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Claude Lemieux recalls ’94 series, likens Keenan to Tortorella and Lemaire to DeBoer

May 24, 2012, 4:25 PM EDT

Claude Lemieux 3

Over at the New York Times, Jeff Z. Klein is in the midst of his outstanding “Remembering 1994” series — a variety of Q&As with some of the most noteworthy combatants from the 1994 Eastern Conference finals.

One recent interviewee was four-time Stanley Cup champ Claude Lemieux, who figured prominently in the ’94 series and later won the Conn Smythe during New Jersey’s 1995 Stanley Cup run.

Here’s his take on the coaching:

NYT: Do you see any parallels between the 1994 Eastern Conference finals and the current Devils-Rangers series?

LEMIEUX: I think both teams right now are being coached probably like we were coached at the time. In ’94 it was a very intense series, and Mike Keenan, the Rangers’ coach, was a very intense guy. In this series we’ve seen key players not touch the ice for a while — Gaborik, Del Zotto — and it was the same thing with Keenan. Some of the players who were playing half the game all of a sudden were sat down, like Brian Leetch.

Jacques Lemaire was the opposite. He never got too high, never got too low. He was a thinker, and he never let his emotion take over making the right decision. Keenan was much more of an emotional guy, probably like Tortorella is. Peter DeBoer and the Devils’ coaching staff coach a lot like the way we were coached when we were winning.

Eeriest part of the coaching parallels?

In 1994, Keenan benched Leetch — New York’s best offensive defenseman — in Game 4, which the Devils won 3-1.

In 2012, Tortorella benched Del Zotto — New York’s best offensive defenseman — in Game 4, a game the Devils won 4-1.

And yes, I did watch a lot of X-Files growing up.

  1. blkeskimo1785 - May 24, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Can’t see Callahan guaranteeing a win on Friday though.

  2. vindicatus - May 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Hey, who’s going to watch those new NBC shows tonight? That Friends looks really funny, but ER looks a little over the top. Must see TV!

    More ancient history from 1994…

  3. drewsylvania - May 24, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Who’s Lemieux? Burrows? Subban?

  4. spavs412 - May 24, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I hope torts gets hit by a bus

  5. challer9 - May 24, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I just can’t read or hear Claude Lemieux’s name without instantly thinking of McCarty pounding his head into mush. And it’s awesome.

    • ydj1120 - May 25, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      I bet that’s not what Kris Draper thinks about when he hears Lemieux’s name.

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