Blog Entry

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

Posted on: July 14, 2011 4:22 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:02 pm

By Brian Stubits

What the devil is going on in New Jersey?

Here we are, more than three months after their season finished and the New Jersey Devils still haven't named a coach? General Manager Lou Lamoriello says a decision is coming. Some time soon, even.

"We will have a coach in the very near future, but not this week," Lamoriello said earlier this week.

Feels like that has been the standard response for a few weeks now. He is starting to sound like Chicago Cubs fans: Wait till next year.

The more time that passes, the more questions that are raised: Why is nobody taking what was not long ago a very good job? Why are the Devils going through coaches like kids through Halloween candy? Is Lamoriello tough to work under? Is there a dearth of desirable candidates? Is Lamoriello just being lazy? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? (That's the only one I really know the answer to -- three.)

The list of names that have popped into the search at one point or another seems to be longer than Martin Brodeur's career. There have been retreads (two-time Devils coach Larry Robinson), coaching vets (Craig MacTavish, Ken Hitchcock), college coaches (Wisconsin's Mike Eaves) and everybody in between (hello, Guy Carbonneau and Michael Therrien). But naturally these names are just on a speculative list.

"I'm not going to get into discussions with reference to the coaching staff or anything of that nature," Lamoriello said. "There's [no coach] that has been named, so you can interpret it any way you want."

Then there's the ultimate retread: Jacques Lemaire. He has had three stints coaching the Devils, including the Stanley Cup champions in 1994-95 and last year's underachieving team that he made very competitive in his interim stretch.

Apparently his is one name you can safely cross off the list.

“I’m waiting for Lou to make his decision,” Lemaire told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “I’m excited like the fans, I guess, to find out who it’s going to be. It’s not going to be me."

That has to be a bummer for Devils fans. Lemaire seems like he'd be a good stopgap for another season as he brought out the best in what was an awful Devils team. But it is probably for the good to move on to a new era. Preferably a long-term stay in Jersey, considering the Devils have had 12 coaches since Lemaire first left after the 1997-98 season (counting each visit for Robinson, Lemaire and Lamoriello's own stints separately).

So maybe it's worth it to take your sweet time to hire the right coach. It's just hard for me to imagine it takes this long to find said coach. All the other vacancies in the NHL have been filled and it's been that way for a while.

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Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:47 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jul 14, 2011
Posted on: July 15, 2011 10:59 pm

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

Nobody cares, either.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:13 pm

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

I dunno - three Stanley Cups buys Lou an awful lot of credibility

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: July 15, 2011 11:57 am

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

I don't think it is an accurate statement to say that no one wants the job of coaching the Devils. Lou may already have his guy and for reasons only Lou knows (since never says a damn thing about these matters) is simply waiting for the proper moment to announce it.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: July 15, 2011 10:40 am

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

Maybe it's because every candidate who isn't named Lemaire knows the odds are he'll be fired and replaced by Lamoriello before the end of the season.

Since: Apr 3, 2010
Posted on: July 15, 2011 6:26 am

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

Devs are never big into free agency so I dont care much about that..lets the Flyers and Rags sign the overpriced overrated players.

Lou has always had a rep for going a little crazy though when it comes to coaches..and I still believe that he thinks Lemaire will come back (which would be awesome)

He learned the hard way last season with John MacLean and what a joke that was...we need an expierenced guy to come in here and do great things.

Ken Hitchcock would be my 2nd choice if Lemaire is to stay retired.

Since: May 13, 2011
Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:36 am

Devils still without a coach: what's the holdup?

Lou hasn't done much this summer. Greene resigned on defense and Hedberg as backup goalie.  Sestito resigned at C/LW.

Parise is RFA but plenty of cap space to get him resigned around 6.7M.

Nothing really to get excited about for Devils fans.

Henrique may make the team next season. Seen him play for Windsor on those Memorial Cup teams and he should be a good one soon in the NHL.

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