News has started to surface that Jaques Lemaire is willing to consider remaining the coach in NJ next season. If you’re a New Jersey Devils fan, that is the only news you want to hear. Well, that and maybe that you will make a playoff appearance this season but that appears to not be on the horizon for this team.
The Devils are famous for having a revolving door behind their bench. Each of their three Stanley Cups, all won within a 10-year period, was won with a different coach. Now, you can’t blame all the changes on the Devils, as Lemaire did retire last spring and Pat Burns had to step down because of cancer. Some of the other coaches in recent history were just knuckleheads, yea you Kevin Constantine.
The Devils NEED Lemaire to come back, anyone with half a brain knows that. Lemaire took over a 9-22-2 team that had no chemistry, no promise and turned it into a 25-13-2 juggernaut. Lemaire commands the best from his players. When he arrived at Christmas, the Devils were very much out of shape. He’s fixed that now and he’s even got players scared to take penalties. Certainly John MacLean didn’t own the locker room the way Lemaire does. I truly wonder if John MacLean will EVER get another coaching job in the NHL, maybe an assistant’s job but I can’t see another shot at head coach.
Getting Lemaire to stay for at least one more season would allow the Devils to easily transition from one season into another, without having to learn a new system, a new personality, and a new coaching philosophy. We all know how effective Jaques Lemaire is.
If you are Lou, you do everything possible to achieve two things this coming off-season. 1) Sign Zach Parise long term and 2) get Jaques Lemaire to stay. The Devils can’t afford to sacrifice another 33 games of a season to yet another new coach.