On the Beat: Jacques Lemaire returning to New Jersey
What team beat writers are saying this afternoon:
- Randy Carlyle is happy with his team’s moves this off-season, especially the addition of a couple scoring forwards, but his main focus will still be team defense come the fall. He should be happy. The team has one of the best top-six forward units in hockey, some nice talent on defense and a great young netminder. Obviously the loss of Pronger will hurt, but the extra offense should help ease that pain. Expect the Ducks to be a force in the ultra-competitive Western Conference next season.
- Fluto Shinzawa talks (in video form) about the progress of Bruins prospect Joe Colborne. I know he’s big and I know his name is Joe, but people shouldn’t expect him to become Thornton-like. Thornton’s skills were far ahead Colborne’s when he was in his late teens. So, don’t expect the Bruins to rush Colborne–especially considering the team’s depth at forward.
- Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch previews the St. Louis Blues heading into 2009/10. I think the Blues are going to be better than Columbus next season and could even be the fourth best team in the Conference. John Davidson, Larry Pleau and Doug Armstrong are running the organization as well as any organization in the NHL. So yeah, I’m pretty high on the Blues moving forward.
- The Habs were impressed enough with Andreas Engqvist at the team’s development camp that they have signed him to a three-year deal. Needless to say, not many people know much about this kid. However, he’s young and has good size and experience playing in a tough league, so there is little, if any, downside to a move of this nature.
- With the Jiri Hudler situation currently under review, John Glennon wonders if the IIHF will show any bite this time around by not allowing his move to the KHL to occur? Not likely. As Glennon says, what did the IIHF do last season when Alexander Radulov clearly broke the rules? Why would we expect things to change?
- Rumor has it Jacques Lemaire is heading back to New Jersey to become the team’s head coach. Well, that retirement lasted long! This move really isn’t surprising. Lemaire and Lamoriello are old friends, and both know what they are getting into. He’s obviously more than a capable replacement for the departed Brent Sutter and the Devils will be a force to be reckon with next season, yet again.
- The Hershey Bears have named Mark French as their new coach. He takes over for Bob Woods, who led the team to a Calder Cup Championship last season.