The First is the firing of John MacLean in New Jersey. MacLean is a rookie NHL coach. And let's face it, we all should have known that it would be a tough year for the Devils. The salaries that the Devils are carrying are causing many of the problems that they are experiencing. When 15 of your players have a Salary Cap hit of $1.5 Million or higher (and 11 of those are $3 Million or higher), you know that there isn't flexibility in setting up your roster. The problem is the defense and Goaltending. The defense has been porous this year. It appears like they don't want to touch anybody, let alone get mean and nasty. Also when your defense isn't playing well, you expect your $5 Million Goalie to start saving the bacon. Brodeur hasn't this year. He has the lowest SV% of all the Devil's goalies. And none of them are above 90%. The coaching change won't mean a thing in my opinion. Going back to Jacques Lemaire will stop giving the players an excuse, but it won't help in the long run. The man responsible for this is Lou Lamoriello. He is the one that has signed all this dead weight. Getting rid of Brian Rolston was a start at fixing this mess, but he will sit back and collect all of the $5 Million that is owed him by the Devils. The Kovalchuk contract is an albatross around the Franchise's neck. Basically, if you look at the history of the NHL, the Devils have become Toronto East. They keep bringing in veterans for lots of money and that fact along with the minors not producing top line talent for the NHL team causes the salary cap problems for teams that try and stay competitive year after year by signing those veterans. And the excuse that Lemaire would be able to teach the young players, is laughable. MacLean was an assistant for 7 years and guided the New Jersey farm team at Lowell last season. It appears like he should be able to coach young players. Lamoriello is the bad man here and MacLean is the scapegoat. I hope that the Devils continue to mire in the depths of the Eastern Conference until Lamoriello is no longer the GM of the team.
The second is Darryl Sutter resigning as GM of the Calgary Flames. It is about time for this to happen. The Flames have went from one of those teams that were good in the regular season and a tough out in the playoffs to a mediocre team at best. The full rebuild that should have taken place 2 years ago might actually start now. And the Sutter clan won't be populating the offices of the Flames past the end of this year at most. It is time to trade Iggy and Kiprusoff at the trade deadline this year. Get what you can for these two commodities and possibly get a good young Goalie along with 3 or 4 serviceable forwards or defensemen. The Flames can't get much lower than they are now. And Jay Feaster has put together a good roster before down in Tampa. The fans of Calgary deserve better than what they have gotten over the past 3-4 years. Now let's hope that the management team of the Flames takes the longer but more astute route of rebuilding from the ground floor up.