Buttoned-down Devils must find coach for the long haul
There is a row of dark suits and white shirts hanging in the closet in
Okay. Probably not.
There is one way to dress in Lamoriello's world, just like there is one way to play hockey. Orderly. Dependably. Responsibly. You might even venture to say
So the question in the wake of
In other words, does a man I've never seen wear them change his stripes?
The Devils Way can still win, obviously.If those three Stanley Cups in New Jersey have slipped your mind, a quick glance at the sudden success of the Phoenix Coyotes is a reminder that a responsible defensive team willing to play within a system is capable of achieving wonders. But there are other ways to go about your business. In Detroit, for example, coach
Not that Babcock's view of the game deviates wildly from the norm. But Babcock and other coaches offer their players at least the perception of freedom that is prized by offensive virtuosi like
As left wing
Lemaire quit in Minnesota after the 2008-09 season because he was played out in St. Paul. But the short-term prospects of the Devils, plus his role as an assistant coach on Canada's 2010 Olympic team, seemed to energize him last fall. He'll turn 65 before the start of next season. He likes the Florida sun. Sometimes a man has to know when it's time to walk away, and who knows more about exits?
As an NHL player, Lemaire bolted after the Montreal Canadiens won a fourth straight Cup, in 1979. As Montreal's coach, he fled in 1985 because the pressure had become insane. Now, after just one year, he walks away from a team that has won only two playoff series since its last Cup, in 2003. He is as knowledgeable as any hockey man east of
Now Lamoriello, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has to find a replacement capable of hanging around for much of the next decade. The process should be fascinating. Lamoriello is a man who will not compromise his values, not even to sell a couple of tickets. But with a plenty-of-good-seats-still-available arena, it probably wouldn't hurt to find a coach capable of injecting energy into the team and the hardy Devils loyalists who have had to endure premature playoff exits.
Like suits, championships don't necessarily come in only one color.