The title of this forum is "IN LOU WE TRUST". Trust in someone is based upon the belief that they will do the right thing. With trust also comes accountability, and I would suggest that the next time Lou may want to throw a jar of jelly he should be standing in front of a mirror.
"To state the facts frankly is not to despair the future nor indict the past. The prudent heir takes careful inventory of his legacies and gives a faithful accounting to those whom he owes an obligation of trust." John F. Kennedy
The obligation of trust is to be accountable to those who put their trust in you. Even though we have all not agreed with every move, the people on this forum have trusted Lou. Frankly we probably should, as over the last 15 years we have been a very successful franchise.
But trust can only be maintained when the actions of the trusted person instills that trust into the people who are granting it. I say for myself only that my trust is wavering, and I will explain why.
We have the privilege of having the greatest goalie ever to don a mask. Unfortunately he can only go for so long, and although he exhibits no signs of slowing down at some point he will choose to move on. The window is closing, and there is no heir apparent to step in. We are a win now team! Team management has stated in the media that this was the team, that we should expect a run, that this is the best group in years. Where are the results? Who is accountable? Where do we go from here?
The responsibility falls squarely upon the shoulders of Lou Lamoriello. Certainly we will hear over the coming days and weeks that he will take that blame, but does that mean that he will change his ways?
Over the past several years Lou has made questionable decisions that cannot be ignored, and have DIRECTLY contributed to our failures.
First and foremost is that he tends to reward players that he has affection for with large, long, and untradeable contracts. Yes I am talking about Jay Pandolfo (2.5 million) and Colin White (3 million). Colin White is serviceable, but if you run his numbers against younger and/or cheaper players he is not in the price range he is paid. Pandolfo has been a fan favorite, but you can’t have a 2.5 million dollar player sitting on the bench in the playoffs.
Next, he has failed to address our defense. The reason we won three cups is directly related to the strength of our defense, and this group pales by comparison. Now I know you might say "but we won the Jennings Trophy", but that’s Marty’s trophy not the defenses.
In my opinion Mike Mottau is a disaster and should have been replaced a long time ago. I think he would be a fine number 7 defenseman to step in for a game due to injury, but he is not a top 6 player. Andy Greene has been stellar for us, but the positive accolades stop there. We have some very promising young defenseman that needed to get NHL games under their belts, and that did not happen. We are such a slow defensive team that other teams exploit us almost at will, and we are not very physical. Paul Martin? Regardless of his injury this year the fact is that he is paid 3.8 million and is an unrestricted free agent. What is the market for him? How much do we pay to keep him? If someone offers him 5 million he is going to take it, and we should let him go. There are plenty of defensemen at that price who offer the same or better value.
Finally, when the opportunity has presented for us to add a player to our roster Lou has chosen poorly in almost every case with the clear exception of Ilya Kovalchuk.
Brian Rolston is a personal favorite of mine, but his benefits to our team have not lived up to his contract. Do I need to even mention Pikkarainin? Clearly he was a disaster. And when there were holes to fill rather than bring up youth and speed we sign Rob Niedermayer and Dean McAmmond. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I would have rather kept John Madden who has more character than Nierdermayer and McAmmond combined, as CHARACTER was clearly absent in this playoff performance. Elias and Zubrus at least showed passion in this series, so I’m giving them a pass. Clarkson was a liability.
Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe the humiliation is too fresh. Frustration and disappointment clearly have prompted this post, but it’s how I feel today and only my opinion. But trust is earned every single day, and Lou needs to take responsibility and begin to reshape this team while we still have the most important asset in goal, and prove to me that he deserves my trust.
PS- SIGN KOVALCHUK, HE IS WORTH IT!