Skip to content

With MacLean out in New Jersey, why Jacques Lemaire all over again?

Dec 23, 2010, 11:43 AM EDT

Comments Off on With MacLean out in New Jersey, why Jacques Lemaire all over again?
gyi0060275655

The Devils firing of John MacLean didn’t come as too big a surprise to those following their situation. The team was bad, they were getting blown out, and they weren’t a threat to turn it around. The choice of having once-retired former coach Jacques Lemaire take over on an interim basis is a curious one though.

(Update: it certainly didn’t produce immediate results, as the Devils were humbled by the almost-as-bad Islanders by a score of 5-1 on Thursday.)

When MacLean was brought in, it was believed he’d get the Devils to slowly transition into a more attack-oriented team. A team that started off the year with major offensive weapons like Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise and being supported by guys like Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias, and Jason Arnott can make it so scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem. Instead, the team lost Parise to injury and it turned them into a one star team. Factor in numerous injuries to the defense and losing Martin Brodeur for up to ten games and you’ve got yourself a nightmare scenario, one that MacLean couldn’t figure out how to juggle correctly.

With Lemaire in charge once again, the Devils will go back to Lemaire’s trusty defensively-oriented system that relies heavily upon counter-attacking and creating turnovers in the neutral zone while preventing scoring opportunities from even developing by opponents. There’s also another motivation at work here.

What GM Lou Lamoriello is doing by having Lemaire take over is making accountability in all areas of the game a must and for the Devils, taking care of their own end has become as much of a problem as scoring goals has. Sure the Devils are 30th out of 30 teams in scoring, but they’re also 21st in goals allowed. Being poor defensively is unfamiliar territory for any Devils team and something that had to be driving Lamoriello nuts. Lemaire will fix that the way he knows he can the fastest by falling back on his trusty system.

But what of team captain Jamie Langenbrunner? Last season, Langenbrunner and Lemaire had their fair share of issues with each other and ultimately concluded with Langenbrunner brushing off the press when asked about their relationship. Having a team captain and a coach not getting along makes for a really awkward locker room.

With Lemaire coming back into the fold once again, is this Lamoriello’s way of pushing his captain’s buttons to get him to inspire the guys in the room or is it just a fact of the matter that’s brushed aside because Lemaire is Lou’s guy and that’s that? We’re betting on the latter with maybe a touch of the former. Either way, Langenbrunner has to feel like Lamoriello put a half-ton of coal in his stocking this year.

As always with the Devils, a coaching change comes with a certain amount of drama and this is no different. How this plays out the rest of the way for the team should prove to be fascinating to watch because if even Lemaire can’t get this crew turned around to at least being a more competitive team, someone’s going to have to answer to owner Jeff Vanderbeek and Lou Lamoriello is the guy that put together this salary cap-era disaster of a roster.

Latest Posts
  1. Wings’ Kronwall has hearing today for hit on Kucherov

    Apr 28, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT

    Niklas Kronwall Getty Images

    Occurred late in the second period on Monday night.

  2. Fisher, Ribeiro express desire to remain with Preds

    Apr 28, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Mike Fisher Getty Images

    Both are unrestricted free agents this summer.

  3. PHT Morning Skate: Paul Pierce chirps the Islanders

    Apr 28, 2015, 8:07 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 7.57.34 AM

    Tuesday’s collection of links.

  4. Tavares struggles to believe ‘it’s really over’ for Isles

    Apr 28, 2015, 12:04 AM EDT

    John Tavares AP

    It’s also tough to say what happens next.

  5. Video: Breaking down Kuznetsov’s series-clincher for Caps

    Apr 27, 2015, 11:16 PM EDT

    Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brooks Orpik Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brooks Orpik

    Barry Trotz says he has the joy of a kid and the maturity of a man.

  6. Not done yet: Lightning earn Game 7 against Red Wings

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:55 PM EDT

    Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat AP

    Some great individual performances propel Tampa Bay.

  7. Milbury throws out rules, much like the NHL

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:36 PM EDT

    Mike Milbury

    Game 7 is one of those “let them play” games.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 27, 2015, 6:16 PM EDT

    Nicklas Backstrom, Johnny Boychuk , Thomas Hickey, Marcus Johansson AP

    One Game 7 and one team hoping to force another.

  9. Blues owner ‘disappointed and frustrated,’ but not ready to ‘throw people under the bus’

    Apr 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7 Getty Images

    Tom Stillman did say “I’m sure there’ll be changes” following another first-round playoff defeat.

  10. Weber has ‘medical procedure’ for ‘subluxed kneecap’

    Apr 27, 2015, 4:56 PM EDT

    Shea Weber AP

    Expected to make full recovery within 4-6 weeks.

  11. NHL issues statement on passing of Hall of Famer Pronovost

    Apr 27, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT

    2006 NHL Entry Draft Portraits Getty Images

    Former Maple Leaf and Red Wing appeared in over 1,200 career games, winning five Stanley Cups.

  12. Despite ‘step in the right direction,’ do Canucks need to alter core?

    Apr 27, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    Phoenix Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis were each asked if they’d be willing to waive their no-trade clauses.

Featured video

Price brilliant for Habs
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2307)
  2. S. Weber (2041)
  3. A. Burrows (1947)
  4. M. Giordano (1857)
  5. M. Zuccarello (1837)
  1. K. Letang (1619)
  2. C. Price (1612)
  3. D. Carcillo (1577)
  4. L. Bouma (1484)
  5. K. Klein (1437)