Editorials

New York Islanders Bring In Jacques Lemaire As Special Advisor

20 Nov 1997: Jacques Lemaire of the New Jersey Devils blows a bubble during the game against the New York Islanders at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 5-1.
20 Nov 1997: Jacques Lemaire of the New Jersey Devils blows a bubble during the game against the New York Islanders at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 5-1. /
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It was revealed today that the New York Islanders have hired Jacques Lemaire as a special coaching advisor. A continuation of championship minds joining the Islanders.

Did your parents ever tell you: “show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”. My parents told me that all the time. Ask that of the New York Islanders now, and the answer will be champion.

We found out today that the New York Islanders have hired Jacques Lemaire as a special coaching advisor. To be fair, Lemaire has been following Lou Lamoriello for a long time. So Lemaire joining the Islanders isn’t a huge surprise.

But along with the hiring of Lou Lamoriello, Barry Trotz, and Mitch Korn, the Islanders are stockpiling championship caliber minds. The names Lou brought in to the playing staff might not inspire greatness, but those on the management staff absolutely do.

Who Is He?

For those unaware of who Jacques Lemaire is, here’s a very brief breakdown of his incredible accomplishments in the game of hockey.

As a member of the Montreal Canadiens, Lemaire scored at least 20 goals in 12 consecutive NHL seasons. He topped out at 44 goals in 1972-73. He scored 835 points across 853 regular season games and 139 points in 143 playoff games.

He won eight Stanley Cups in his playing career, two cups as an assistant general manager with the Canadiens, and another cup as the head coach of the New Jersey Devils. Lemaire has more Stanley Cup rings than fingers.

He coached for in the NHL for 17 seasons accumulating a 617-458-124-63 record, good for a .563 win percentage. He won the Jack Adams trophy as the league’s top coach twice, one of only six coaches to ever win the award twice.

Oh and he’s also one of the 100 greatest players of all time.

The man is a champion through and through.

What’s His Style?

Lemaire is best associated with the defensive trap. The infamous style of play popularized by his very own New Jersey Devils. A strategy that chokes the neutral zone and doesn’t allow a team to break out of their own zone.

While the association with the trap is fair. Lemaire is more than just a trap coach. He’s a winner and an open mind.

This is a guy that left the NHL when he could have ended his career playing the heralded Montreal Canadiens of the 70’s and 80’s but instead decided to jump the Atlantic and be a player-coach in Switzerland. About the move, Lemaire said the following in 1979:

"I always wanted to do something reckless, have an adventure, see how other people live, discover something new. Well, that time is now. I’ve always been interested in coaching, and when this opportunity presented itself, it seemed like the perfect thing"

The trap represented an ideology that was outside of the box for the time, more importantly, it proved to be a winning one. Winning is what mattered, the style just happened to be the one that prevailed in the era. As we know it isn’t anymore.

Don’t expect Lemaire to start whispering sweet-trap-nothings into Barry Trotz ears. He’s likely here to help him sort out the defense so it doesn’t bleed as many goals as it did last season. Something Lemaire was able to help with Toronto.

The Leafs shed 30 goals against in the three years that Lemaire was with the Leafs as a special advisor. The Leafs were the 12th best defensive team last year. With a blue line lead by Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner.

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This is yet another champion brought in to turn the New York Islanders around. All of these great minds will have a positive impact on the playing roster. We’re steadily seeing the New York Islanders become a proper NHL franchise and it’s exciting.

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