The 64-year old coach announced his retirement and the Devils could see their online bookmaker numbers next year undergo a bit of an adjustment.
Bookmaker odds favored New Jersey in their playoff series against Philadelphia but the Devils lost, being the first team eliminated in the playoffs. It was the third straight season the Devils have lost in the first round of the playoffs. Now New Jersey will have to find a new head coach. Lemaire led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 1995. "It's tough to leave what you like, but it's a decision that I made," he said. "It's not the team, it is not the result or the lack of result we had in the playoffs. It's not that at all. It's the end of the line. I'll be 65. It's just time."
General Manager Lou Lamoriello will have to find someone to take over a New Jersey team that still has a lot of talent and is a threat vs. the online bookmaker odds. "I didn't see that coming," goaltender Martin Brodeur said, "I think Jacques has a lot of passion for the game and he showed it all throughout the year and the playoffs, and I think that drive was there. It seems to be there, but he knows it better than anybody and you have to accept what he wants to do."
Lemaire was a great head coach. He coached 16 seasons with Montreal, New Jersey and Minnesota. His all-time record is 588-441-184 for a winning percentage of .561. Bookmaker numbers indicate that he had only three losing seasons in his career. He is a two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year.
The Devils are thought to be considering John MacLean as one of the candidates to replace Lemaire. MacLean is the coach of the Devil’s top farm team. Another candidate is Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens who was an assistant to Lemaire this year. Replacing a Hall of Fame coach will not be easy. "It's a game I have been in a long time," said Lemaire, "I really have a thing for it and I still do. There is no doubt if I had the energy I would keep going because I love it.' New Jersey won 48 games during the regular season but the loss to the Flyers in the playoffs was disappointing.