Saturday, April 11, 2009
Sad day for Wild fans: Jacques Lemaire quits
The only coach the Wild has ever had, Jacques Lemaire, resigned tonight after a season-ending win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jacques was the definition of an "old school" coach who preached hard work first, defense second and responsibility all of the time. A number of players - Marian Gaborik among them - sometimes chafed under his heavy hand, but Jacques knew what he was doing. When fans at the X or my hockey friends would say something like "I think Jacques' getting a little old" or "I'm not sure they can win playing Jacques' way" I would always answer: "How many Stanley Cup rings do you have? Because I don't have any, and Jacques has 11. The guy with 11 probably knows more than I do."
He took the bottom-of-the-barrel material that expansion teams always get - remember Sergei Krivokrasov? Andy Sutton? Maxim Sushinsky? Sylvain Blouin? - and he made the franchise respectable right away. He gave us instant credibility, and in just three years he took us to the Western Conference finals.
In an ideal world, every player would want to play Jacques' way.
Merci, Jacques, pour nous montrer comment jouer au jeu correctement.