While we’re never learn exactly what went wrong between Jamie
Langenbrunner and Jacques Lemaire — I’m sure Langenbrunner’s sub-par
play didn’t help — we do have some clues as to why Langenbrunner was so
upset after being scratched on April 3.
Lemaire scratched him
supposedly to send him a message after a number of poor performances as
the Devils fought for a division title. That alone would be enough to
anger Langenbrunner, but
according to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger, Lemaire tried to give
the “C” to Colin White for that game.
Obviously, he didn’t take it.
“I look up to Jamie. He is our leader,” White said. “I’ve always
looked up to him and I’ve told him that. I don’t think our (team’s)
leadership can be challenged.”
Langenbrunner, as he struggles to recover from a
disappointing season, admits that things weren’t exactly cozy between
“There were some differences of opinion when it came to dealing with a
few issues,” Langenbrunner said. “There were some things that were done
that probably didn’t help the situation. For most of the season it was
fine, up until Christmas.
“There were a few things that happened, a few issues that were tough
for me to let go. I probably didn’t handle them correctly. Not all
personalities completely mesh, but they are able to work together. I had
no problems with the way he treated me. It was more about team issues
that we would never agree on.”
Despite their great regular season record, there was no doubting the
team’s issues once the playoffs began. Langenbrunner may say he didn’t
have much of an issue with Lemaire personally, but when things started
to go wrong Langenbrunner was the epicenter of the dysfunction
surrounding the team.
So while the team says that Lemaire would have been the coach next
season if he didn’t “retire”, a coaching change is likely exactly what
the Devils needed.