Wild at Oilers, G76/08-09

This is Jacques Lemaire as a Montreal Jr. Canadien, mid 60s. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the history of the game and there were teams that (by design) stifled offense before Lemaire arrived in the show.

The mid-50′s Bruins teams were a bruising bunch who spent some years offensively challenged and were put together in an attempt to win games 2-1. The Bruins made the finals in 1953 with the lowest GF total in the NHL (152 in 70 games, same total as last place NYR) but they won all the close games in the quarterfinals against Detroit to make the final.

The St. Louis Blues of expansion played “kitty-bar-the-door” hockey effectively, and they used physical intimidation to do it.

Lemaire is an interesting character in that many people hate him. HATE him. I’ve heard fans say he ruined hockey, his teams play porridge hockey, his teams lack passion.

His teams also win, and Lemaire learned from a lot of people and spent time everywhere. Seriously. Many people are unaware that Jacques Lemaire has been a coach in Switzerland, the NCAA-2 and the QMJHL along with his NHL success.

The are rumblings that Lemaire may not return to the Wild next season, which would probably cause rejoicing in many NHL towns. For me, I’d like to see Lemaire as the next coach of the Edmonton Oilers should Craig MacTavish resign.

Why? Well when he coached the Longueuil Chevaliers in the Q, his club finished in 3rd place but made it to the league finals. His NHL won-loss record is 535-465, and that includes OTL’s. That winning percentage (.535) includes a Stanley and two Jack Adams, but it also includes the trials of coaching a flat out expansion team.

What would a Jacques Lemaire-coached Oiler team look like? More Jim Dowd’s, fewer Liam Reddox’s. More staying in the lane, more standing up at the blueline, more time in neutral, more 2-1′s.

More W’s, in fact. I’m a MacT backer, in my opinion he’s the best option for next year after flying so many sorties with so many kids. That aside, if I must choose another coach it would be a fellow who is even more button-down that Craig MacTavish.

Jacques Lemaire. He probably still starches his shirts.

I don’t have much to say about tonight’s game. It’s a must-win against a team that makes you bleed out slowly. I’ve told my wife that if grumpy behaviour rears its ugly head tonight she’s supposed to turn the TV off and take the dog for a walk.

And we don’t have a dog.

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