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Is Lemaire the best coach ever?

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08:25 AM ET 03.22 | The Devils are 25-12-2 since Jacques Lemaire returned to the bench, but they're still unlikely to make the playoffs, which brings up the interesting question as to how deserving Lemaire might be for Jack Adams Award consideration. Even if you don't believe Lemaire should be considered ... there's no denying he's one of the best in the business. In fact, he may be the best in the business. "When people are talking about coaches, they always say Scotty Bowman is the best coach of all time," said one insider who has coached and scouted at the NHL level. "I know Scotty and he's great and that's awesome, but I think Scotty always had the fortune of having some pretty good teams. I don't really know any teams Jacques had that were really good teams. The success his teams have had boggles my mind."

The Hockey News

Jacques Lemaire, Getty Images Jacques Lemaire, Getty Images
March 22, 2011  08:33 AM ET

If the Devils make it to the playoffs, Lemaire definitely deserves considerations for the Jack Adams trophy. I agree with the unnamed insider. Bowman coached some great teams (the late '70 Canadiens and late '90s/early '00s Red Wings to name two). Lemaire got a lot out of teams that shouldn't have gone that far.

March 22, 2011  09:01 AM ET

All of these things about declaring someone the "best ever" are just good conversation starters. Lemaire is certainly a great coach and that's a pretty good compliment in my view.

March 22, 2011  09:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

All of these things about declaring someone the "best ever" are just good conversation starters. Lemaire is certainly a great coach and that's a pretty good compliment in my view.

That post is one of the "best ever."

March 22, 2011  09:15 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

That post is one of the "best ever."

That reply is up there too.
Interesting thought. Bowman is like Phil Jackson, always had the great teams, but that doesn't mean he wasn't a great coach, sometimes it might equally difficult to live up to expectations.. I'm sure there are plenty of coaches that got the most out of their team. Lemaire is a great coach, but saying he is the best ever is silly. You can't compare every good coach ever. He is the greatest coach the Devils have had this year though, lol.

March 22, 2011  09:16 AM ET

He is a great coach. The best ever? I dunno. Like Stranger said, Scotty Bowman was a pretty good coach too. I remember him coaching some good Blues teams in the early 70s, not only that you keep forgetting that he won the Cup with Pittsburgh during the 91/92 season.

March 22, 2011  09:42 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

All of these things about declaring someone the "best ever" are just good conversation starters. Lemaire is certainly a great coach and that's a pretty good compliment in my view.

I agree. He's one of the best. But, the best ever? I'm not sure you can call him the "best ever." Unless, of course, you're a NJ Devil's fan.

March 22, 2011  10:25 AM ET

Hey, everybody! Take a moment and report these spamming roaches to the interns. This is ridiculous. They're spawning everywhere this morning!

March 22, 2011  10:27 AM ET

there's some Bowman guy that knows a thing or two about coaching...

March 22, 2011  10:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

there's some Bowman guy that knows a thing or two about coaching...

THAT MAN is the best Hockey coach ever !!!

March 22, 2011  10:40 AM ET

MyDark Horse pick for "one of the greatest " would be Badger Bob Johnson- a man of serious quality outside the game also !

March 22, 2011  10:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

MyDark Horse pick for "one of the greatest " would be Badger Bob Johnson- a man of serious quality outside the game also !

And ... there was one Pat Burns that wasn't too shabby either. And ... there's one Lindy Ruff that deserves some recognition too.

March 22, 2011  10:48 AM ET

One of the things I really like about Bowman was his use of europeans, the man only cared about one thing, winning, and he never limited himself to stupid preconceived notions of what you could or could not do with ruskies, finns and those pesky swedes.

We canadians like to think we have the monopoly on having heart, but as we saw in our american neighbours during the olympics, a team can go a long way if they have alot of heart.

March 22, 2011  10:50 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Bowman coached some great teams

Scotty never saw a star studded roster he didn't want to coach....

But he wasn't so good at building his own in Buffalo.

March 22, 2011  10:51 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

And ... there's one Lindy Ruff that deserves some recognition too.

A personal favourite of mine.

March 22, 2011  10:55 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Scotty never saw a star studded roster he didn't want to coach....But he wasn't so good at building his own in Buffalo.

You're right. I do think he deserves the recognition as "the greatest opportunist" ever. Right up there with Phil Jackson.

March 22, 2011  10:56 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

And ... there was one Pat Burns that wasn't too shabby either. And ... there's one Lindy Ruff that deserves some recognition too.

not in line for G.O.A.T., I have to admit to being a BIG Barry Tortz fan. It's too bad that those guys down in Nashville have too much common sense to ever let this guy go, because I would love to see him coach a team that has actual talent and has pockets deep enough to actually get up against the cap.

March 22, 2011  11:04 AM ET
QUOTE(#19):

I have to admit to being a BIG Barry Trotz fan.

My other current personal fave.

March 22, 2011  11:05 AM ET
QUOTE(#18):

You're right. I do think he deserves the recognition as "the greatest opportunist" ever. Right up there with Phil Jackson.

My vote for least successful opportunist coach would be Larry Robinson !

March 22, 2011  11:18 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Scotty never saw a star studded roster he didn't want to coach....But he wasn't so good at building his own in Buffalo.

Never got the time to prove himself there. The players he drafted in Buffalo all came into their own within 2 seasons of his firing and the Sabres glory days with the French Connection were born. He may not have been there anymore, but he deserves credit for having built that team the way Tallon gets credit for the 'hawks.

Lemaire is no GOAT. He's obviously as good as anyone in our time, but let's get some perspective here. Toe Blake is another guy nobody is mentioning. And say what you will about Phil Jackson - but the Lakers didn't win when he left and big bad Kobe had to beg him to come back so they could win again. It takes skill to coach high end talent too.

By saying Lemaire deserves to be considered greatest of all time, you're saying that Jacques Demers may have been Montreal's greatest coach of all time. Those Habs weren't talented to that degree, but he got lots out of them. Its not just about what's in your lineup, its what you do with it too. Don't get me wrong, Slats and Muckler don't deserve much for riding the Oil, but Bowman's done it for 30+ years. How many other coaches can you say have dominated a sport for 30 years? Red Auerbach. That might be it. And if Scotty decided he wanted to coach again, there'd be teams firing their current coaches to get him. Only the Devils fire coaches for Lemaire, ha.

 
March 22, 2011  11:19 AM ET
QUOTE(#21):

My vote for least successful opportunist coach would be Larry Robinson !

IN hockey for sure. Looking like erik Spoelstra in Basketball these days...

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