NEWS

Lemaire gets back to basics

After loss to Vancouver, Devils focus on fundamentals

Thursday, 12.3.2009 / 2:55 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
X
Share with your Friends


Lemaire gets back to basics
Lemaire stressed positioning and puck possession at Thursday's practice. 
Jacques Lemaire got what he wanted out of Thursday’s practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

His Devils weren’t as sharp as he would’ve liked in their 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. The head coach responded by holding an uptempo skate that addressed some of the fundamentals.

“I wish they would’ve played like that last night,” Lemaire said after practice. “If they would’ve played like this last night, we would’ve been fine. It was just a bad game, that’s it. Just a bad game.”

The Canucks took a 3-0 lead midway through the first period before the Devils answered on goals from Niclas Bergfors and Travis Zajac late in the frame. Vancouver struck for two more in the opening 5:18 of the third to snap the Devils’ three-game overall winning streak, and six-game winning streak on home ice.

“Obviously we had some breakdowns,” said captain Jamie Langenbrunner. “We watched a little video then we worked on it a little bit. A staple of our game is being good in our own end. We made some mistakes; it was a refresher course.”

At one point during practice, defending players flipped their sticks over and guarded 5-on-5 without the benefit of stick blades.

“It’s about having the offensive guys make plays and be in the right spot,” Patrik Elias said. “For defensive guys, obviously, because you can’t use the stick, you have to play a lot better positioning and get a lot closer to the guys.”

Elias seemed to prefer the quick pace.

“The better you work in practice, the better you’ll feel in the game,” he said. “Sometimes it might seem a little bit easier.”

The Devils will complete the first of three straight Wednesday-Friday-Saturday stretches this month when they host Tampa Bay on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Normally, the off-day in a three-in-four would include an easier session to keep players rested.

“It’s a little harder than usual, definitely,” Lemaire said. “We went 45 minutes, we have three games in four nights, usually we won’t go 45 minutes. They had a lot of skating for the three games in four nights.”

But there were no punitive line sprints or laps for Wednesday's loss.

“I don’t believe in that,” said Lemaire. “Stops and starts is good for guys that are not in shape. Even if you do stops and starts for the mental, I don’t know what it’s going to do, if it’s going to get the mental better. Might get it numb.”

Any coach will see his club produce some lackluster performances over the course of an 82-game schedule. Part of the job is knowing when it’s time to get back to basics.

“This one, to me, was easy,” Lemaire said. “It was easy because we had everyone, even our good players, not thinking about position. Even our best players. They were mostly all involved with not being in position. The little stuff that you do when your mind is not sharp, you don’t have good legs and you want to cheat a bit offensively, so you cut corners short and all of a sudden the puck is in the net.”

After observing Thursday’s skate, Lemaire reported the Devils are on track again.

“They were back to normal,” he said. “For now. I don’t know tomorrow – they might have a surprise for me. But it’s good, because if Tampa scouted (last night) they’ll be really screwed up.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 69 16 24 -3 40
M. Cammalleri 62 25 13 3 38
P. Elias 63 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 52 7 24 -7 31
S. Bernier 61 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 68 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 58 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 76 3 18 3 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 56 6 11 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47