They’re Back: How the New Jersey Devils Have Returned To Relevance

December 6th, 2009 by Mike Gurnis Leave a reply »
As the Queen song goes, "...another one bites the dust, and another one gone and another one gone, another one bites the dust."

For the New Jersey Devils, this song is the perfect metaphor. After an offseason in which they lost key players in John Madden, Brian Gionta, Mike Rupp, and Scott Clemmensen to free agency—along with the retirement of Bobby Holik and Brendan Shanahant—he Devils were considered to be an afterthought in the Eastern Conference. 

Not only did the Devils lose key players, but their coach robbed them blind. Brent Sutter resigned as head coach after last season's nightmare Game Seven playoff loss to Carolina, citing "family reasons." Sure enough, he turned up in Calgary as the coach two weeks later.

Replacing Sutter was the man who brought the Devils to prominence in the early '90s with his neutral-zone trap system, Jacques Lemaire, who is back for his second go-round with the Devils after spending most of the decade with the Minnesota Wild.

Many experts ripped Devils GM Lou Lamorello for the move, saying that he had hired a coach "past his prime" and just needed to bring in a "big na ...

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