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Devils fire coach John MacLean; Jacques Lemaire set to return as interim head coach

John MacLean

New Jersey Devils coach John MacLean talks to the team during practice as they prepare for the NHL hockey season Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)


Something had to give in New Jersey. The team had an NHL-worst 20 points in the standings and seemed lost on the ice of late getting blown out by Atlanta and Washington in back-to-back games. Today, coach John MacLean faced the music and was fired after getting the Devils off to a 9-22-2 start.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello made the call this morning to relieve MacLean of his duties and with the team set to face the New York Islanders tonight, a familiar face from the past is set to return to take over as Jacques Lemaire will be named interim head coach. Lemaire retired in the spring after leading the Devils to the playoffs last year. Lemaire, of course, is famous for leading the Devils to their first Stanley Cup title back in 1995.

For MacLean, this end was inevitable with how badly the team played. Lamoriello understood that there were a lot of injuries to the team and it made it difficult to judge how well exactly the team was being coached. Lately though the team has looked disinterested and unmotivated and it showed on the scoreboard.

Bringing Lemaire and his notoriously tight defensive game plan, one that everyone on the team is familiar with by now, will at least help the low scoring Devils hang around better in games. It won’t look exciting, but the Devils may stand a better chance at winning. As it is, the Devils are well out of a playoff position sitting 18 points out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

If anyone can help get the Devils turned around now it’s Lemaire, but he’s not the permanent solution he’s merely the guy to get the team turned around now until Lamoriello can find the guy he thinks fits best. You can count on Michel Therrien and, former favorite head coach of Ilya Kovalchuk, Bob Hartley to be considerations.