A colleague of Schnookie’s was regaling her today at the office about how he was at a Devils game recently, seated near enough to Lou’s box that he was able to converse with him. Having had almost countless opportunities to chat with Lou back in our Gold Circle days at the Meadowlands, Schnookie was not immediately impressed with this. “Did you chew him out about keeping Langer for too long?” was pretty much all she could think of to say about it. “No,” the colleague said, “He said it was MacLean.” Schnookie was a bit dubious about the likelihood that Lou is telling random fans at games that the season’s failures can all be pinned on John MacLean (and his own failure to fire him a lot sooner than he did), but she wasn’t interested in calling this coworker out, so she just said, “My mother could have told him MacLean was a bad idea the minute he hired him.” (“My mother” makes her sound like a preposterous choice of hockey analyst, doesn’t it?) Then she walked away.
And then she had a BRILLIANT idea. The Devils need to hire Boomer. She has an unerring nose for catastrophic turns the Devils are taking, long before anyone else knows things have gone sideways. For example, in our first year with season tickets (and just our second year as hockey fans) we were, naturally, utterly confident that we were going to see our boys win the Cup. They were at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, and were totally kicking ass left and right, and then they lost one random home game in March. We were both trying to stay optimistic that it was just a blip, but Boomer knew better. “They’re done,” she snarled bitterly as we piled into the car, “The season’s over.” We thought she was being melodramatic and unreasonable, but you know what? She was right. In the years since, she’s always been right. She knows the very instant a March Swoon is starting, and she always responds with profound fury when the team makes a player move that will, in the long run, turn out horribly. When the Devils hired MacLean, she announced that she was done with the Devils until he was gone. We told her she was being ridiculous, but as it turns out, we were the ones who didn’t know what they were talking about.
So here’s what Lou needs to do — he needs to hire Boomer to be his canary in the coal mine. When he’s about to make some kind of personnel move, he can just run it by her first. If she doesn’t respond, then there’s nothing disastrously horrible likely to come from the move. But if she does respond? DON’T DO IT, LOU.