Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said today that he felt no need before training camp start -- or even now -- to tell his players not to believe what they've heard or read about him being a boring, defensive-minded coach.
"I don't need to do this, not at all," he said. "When I came in, what they see is what is there. What I tell them to do, it's common sense."
Lemaire said the team hasn't worked much on defensive-zone play since the start of camp.
"The first day, we did some D-zone stuff," Lemaire said. "All the restwas offense and we did more offensively than defensively. But, as I said, if we're weak defensively, we'll work on defense."
Does it bother Lemaire that he has this reputation as a trapping, lock-down defensive coach?
"When it bothers me [is] when a person from thhe outside come to me and talks about something that he just doesn't know," he said. "That bothers me. He'll say, as an example, 'Do you think this guy or that guy would be better in an offensive system?' Then, I look at him. Poor guy. Go back to school."
Lemaire says the coaches in the NHL all play similar styles now.
"We're all the same coaches now. We're all the same," he said. "Before defense was not as important because of Edmonton (which won five Stanley Cups as an offeensive-minded team from 1984 to 1990.) Everyone went offense. Even in Montreal, with all the Cups we had, we were talking about defense in the room. And when Edmonton started to win, everyone went offense and they forgot a little bit about defense. Us, we always believed that defense was a big key. So, that's what we taught to the other players defense -- because we want to win. And there was an edge at that time on the other teams, but now everyone knows you've got to play well defensively. You can't have 400 goals against and figure you're going to win."