Lou Lamoriello is something of a beloved figure in New Jersey, and for good reason. The man is responsible for much of what the franchise has managed since he took over as president and general manager in 1987, and he's had no shortage of personal achievements.
Last year, Lamoriello was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. Three years prior, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. He put together a team that won three Stanley Cups and had two additional finals appearances.
He's the man who drafted Scott Niedermayer, Martin Brodeur, Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Brian Gionta and Zach Parise. He found undrafted gems like John Madden, David Clarkson and Brian Rafalski. For the 2000 Cup, he acquired Claude Lemieux and Alex Mogilny. For 2003, he acquired Jeff Friesen, Jamie Langenbrunner and Joe Nieuwendyk. His name is attached to everything great the team has ever achieved.
Now, though? Now it seems he is starting to lose his touch.
Always a "big picture" planner, Lamoriello has spent the last 20 seasons trying to maintain a roster that could compete for a Stanley Cup, and the results speak for themselves: He missed the playoff just three times between 1988 and 2012.
Unfortunately, leading up to and during the 2013 season, Lou's decisions made less sense and held up less to scrutiny. In the end, it resulted in the reigning Eastern Conference champions missing the playoffs entirely.
After a season that's seen plenty of questionable calls by the man in charge, Lou's instincts need to be questioned.