Friday, July 24, 2015

A Real Lou-Lou Of A Move

I admit I'm an ageist. I don't think people in their 80s should be driving around in most vehicles on the road. If you live somewhere where public transit is virtually non-existent, please let (or make!) your kids be your chauffeurs. Beats the alternative, I say, such as this.

So, obviously, the Toronto Maple Leafs hiring Grandpa Lou Lamoriello baffles me even if he's a spry 72. The Make Beliefs do realize they are getting Lou Version 2015 not Lou Version 1990s, right? They also I hope realize that the GM of the now three-time in this era Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks is Stan Bowman and not his dad Scotty? Sure, Scotty is a paid consultant to the Hawks' management committee but he's not scouting, drafting, trading or signing players because, well, he's 81 years old and . . . semi-retired.

This Leaf move almost eerily parallels the NFL's "let's hire Bill Parcells well past his sell-by date" nonsense. You remember that era, don't you?

Parcells, after his stint with the New York Jets as coach/GM ended in 2000 at age 58, three years later he ended up as Dallas Cowboys' coach. Now this was 13 years since Parcells last won a Super Bowl with the team that made his rep--the New York Giants of Lawrence Taylor and THAT defence. It was also seven years removed from taking the pre-Tom Brady New England Patriots to the Super Bowl (where they lost to the Brett Favre era Green Bay Packers).

Now it all started well as Parcells' Cowboys went 10-6 and made the playoffs in 2003. By 2004, 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde ended up as their starting QB and they went 6-10. Bouncing back with two consecutive 9-7 seasons was better but Parcells' final season featured, well, Tony Romo.

Oh snap!

Parcells retired for the third time in his career after that fiasco and left having not won a single playoff game (0W-2L) in his Cowboys' career.

Then at age 66 in 2007 he joins the Miami Dolphins as Executive VP Of Football Operations. In three seasons there the Marine Mammals went a Chad Pennington 11-5 and, of course, proceeded to lose their playoff game then followed that up with two straight 7-9 seasons.

Now since turning 72 Parcells has been a consultant for the Cleveland Browns.

I rest my case.

Maybe at one time Lou Lamoriello was great at making trades back in 1989 (Tom Kurvers from the [that's right] Leafs for the draft pick that became Scott Niedermayer) or having the Blues mess up their chances of a Stanley Cup ever in their history by signing...(wait for it)...restricted free agent Brendan Shanahan off the New Jersey Devils in 1990. This cost the Blues a defenceman by the name of Scott Stevens.

 Ouch! No, seriously--ouch!

Five years later the Devils trapped a Cup with two of the greatest defencemen named Scott in NHL history. That twosome helped the Devils to another two Cups and once Niedermayer left for Anaheim, the Devils have not win another Cup.

The problem with the old-boy NHL network and its reliance on relationships and signing "names" is it ignores the obvious. Everyone is less effective at a certain age. How much energy does anyone have in their 60s let alone their 70s to do the things they did so well in their 40s and 50s?

So, as I said, I'm a total ageist because there's a time and a place for everything. Sorry, I was never interested in seeing Mick Jagger on stage after the '70s and now he's IN his 70s still up there.

I'll stick with Mick in his 20s

Well, good luck then with the Leafs' choice. After all just have a look at this treading water litany of trades Lou ran through from 2005 until the Ilya Kovalchuk deal.

Now the Kovalchuk deal depending how Lou looks at it could be considered a decent one given it showed the league that New Jersey was still alive and the team actually went after a scorer. It also could be said it messed up the Devils cap-wise for those years despite Kovalchuk contributing 19 points in the 23 games to the 2012 Final.

So was the Kovy signing worth it though? Two years earlier from that 2012 Final, the Devils re-signed free agent Ilya Kovalchuk to that 17-year deal designed to circumvent the salary cap. The NHL rejected that contract length and then the deal was adjusted down to "just" 15 years costing the team $3 million in fines, two draft picks (including a 1st rounder) as the NHL penalized Lou and the Devils for this attempt at cap circumvention.

Oh, there's a beautiful postscript as well. After all that when Kovalchuk jumped to the KHL during the 2012/13 lockout, the NHL decided that the Devils could get their $3 million back as well as that first round draft pick although Lou had to pick at number 30 in the 2014 Entry Draft. So Sweet Lou came up smelling roses to some degree.

Now if you look at the trades since the original Kovalchuk trade, Lou has again messed around the edges of the Devils' team but really other than getting goalie Cory Schneider for a first round pick (Bo Horvat), which may end up a wash given Horvat's promising rookie season, I guess offloading 90-year-old Jaromir Jagr to Florida for a 2nd and 3rd round pick was the only other laudable move Lou has done over the past few seasons.

So has anything Lou done since the Cup years warrant him being a GM at age 72 of an NHL team? (Insert your own Laffs' joke here about them even being an NHL team.)

Time to review Lou's New Jersey Devils' career:
The Scotts' Era (12 seasons give-or-take of Niedermayer and Stevens)
3 Cups
1 other Final
1 Eastern Conference Final loss
1 Eastern Conference Semi-Final loss
5 times out in the first rd.
1 time missed the playoffs

The Post-Scotts Era (10 seasons)
1 Final
2 other times in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals
2 times out in the first rd.
4 times missed the playoffs (out of the last five seasons)

Well, at least the Maple Leafs have Mike Babcock's last five seasons to draw on, right? I mean, who wouldn't want a coach whose teams lost twice in the first round the past two seasons and hasn't been gotten a very talented team to a Conference Final since he last took the Red Wings to the Final in 2009?

After all, isn't that Carey Price in the Leafs net behind a defence that includes Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty? I'm sure Babcock will be back to the Final with that lineup in no time with Lou right by his side.

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