Sports Outside the Beltway

NJ Devils hire Jacques Lemaire to be head coach

This will be his second stint in New Jersey. From AP-

After six years without a Stanley Cup, the New Jersey Devils are handing over the team to the coach who led them to their first NHL title.

Jacques Lemaire, who coached the Devils for five seasons in the mid 1990s and led them to the Cup in 1995, is New Jersey’s coach again. He was hired on Monday, some five weeks after Brent Sutter resigned and eventually took over as coach of the Calgary Flames.

“I never thought I would be back,” the 63-year-old Lemaire said in a conference call. “I said at that time when I was leaving after five years, and it was five great years, I wanted to cherish this for the rest of my life and the rest of my career, but I never thought one day I would come back.”

The deal reunites Lemaire with general manager and president Lou Lamoriello and goaltender Martin Brodeur, the combination that turned that Devils from a contender to a champion in 1995.

“Jacques Lemaire is one of the most respected coaches in the game,” Lamoriello said. “He is a teacher and a communicator, and knows what it takes to have success.”

The Devils also won Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003, but they have not come close in recent years. They were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs the past two seasons under Sutter.

Lemaire has been a very successful coach in the NHL. His Minnesota Wild teams had a very distinct style of play. Will Lemaire try to force the same system on the Devils? New Jersey has much more offensive punch than the Wild ever had. I think Lemaire will adapt to the personnel he will have in New Jersey. The Devils are good enough to make the Stanley Cup finals again IMHO.

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