Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Welcome back to New Jersey Jacques Lemaire!

After 11 years away from Jersey and 9 years in Minnesota. The coach who led the Devils to it's first Stanley Cup championship back in 1995 is coming to the rock!

Lemaire, 63, re-joins the Devils after serving as head coach of the Wild the past nine seasons. As the only coach in franchise history, he compiled a 293-255-108=694pt (.529) mark in 656 regular- season games behind Minnesota’s bench. With a 40-33-9=89pt (.543) record in 2008-09, Lemaire led the club to its sixth straight season with a .500-plus points percentage. In 2002-03, he led the Wild to the Western Conference Finals while capturing his second career Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. Lemaire was named Minnesota’s first head coach June 19, 2000 after serving Montreal as a senior consultant to the general manager. As head coach of the Devils for five seasons from 1993-94 through 1997-98, he guided the squad to a 199-122-57=455pt (.602) mark in 378 regular-season games, and a 34-22 (.607) record in 56 playoff contests until stepping down May 8, 1998. Lemaire’s 378 games, 199 wins, 56 post-season games, and 34 post-season victories are tops in franchise history. Including the 1995 Stanley Cup Championship, he led the team to four post-season appearances, and guided it to the Eastern Conference’s best record in both 1996-97 (45-23-14=104pts) and 1997-98 (48-23-11=107pts). In Lemaire’s first season behind the team’s bench, New Jersey advanced past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1988, while he won the Jack Adams Award for the first time. He was originally named the organization’s eighth coach on June 28, 1993.

Bottom line is this..Lemaire knows how to win. He played for the Canadiens for 12 seasons and racked up 8 Stanley Cups! (including 4 straight from 76-79 and the cup-winning goal in '77) I am sad that my main man Johnny MacLean was not given the chance to lead this team, but he was given the head coaching job down with AHL affiliate Lowell in hopes to groom him to possibly succeed Lemaire.

Jacques was set to retire, but watching the intensity that this year's playoffs presented lit the fire under him to coach once again. Lemaire said he will be around for at least the next 2 seasons.

Great move by the Devs in hopes to end the slump of getting eliminated in the first round as they have the past 2 seasons. The Devils won an all-time franchise high 51 games last year. Despite the devasting loss in game 7 against Carolina, Lemaire vows to lead the team to the next level....and who's to say he can't?

This move came after Bruce Sutter suddenly resigned the head coaching reigns only to take the head coaching gig for Calgary....the acquisition of Lemaire, however, leads me asking the question..

Bruce who?

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