In the Dark Knight, Aaron Eckhart said "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain". Metaphorically speaking, I think there is a lot of justification behind this quote and of course I can relate it to hockey and my New Jersey Devils. For the better part of two decades, Martin Broduer has been the face of the New Jersey Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello has been put on a pedestal for his admirable work of building the Devils into Stanley Cup contenders. Recently, I have been critical and questionable of Lamoriello and Brodeur. I have reason to believe Eckhart's quote describes a situation occurring with the Devils and provides reason behind their inability to contend like they did during the pre-lockout years.
I don't know if it could be any more obvious that Martin Brodeur is Lou's pride and joy. He built three championship teams around him and I'm sure had a lot of influence on many coaches throughout the years into making them instill a system based around Marty. As a result, the Devils have played the trap and other 1-2-2 based systems where the team had a defense first mentality for almost two decades. As the Devils descended from their glory days into mediocrity, Lou made locking Marty up a No. 1 priority. Though Marty signed long term for less money, we as Devils fans helplessly watched many talents that played huge parts in their playoff runs leave the team. How many summers and trade deadlines have we repressed our frustrations when Lou applied bleak efforts at improvements or did nothing at all?
After the 2008 trade deadline, Joe Bidingo on WFAN had a theory. We all know Lou and Marty have two of the biggest egos in hockey world and sustain gratuitous amounts of pride that I am surprised coexist in one organization. Bidingo said he thinks Lou refuses to make splashes because he thinks and wants Marty to carry the Devils to a Stanley cup and wants he and Marty deemed as the team's saviors. I know Bidingo is one of the biggest Ranger fans out there, but put that aside and what he said into consideration. Silly? A little. Reasonable? Most definitely, especially when you consider the previous two rosters before this year's.
If you have not realized it yet, what I am trying to say is I think Marty and Lou have out lived their glory years and still consider themselves able to ascend the Devils to the level of a legitimate contender. As a result of their alleged ignorance, arrogance, and persistency, they hurt the team in many ways that include basing the team around Marty when they do not have the proper assets to do so, seeing vital players of the team's success leave, and thinking one player can fill voids in the team that he obviously cannot.
Like I said in past write ups, the game has changed greatly while the philosophy of the Devils did not. The reluctance to making significant transitional alterations to their organization and team philosophy traces to the dictating hold Lamoriello has on the organization where it's Lou's way or no way and the unbreakable bond he and Marty have. We all know as long as the sky is blue, Lamoriello will stay in the Devils organization as long as he wants and Brodeur is guaranteed the No. 1 goaltending position and face of the team as well. Lou will make sure of it.
Lou and Marty want to salvage another Stanley cup during what time they have left with the Devils imminently. With the new NHL, Marty's shine dimming, and having won three Stanley cups based around him with the same defensive mentality, perhaps Lou and Marty do not know any other way of achieving success and are unable or unwilling to take a different approach even though their old philosophy's inability to succeed was blatantly exposed. It should be a fact Lou wants nothing but the best for Marty, which is why Marty appears bigger than the team especially at this point in his career. Lou watching Marty grow older and see his shine dim could be compared to a parent watching their child grow up and leave the nest.
Lou and Marty probably share the same reluctance to admit their time in New Jersey is coming to an end. Perhaps they refuse to admit their glory days as the best of the best are over or coming to end and that it is time to change their style of thinking or pass the torch. Sad as it is, the Devils need to relinquish themselves from the confines of the old school mentality Lou keeps the team suspended in, which is basing much of the team's decision making and style to the benefit of Martin Brodeur. No doubt Marty is a franchise goalie, one of the best to ever play the game and Lou Lamoriello was one of the best general managers of our time.
Overall, I feel as long as Brodeur and Lamoriello continue their one dimensional mentality and feel their long time philosophy can generate success, the Devils will get nowhere. Maybe Lou and Marty should quit while they're ahead for the better of the team or maybe they just need to change some things around. Marty's input is valued greatly by Lou, who he probably listens to more than his staff. As it stands, I believe the heroic days of Marty and Lou are have or are nearing an end and their reluctance to acknowledge this may obliviously be turning them into villains against the notarized team they helped get where it is today.
I hope this write up made sense and I did not repeat myself much. I'll admit it was difficult to organize and it was hard to explain the theme of the write up. It is also difficult to admit as I am someone who personally dislikes change, but believe in fulfilling necessities to progress and keep up with the times.
Some league ramblings...
If you've all heard the news and rumors, multiple sources indicate Calgary has interest in Danny Heatley and/or Jay Bouwmeester. Lots of rumors surround the Flames that include who they may trade to make room for, obtain, or whose rights they're targeting. I've heard a lot of names get thrown around and if any Flames fans happen to come across this write up on one of their hockeybuzz adventures, my question to them is who would you rather have: Heatley or Bouwmeester and why? Personally, I think Heatley is the better fit. Calgary's defense is pretty solid, especially with Dion Phaneuf patrolling the blue line, who is younger and better than Bouwmeester IMO. Odds are Aucoin and Cammellari (hope I spelt it right) might be on the outs and I think Heatley would be an upgrade over him. The thought of Heatley and Iginla on the same line sends shivers down my spine, especially with Kippursoff in net and Phaneuf at the point.
With the draft approaching, speculations on who the New York Islanders select No. 1 overall have been running rampant. Who wants or doesn't want them to draft Tavares, Heddman, Deuchene, it's crazy. As an observer, I believe how the Isles handle this upcoming draft is a vital move for the organization. My knowledge on the Islanders is broad, but I have a feeling they are going to stick to Tavares. Aside from the phenomenal player that he is, I think the Isles will draft him for the media coverage this kid has and the benefits he will bring to the organization. Fan attendance, revenues, organization value, and media coverage will undoubtedly increase for the Islanders if Tavares comes along with the perfect nucleus to build around.
With all the talks about certain teams being relocated to certain places, some interesting locations have been mentioned. Kansas City, Hamilton, London (Ontario), Las Vegas, even another Toronto team and Europe! Shoot this idea down, but has anyone wondered how an expansion team in Alaska would do? I think it would be an appropriate location for an NHL team, but I guess questions regarding a supportive market and fan base would be raised. Travel time could be a burden on visitors and perhaps Alaska might not attract every UFA if they're no better than a mediocre team. Any thoughts on this?