Several points that tie into each other:
-Someone else sees the Bowman effect and it cannot be understated! Except for Buffalo, who no one can help, the Stanley Cup follows Bowman and I don't think it's coincidence in Chicago either. 14 Cups in one capacity or another plus another 4 Finals appearances where he didn't win, that's 19 Finals appearances since he started in 1967. If Scotty Bowman is the janitor in your building, that makes you an immediate Cup contender.
-The decline really picked up when Brian Rafalski left 2 years after Bowman, if you look at the standings and defense numbers. Not filling it with a proper partner for Lidstrom and getting a top pair Dmen to replace Lids/Rafalski has been a huge problem that everyone knows about and I don't need to rehash it here.
-Ken Holland needs to go. He doesn't know why free agents won't come to Detroit, he keeps saying there is no one to land on the free market yet all of our competitors have no problems landing free agents (Tampa, Minnesota...). I think the Illitches need to look hard at moving Kenny, he is unable to keep up with the modern trends and it shows. Yzerman went to Tampa and has not been afraid to trade core players, and he signed key defensmen, and has turned the team completely around, he looks like a friggin' genius with what he's done the last few years (trading for Bishop, signing Flip, trading St. Louis, buying out Vinnie, signing Hedman, Stralman, signing super huge goalies and defense, that's not coincidence that whole back end is over 6'5", etc. etc. etc.). Other GMs also have no problems trading and signing, it's time for a regime change, the era of Holland is not working anymore.