Lemaire takes job; Minnesotans to come into Thompson’s home, and Thompson into Minnesotans home; Coaching search progressPosted on June 11th, 2009 – 8:30 PM
By Michael Russo
So my phone rings this afternoon, I look at the caller id and it says, “Jacques Lemaire.”
I answered and Mssr. Lemaire proceeded to have a little fun with yours truly.
“Michael,” in that unmistakeable voice, “I got a job. I’m working again. I’ve got a scoop for you.”
Excitedly, I say, “Oh yeah,” while I quickly open my blog admin so I can literally publish what he says as he says it.
“Yeah, listen,” Lemaire said.
And all of a sudden, I hear unbelievably loudly, “Vrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
I go, “What the hell was that?” He goes, “A bench saw. I’m building a basement closet,” before he HYSTERICALLY started laughing.
Evil. Just evil.
I thought I got the New Jersey Devils scoop and this guy’s “been put to work by my wife.”
Then Lemaire gave his trademark, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” knowing that he got me.
I said, “Jacques, you better be careful. You already broke your elbow and shoulder this year.”
He said, “I’m watching my fingers. I won’t be able to shoot without them.”
I said, “How’s it possible to build a basement closet in Florida? I lived in Florida. You’re going to hit the ocean.”
He goes, “I’m in Montreal. If I was doing this in Florida, it’d be an entrance.”
Have I mentioned Lemaire will be missed?
Lemaire was giving me a ring back from a few days ago when I called him about five minutes after Devils coach Brent Sutter quit.
Asked if he’s returning to the Devils as coach (he coached them from 93-98 and won a Cup there in 95), Lemaire said, “I can’t talk about that. There’s nothing done yet. There’s nothing that I can talk about right now.”
I told him I bet Brian Rolston wishes he comes there and Lemaire laughed and said, “Problem is he’s not the guy that decides.”
There’s no doubt though that Lemaire is interested in going back. He said he realized during the playoffs that instead of just taking any consulting job that came down the pike, maybe he does still want to coach in the right situation.
“That’s the thing I haven’t decided. After the season, I thought I was going consultant so I can be with the kids and the grandkids. But as I mentioned at that time, I’m not closing the door on coaching. I’ll look at the two options, and if I’m going to be busy, I’m going to be busy. So maybe I want to coach. We’ll see.”
The only other coaching job out there right now besides New Jersey and Minnesota is Calgary, and he’s not going to Calgary.
If Lou Lamoriello calls Lemaire and the fit’s right, I bet he goes. Otherwise, he’ll take one of the consulting jobs.
He said he plans to come to stop by the Draft in Montreal “even if there’s nothing done, and then the Montreal press can speculate again. The day Jacques Martin was hired here, a radio station did a poll, who’d you rather have, Jacques Martin or Jacques Lemaire. Imagine that? Imagine that? Poor guy.”
The Wild currently has the 12th overall pick (I bet they move down to try to gain more picks) in the June 26 Draft and assistant General Manager Tommy Thompson plans to bring five or six possible draft picks into Minnesota for tours of Xcel Energy Center and examinations by team orthopedist Joel Boyd. I’ll write more about this as the Draft approaches.
Three won’t have to come far though because they’re local – University of Minnesota’s Jordan Schroeder, Eden Prairie’s Nick Leddy and Edina’s Zach Budish.
“I’ve also invited myself into their homes for visits with their families,” Thompson said. “I’m not trying to make a moral judgment, but I want to see their personalities and their relationships with the parents.
“We don’t want any surprises.”
Also, I chatted with Chuck Fletcher for awhile today. He’s made significant progress in the coaching search, but he said he still has more work to do through the weekend and early next week. He said he’s not done interviewing candidates, and I think Red Wings assistant Paul MacLean will be one and it wouldn’t shock me if he called fired Dallas coach Dave Tippett, whose wife is from Minnesota and lives near Detroit Lakes. As I mentioned, Peter Laviolette is a top candidate.
But at the end of the day, I really believe it’s still going to be San Jose assistant Todd Richards. The more people I talk to about Richards, the better things I hear. He’s a very respected coach.