Jacques Lemaire had put out the fire that ravaged the Devils' locker room when Lou Lamoriello has appealed for aid last December 23.
Despite his knowledge, experience and intelligence, the high priest of the water trap has failed to tackle the blaze. The Devils have lost seven of eight games following his arrival. As firefighters fortune, Lemaire has therefore been able to save as foundations.
Failing to have saved the structure, Lemaire has spat in his hands and began rebuilding his team. It is still far from finished, but the structure was taken from the vertical. And how! With its 4-1 victory yesterday at the expense of Canadian, Lemaire has now guided the Devils to nine wins (9-1-2) in their last 12 games.
This contrasts with the ten victories after the Devils posted the first 41 games of the season.
What has changed?
"They play hockey," Lemaire has finally launched after marching a few technical explanations related to the overall game, with the assistance of the rink, at work and trust.
Physical fitness also plays a leading role. Lemaire has inherited a club plagued by injuries and a confidence course. But he also inherited a club in bad shape.
It was neither one nor two, and imposed a mini-training camp to give a boost to a team that missed greatly.
If he lands in the Devils locker room backwards - he could not refuse the call with his friend and associate of Lou Lamoriello - Jacques Lemaire admits that he takes a liking to his new role, even if had sworn that he was too old and too worn out to go back behind a bench.
"I got hooked on returning to the locker room." Admitted the coach of 65 years.
This bite could she give him a taste for extending the reconstruction of the team while his wife and golf courses are waiting in Florida?
"We'll see in due course," Lemaire said after the game yesterday. Before the meeting, during an interview with his former deputy Temblay Mario, now an analyst on RDS, Lemaire has opened the door a little more about the possibility that he is back next year.
Like what you can leave a coach behind the bench, but you never leave the coaching to coach in the soul and heart ...
If Jacques Lemaire found the bite of coaching returning behind the bench of Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has regained his good humor and his usual smile.
A smile and good humor that had cleared at the rate of losses collected by the Devils, the underperformance of the guardian and minor injuries which forced forced to leave.
"It's always flat to lose. Especially when you're not used to losing so often. At one point, it was really funny, "admitted candidly the best goalie in NHL history.
Brodeur has also suffered the indignity of being recalled to the bench three times after the difficult start to his cage.
This is where the bottom of the barrel was reached. But unlike those who said Brodeur was nailed to the bench, the guardian of St. Leonard ensures that the decision came to him.
"I needed a break. In true. I had to work on my technique, my confidence, everything. This explains our recent successes. We work very hard since the arrival of Jacques. One learns hockey 101. And if it's good for others, it's good for me too. It began to win and we found the pleasure of playing hockey. "
Because he had to retreat to the locker room after the first period yesterday, Brodeur could not complete his 1030th NHL game. It will come. And when that happens, Brodeur has completed more matches than his nearest rival, Patrick Roy (1029), including complete games and parties at which he came in relief and was recalled to the bench.