Although today was mostly about Martin Brodeur, who was honored by the General Assembly and the Senate at the New Jersey State House in Trenton today, the Devils are still in the middle of a coaching search, so I asked Brodeur about the talk that Jacques Lemaire might be coming back to coach the team.
Lemaire took over as the Devils head coach before the start of the 1993-94 campaign-- Brodeur's first full season in the NHL. Together they helped the Devils capture their first Stanley Cup in 1995.
"He's a guy that I have a lot of respect for," Brodeur said. "He was the first guy to give me my chance to play in the NHL, so for me to see his name going around, there's a little smile on my face for that because I do have a relationship with him."
That said, Brodeur didn't endorse anyone as Brent Sutter's successor. He's staying out of the way while general manager Lou Lamoriello conducts his search, but also said he would like to see him hire a coach that would continue what Sutter started in changing to a more up-tempo, aggressive style and giving the team's younger players the opportunity to excel..
"I'm at a point where the decision, I know will be the right one," Brodeur said. "Like I've said in the past, I have a lot of faith in Lou and the hockey people that we have to bring in the right guy under the right circumstances. I thought we did some great things last year with some of the young players playing the way they played and my concern is to make sure that we don't stop there. We need these kids to continue to grow.
"It doesn't matter who the coach is to me. It won't change much and for the older players it won't change much. But it's for the kids, the future prospects and how they need to learn. Like I said, I'm anxious becuase that's what we do. I play hockey and it would be nice to know who is going to be the head of our team."
Brodeur said the style Sutter implemented helped the Devils, particularly the young players, progress as a team..
"Brent brought a system that helped these guys to be able to go in and gain more and be more active on the offensive side of the puck," Brodeur said ."It's something that we gained confiedence in doing that and, for us as a team, by doing that we showed ourselves that we're capable fo playing a certain way to compete with the top teams and we've just got to continue that way."
That doesn't sound like Brodeur is talking about a Lemaire return when you consider that Lemaire is known for his conservative, defensive style,
Would Brodeur like to see the Devils' next coach play the same, aggressive style Sutter used?
"Not necessarily to the T, but I think he brought a lot of good things," Brodeur said. "The guy was an excellent coach for us and it's too bad he had to leave. I guess it is what it is. We can't control that too much, so we're I'm looking forward to our new coach now."
Brodeur knows that Lamoriello has a lot on his plate right now with a coaching search, the draft coming up in eight days and free agency beginning in less than two weeks.
"The coaching makes a big difference in a hockey team and the way it's run," Brodeur said. "What's going to happen with the draft coming up, trades are coming up at the draft, there's a lot of things that Lou is going to have his hands full and I'm sure he'll try to make a decision as quick as possible."
I am on the train on the way back from Trenton to Newark right now. It was quite an entertaining afternoon at the State House and I had an opportunity to meet several fans. I appreciated the kind words about the blog. It's nice to know my work is appreciated.
I'll write more about the events in Trenton in a new post when I get back to Prudential Center.