Sports Outside the Beltway

Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire to retire

He is the only head coach in the franchise’s history. From AP-

The Wild have scheduled a news conference for Monday morning to make the news official and discuss plans for the future of the position.

“I think it’s time for the players to get a new coach and myself to look for other stuff,” Lemaire told writers from the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and the St. Paul Pioneer Press after the season finale at Columbus. “I always said there’ll be a time. There comes a time that you know it’s the right time to go, and I know this. I had a great time, man. I had eight great years.”

General manager Doug Risebrough hired his former Montreal teammate and good buddy Lemaire to preside over the expansion team, which began play in 2000. Lemaire used his superior strategic sense and defensive acumen to lead the team to the Western Conference finals in 2003 and to a Northwest Division title last season.

Lemaire was 291-256-107 with the Wild, including winning records in his last six seasons. Despite several significant injuries to Marian Gaborik, Brent Burns and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, the Wild barely missed the playoffs this season.

The 2008-09 season was a frustrating one for the Wild. While there is no disputing Lemaire built an expansion Minnesota into a competitive NHL team, I think he outlived his usefulness to the franchise.

Lemaire who previously coached New Jersey and Montreal may find head coaching work again. The turnover rate in the NHL is very high.

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