The Devils’ $100 million man has scored just eight goals in 32 games. Their once-proud defense has allowed 103 goals already. And the team that hasn’t missed the playoffs since 1997 is 9-22-2 and tied at a league-low 20 points with the Islanders.
John MacLean took the fall for all of it Thursday when general manager Lou Lamoriello fired the rookie coach and replaced him with Devils re-tread Jacques Lemaire, who guided them to a Stanley Cup championship in 1995.
Lamoriello told the press the Devils’ fall was really the fault of others.
“The responsibility lies on the players and myself for what couldn’t be done,” Lamoriello said.
Ilya Kovalchuk could be considered a major culprit. After the team paid a fine and re-worked a contract that violated league salary cap rules, Kovalchuk has hardly played up to the 15-year, $100 million deal. He was even benched one game by MacLean for undisclosed reasons.
The team, outscored 15-3 in the last three games, has also suffered some key injuries.