From Adam Gretz of NHL Fanhouse:
The Devils have almost completely shut down the soft spot between the circles, especially when compared to the number of goals they allowed from that same area a season ago.
Is it Lemaire’s system keeping the play on the perimeter? Or is it a matter of Martin Brodeur being a significantly better goaltender than Clemmensen and Weekes, and stopping whatever high-percentage shots the Devils are allowing?
Read the entire terrific article here.
Very good work here by Adam. Lemaire’s ability to have his team play a style that keeps teams to the perimeter is certainly a testament to his teaching ability and his team’s willingness to buy into what he preaches. Of course, all those Cups from Montreal and his Cup as Coach of New Jersey go a long way in providing him what that type of teaching platform. Something tells me his players would not buy into his system as easily if not for his amazing success.
Lemaire is simply a mastermind; why do you think Team Canada named him an assistant coach for the 2010 Olympics? No one strategizes any better than him and he is a huge asset behind the bench.
That said, his coaching style isn’t the only one that works. To be fair, the Devils have 0.4 less goals through 24 games this season than the team did last season under Brent Sutter. However, it should be pointed out that the team has also scored 0.2 less goals than last season through 24 games. Now, of course, that is still a 0.2 goal improvement in an NHL that doesn’t see many goals–but Brent Sutter is probably just as effective a head coach as Lemaire, just with a different style of coaching–both in terms of motivation and strategy.
Fans, in general, may prefer Sutter’s style to Lemaire’s, but fans of those respective teams most likely prefer winning with whatever strategy works.