“Hey, we just had a guy who communicated with the players and everybody liked and we won nine games,’’ said veteran goalie Martin Brodeur.
Beginning his third stint as coach of the Devils, Lemaire may not be loved in the Devils’ locker room but he’s respected and is a proven winner. The hope is that he can spark the Devils' 5-on-5 game. They rank last in the NHL with 57 goals.
“His system and the way he wants the game to be played has been a blueprint for this organization for a long time,’’ said captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who sometimes clashed with Lemaire.
Here is GM Lou Lamoriello on the decision:
“It’s a decision that certainly is not one that’s pleasant or we feel good about,” Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "But it’s a decision that, in my opinion, had to be made.
“I take responsibility for waiting and trying to get it to where it should have been. Under no set of circumstances should all of this responsibility be placed on (MacLean). The responsibility lies on the players and myself for what couldn’t be done. Unfortunately, we just weren’t getting it done.”
Lemaire retired after leading the Devils to a 48-27-7 record last season.