Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Lemaire returning to coach Devils

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news Updated: December 23, 2010 - 9:35 AM

After waiting years to hire John MacLean to guide the Devils long into the future, GM Lou Lamoriello has fired MacLean two days before Christmas and brought back Jacques Lemaire for a third time.

He's expected to coach against the Islanders tonight, according to reports.

As first reported by CKAC in Montreal, Lemaire will take over the Devils on an interim basis. The Wild actually visits New Jersey on Jan. 4.

After coaching the Wild for eight years, Lemaire returned to New Jersey last season before resigning following season's end after a disappointing first-round loss to the Flyers. He had a brief emotional news conference after it was over.

The Devils are an NHL-worst 9-22-2, tied with the Islanders with 20 points. They've scored a league-low 59 goals. Lamoriello had said all along he wasn't looking to make a coaching move, but being outscored 15-3 in the last three losses had to kill Lamoriello.

Coaching is in Lemaire's blood. And while this is hardly a shock that Lamoriello goes back to somebody he's familiar with (in fact, around the Wild we've joked for weeks that Lemaire was waiting in the wings), it does surprise me that Lemaire was willing to take over a team 18 points out of a playoff spot.


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