It’s Back To The Future all over again for Jacques Lemaire and the Devils. As was speculated here over the weekend, apparently the time machine has been set back to the year 1993. The worst kept secret finally came true earlier today when the veteran coach was rehired by Lou Lamoriello.
In related news, Islander fans declared they want the Cup after seeing John Tavares at rookie camp while Ranger fans took to the streets demanding Glen Sather be fired. Hey. One can dream.
So, is bringing back Lemaire the right move for the Devils? That depends on how much he learned from his Minnesota experience along with final days from the previous New Jersey stint. He gets to coach another talented player in Zach Parise, whose fresh off a 45-goal, 94-point season. What does this mean for Parise along with ZZ Popp linemates Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner?
Knowing that writing off the Devils is like killing Michael Myers, I’m not about to jump the gun. If being a Ranger fan has taught me anything, it’s that you just can’t count out the Devils. They had plenty of success under Lemaire the first time and one Brian Rolston should be quite familiar with what to expect. He played his best hockey under the defensive mind in St. Paul.
I’m more curious to see how Patrik Elias performs. He was a rookie the last time Jacques was there and the subject of controversy in a first round upset loss to immortal Damian Rhodes and the Sens. A lot’s changed since with Elias now the all-time Devils leading scorer supplanting former assistant turned Lowell coach John MacLean. He also has won two Stanley Cups including the memorable set up of Jason Arnott’s sudden death clincher.
Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski accurately points out that Lemaire’s return pits him against former pupil Marian Gaborik, who signed with the Hudson rival Rangers. That should give a little extra juice to the rivalry. Why am I not the least excited?
Lemaire is bringing Wild assistant/former Habs coach Mario Tremblay and Tommy Albelin will be his other assistant with Hall of Famer Scott Stevens expected to play a bigger role as a special advisor. What that means exactly who knows. I’ll leave that to our resident NJD blogger Hasan.
There’s really not much else to say. This was expected once Brent Sutter predictably quit to be with older brother Darryl in Calgary. At least the Devils brought in a coach who is passionate about the job and knows what to expect. Say what you will about Lemaire’s system but you’ll at least see more grins on that bench and a little more persona during the postgame.
Maybe it’s not all that bad a move. The Devil D didn’t exactly get the job done against Carolina. I guess we’ll leave the final verdict to Hasan.