You can tell Lou Lamoriello is desperate.
The Devils – the losers of seven of their last eight and 13 of 16 – fired coach Pete DeBoer today and will name his replacement tomorrow before New Jersey comes into Madison Square Garden to play the Rangers.
With an older roster that has been decimated by injury, it’s hard to blame DeBoer for the Devils paltry showing thus far, but as it has been in the past, firing the coach is Lamorielllo’s M.O. when it comes to shaking up the team with 13 coaching changes over the past 15 seasons.
That said, no matter whom Lamoriello tabs – Dan Bylsma, Paul MacLean, or the ghost of the Conn Smyth – the Devils have their problems. Led by 42 year-old Jaromir Jagr, it’s hard to see how New Jersey will be in the hunt at all this season especially with players like Mike Cammalleri, Dainius Zubrus, and Ryan Clowe on the injured reserve and Patrik Ellias coming down with the mumps.
Rather, it’s just a series of unfortunate events that have led New Jersey into this predicament. So with so much pain and not enough of a roster to back it up, who will Lamoriello ink for the rest of the season?
One interesting name being bandied about is John Tortorella. But can Torts co-exist with Lamoriello, especially with the baggage that comes along with the Torch?
Believe it or not, it could actually be a resounding yes. The Devils like defense and Torts is a defensive coach. Neither Lamoriello, nor Tortorella have too much use for the media, but having the former Ranger coach behind the bench will be somewhat of a draw in New Jersey.
And mind you with his damaged reputation, Tortorella needs a gig like the Devils – in a big enough market to be seen, but not too big where his dealings with the media will cause more damage than good.
As for Lamoriello, with the type of revolving door that he runs behind the bench, no highly regarded coach in his right mind would take a gig like this, especially since the future doesn’t look very bright in Newark.
Besides, how great would tomorrow night be when he takes to the podium at the Garden and looks around and tell Larry Brooks, “Hi Brooksie!”
It might be the kick in the behind the franchise needs, especially now where they are truly the No. 3 hockey team in the area.
Since it’s impossible to fire the team, why not shake it up with a little Torts?