After a terrific 29-17-3 second-half run, including a great 23-3-2 run from late-January to early-March, New Jersey Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire has announced that, for the second consecutive season, he will step down from his role.
This time, he will return to his post as special assignment coach, which he held before taking over from John MacLean earlier in the 2010-11 season. Lemaire cited his age and desire to spend time with his family, according to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.
"I told my wife if I was younger I would coach," he said. He added that he felt the team will be better next year, saying "I'll be back next year to watch them play in the playoffs ... if they take charge, they will make the playoffs."
General manager Lou Lamoriello will search for his third head coach in three seasons, and sixth since the lockout. One would think that he'd be after a veteran bench boss after going for younger coaches in Brent Sutter and MacLean, but Lemaire, the Hockey Hall of Fame player and Stanley Cup-winning coach with 617 wins to his credit, may have done his most impressive work in hockey in the second half of this Devils season.
His efforts should not be forgotten should this team improve again next year. For more on the move, be sure to check our Devils blog, In Lou We Trust.