Burnside's opinion). Here is the link to that.
When you get down to the Devils on that link (#30), Burnside's report of the Devils over the last week reads:
"What a joke. The Devils fired coach John MacLean two days before Christmas and brought back Jacques Lemaire, and they respond by losing to the Isles and Leafs, two of the worst teams in the NHL. Of course, the distinction of the worst belongs to the Devils themselves."
This is a harsh way to describe the Devils. They have been hampered by injuries and made a necessary move in firing Maclean. Burnside does not understand that firing Johnny Mac was a move made to improve a team that looked unprepared and overmatched night in and night out. It's also very rude to talk of the Devils as a "joke". They have been a model organization for more than two decades under Lou Lamoriello. Every team is allowed to have a bad year.
Then, I looked up the power rankings from last year, when a team like the Carolina Hurricanes were suffering and failing to meet expectations after making the conference finals in 2008-2009. The ranking that jumped out at me the most came from week 14 (December 28th) of last year, when the Canes had a record of 9-22-7, very similar to the Devils current record of 9-24-2. Here is the link to that. The Canes are ranked 28th in the league, and Mr. Burnside chooses to describe in a very factual way why they are ranked there.
"The Hurricanes showed spunk in coming back against Philadelphia on Saturday, but the results remain the same -- a loss, albeit in the shootout."
It does not surprise me that Mr. Burnside chooses to use different logic with different organizations in order to describe their successes and failures. It is obvious that Mr. Burnside hates the Devils.
How would you describe the Devils season to date?
A failure by the players and the coaches (52 votes)
A failure by the GM to assemble the right group of players (6 votes)
John Maclean's fault (5 votes)
A reason for hope under Lemaire (3 votes)
Mr Burnside's description, "a joke" (2 votes)
68 total votes