Dec 23, 2010, 11:43 AM EST
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.
Dec 10, 2013, 7:47 PM EST
Mike Green also gets a game misconduct.
Dec 10, 2013, 7:12 PM EST
GMs sing his praises, too.
Dec 10, 2013, 6:52 PM EST
It won’t happen in 2014-15, though.
Dec 10, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
It’s a hot-button issue in the wake of Saturday’s Boston-Pittsburgh game.
Dec 10, 2013, 5:13 PM EST
Phoenix has just two wins in its last eight.
Dec 10, 2013, 4:21 PM EST
Former first-round pick on his way to Norfolk.
Dec 10, 2013, 3:02 PM EST
We’re about to find out.
Dec 10, 2013, 2:42 PM EST
A loaded Detroit roster gets… more loaded.
Dec 10, 2013, 2:15 PM EST
‘Hawks no like.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:53 PM EST
For the second time this season.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:40 PM EST
Chicago’s goalie depth about to be tested.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:36 PM EST
It really wasn’t.
Dec 10, 2013, 1:29 PM EST
Because he’s spent much of this season questioning his team.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:49 PM EST
When Nashville loses, it loses big.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
It’s been a long journey for the former No. 6 overall pick.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:14 PM EST
Incident occurred on Sunday, against Boston’s Kevan Miller.
Dec 10, 2013, 12:11 PM EST
No goals in 18 games for the Sabres.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
Facing a lengthy suspension.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:42 AM EST
Bad news, especially given his history.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
He spent 16 years with and played over 600 games for the Flames.
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 4
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 65
- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 37
- Rangers confirm Staal suffered concussion 8
- Winnipeg to get outdoor game; Phoenix wants one 33
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 156
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 104
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 133
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (133)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (114)