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Players react to coaching move

Thursday, 12.23.2010 / 4:15 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Players react to coaching move
Lemaire back behind the Devils' bench.
The Devils announced Thursday that Jacques Lemaire has replaced John MacLean as head coach for the rest of the 2010-11 season.

The team was set to host the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Martin Brodeur on the Devils' first dismissal of a head coach since Claude Julien in 2007…
“I’ve been through this 12 times. They’re all the same. It’s not something that anybody wanted. Everybody has to take their own share of responsibilities for what happened. But at the end of the day, we’re the ones continuing to play hockey here, and we need to make the best of the situation that we’re in. We’re looking forward to having Jacques back and seeing how much we can improve under him now.”

On Lemaire’s potential impact on the team’s 5-on-5 play…
“Jacques has the resume with him, playing the 5-on-5 game maybe a little bit better because as of late, that’s what’s been hurting us. It’s not our special teams (which) have been pretty good. And so hopefully, he’ll be able to get the best out of guys in the situation they’re going to be put in. That’s the only thing we hope. It’s a familiar face, so I think the adjustment time compared to a new guy coming in would be a lot shorter. It seems to be one of the things Lou’s always looking for, is somebody being familiar to the players, especially mid-season, whether it’s him taking over a few years back or another coach that we’re familiar with.”

On the change possibly having a spark…
“I’m sure that’s what Lou’s looking for, and that’s all of us. It hasn’t been working. No blame, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, not players, not coaches, not Lou, it just wasn’t happening for us. We hope that that change will bring a spark and give us some more of a complete game that we need out there to play these well-balanced teams all over the League.”

Jamie Langenbrunner on whether the news came as a hit to the locker room…
“I think it should. It better. It did for me. Whenever a coach is fired, he’s the guy taking the fall, but it’s really on all of us. I don’t think anyone in here should feel exempt from that.”

Ilya Kovalchuk on what Lemaire brings…
“I think I said everything about him after last year. He’s a very experienced coach and he worked here for a long time. I’m sure they’re will be a lot of changes and hopefully it’s going to be the right way.”

On Lemaire’s style…
“We played a different style of hockey last year and it seemed like it was working for us. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing and he’ll help us through this tough time.”

David Clarkson on Lemaire’s knowledge of the Devils players…
“He’s been here before, he knows what we can do. He’s a very smart coach. I feel the same way, I don’t blame Johnny Mac. I think it’s in this room. In this room, you do take blame because you feel like you let him down. I’ve had him a long time as an assistant and as a head coach and he’s a great person and a great coach. Especially at this time of the season, it ain’t fun. For Jacques, what he can do, he knows the game better than anybody. I’m sure he’ll come in here with some ideas and be ready to go.”

On the players feeling responsible for MacLean’s fate…
“You feel to blame a little bit. You feel like we didn’t give him a fair shake, maybe. It was a tough start to a season for us, and he kind of took the fall for it. It’s tough because he’s a great person. I’ve had him a while here as an assistant coach, as a head coach. You feel bad, especially at this time of the season. It hits you. You feel bad for him. But we all have jobs to do, and tonight we have to go out and do our jobs."

On this being a wake-up call…
“I think so. I think you’ve got to take it as a kick in the butt to get going. We have (49) games left. We still have a lot of hockey to play. We have to go out there every night and chip away at it and play to the best that we can. If we do that, we’re doing our jobs.”