NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jacques Lemaire is returning for a second stint as coach of the New Jersey Devils.
Lemaire, who coached the Devils for five seasons in the mid 1990s and led them to the first of three
Stanley Cups, was hired Monday to replace Brent Sutter, who resigned after two seasons.
Contract terms were not disclosed but the 63-year-old Lemaire said he intends to coach at least two
"I never thought I would be back," Lemaire said. "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 during a
conference call. "He is a teacher and a communicator, and knows what it takes to have
Lemaire recently resigned as coach of the Minnesota Wild. He took over the expansion franchise in 2000
and led them to the playoffs three times. However, the injury-plagued Wild struggled this past season
and Lemaire stepped down, saying he had taken them as far as he could.
"Last year, right after the season, I never did close the door on coaching," Lemaire said.
"I just said that my time in Minnesota is over and it’s time to go on and do something else,"
Watching the playoffs convinced Lemaire that he still wanted to coach.
"I’ve heard a lot of ex-coaches say often that it is really hard to get out of this because we love
the game and it is exciting and it’s fun," Lemaire said. "Well, that’s what I got watching the
Lemaire first talked with Lamoriello about the vacant job before the NHL draft in mid June and the two
hammered out an agreement this past weekend.
The Devils won the Atlantic Division title this past season, but they were stunned in the opening round
of the playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes, giving up two late goals in a Game 7 loss.