Here’s a rundown of reactions from across the blogosphere on the news
of Jacques Lemaire’s retirement, and what this means for the immediate
future of the franchise.
Fischer of In Lou We Trust as an epic (it’s expected with ILWT)
post on the firing, opining on the past season with Lemaire at the he
What I felt was the most impressive was how he structured the team so
they could continue winning so many games in November and December in
spite of all the injuries. Mind you, these were injuries to Paul Martin, Dainius
Zubrus, Patrik Elias, etc.,
etc. – a far cry from just a few guys being day-to-day for a week or
so. The Devils didn’t have a fully healthy roster until Martin came
back in the first half of March 2010. The Devils have had multiple
rookies from Lowell in the lineup and while it wasn’t always pretty,
the success still came. Yes, the Devils slumped in the first two
months 2010 (and the first week of March) but short of the very elite
teams, teams tend to regress to their mean over time anyway.
More reactions after the jump.
Wyshynski of Puck Daddy compares this season to 1998, Lemaire’s
last with the Devils (before this season, of course):
We know that the 2010 New Jersey Devils are the 1998 New Jersey
Devils, who lost in the first round against the Ottawa Senators. That
postseason saw a superstar veteran acquisition, who never fit the
system, play well in his final games for the franchise (Doug Gilmour
then; Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) potentially now);
Devils mainstays underachieve mightily in the playoffs (leading
goal-scorer Bobby Holik(notes) earned no points and a
minus-4 then; Jamie Langenbrunner’s(notes) one assist and a
minus-1 now); and Lemaire leave the bench after the season, after both
first-round disasters may have indicated players were quitting on him
and his methods.
Adrian Dater, writing
for Versus.com, says that Lou Lamoriello should perhaps look at
Jacques Lemaire was the latest New Jersey Devils coach to fall on his
sword, stepping down from the bench Monday after a disastrous
five-game first-round loss to Philadelphia. He joins a long list of
fall guys for Devils GM-for-life, Lou Lamoriello. Lemaire’s departure
means the Devils have now been through an incredible six coaches since
last winning the Cup in 2003 – one of them being Lou himself.
The question now is, when will Lamoriello take a good look in the
mirror? When will Lamoriello ever come out and say, “You know what,
folks, this one is on me.” Lamoriello is only too happy to take all the
credit when things go well — and there is no doubt that a lot of
things have gone very well for the Devils under his watch.
Quick note – I’m not certain this is a case of Lamoriello blaming
Lemaire for anything. By all accounts, Lemaire just didn’t have it in
him to continue and last season Brent Sutter ‘tricked’ the Devils before
moving on to Calgary.
Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail says that it’s tough to see
Lamaire go, but perhaps it’s for the best.
Lemaire was something of an innovator as a coach –
because of his particular attention to defensive hockey, something borne
of his own playing experience and the fact that he started his coaching
career in Switzerland. Sadly, when the Devils won that year, it also
introduced the dreaded term ‘neutral zone trap’ into the popular hockey
lexicon. Given how the NHL is a copycat league, it became the de
rigueur style for the better part of a decade.