Breaking news: winning is fun.
Such a concept isn’t even lost on New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, a bench boss often associated (fairly or not) with the fun-killing neutral zone trap. Earlier this season, the bright strategist reportedly stamped out any notion that he might return to coach the team next year. Yet with the undoubted fun that most come with winning often (the Devils are 9-1-2 in their last 12 games), Lemaire left the door to another season open just a crack.
Simply enough, Lemaire said he’ll discuss next season after this one concludes. Such a coy response might be almost as frustrating as it must have been to play against Lemaire’s late-90s teams once they earned a one-goal lead, but the 65-year-old former NHL player has earned the right to call his own shots.
To some extent, it seems like the Devils’ resurgence might not accomplish much beyond ruining their first chance at a top five draft pick in ages. Then again, New Jersey isn’t completely out of the playoff picture just yet, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes by 16 points with 29 games left.
Let’s make this much clear: there’s little doubt the team is marching back toward respectability with Lemaire. If he can manage an almost unthinkable run to the playoffs, it would be hard to deny him a Jack Adams award. Either way, the Devils will likely want him back in 2011-12.
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.