Although the Devils were unable to spoil the season of their rivals, the New York Rangers, they did send their coach out in style with a 3-2 win over the playoff-bound Boston Bruins in the last game of the season on Sunday afternoon.
Rookie Alexander Urbom, who had been called up from Albany on Sunday, scored his first NHL goal on a wrap-around and it turned out to be the game-winner. The Devils also got goals from Patrik Elias and Vladimir Zharkov in the victory.
The Devils also called up promising young forward Adam Henrique for Sunday’s game, and he was solid in his 13:21 of ice time.
Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly were the goal-scorers for the visiting Bruins.
After the game, Jacques Lemaire revealed that he will be going back into retirement and not returning to coach the team next season.
It was an announcement that was expected, but many of the players were sad to see Lemaire go. Lemaire is 65-years-old and has stated that he wants to spend more time with his family. Although he will no longer be behind the bench for the Devils, he will still be employed by the team in their front office.
The consensus among the Devils is that they want a coach who has the same values and philosophy as Lemaire. The early names that are being thrown around are Ken Hitchcock, Kirk Muller, Michel Therrien and Mike Haviland.
Hitchcock has the most experience, and was last employed in the NHL as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hitchcock will be the coach of Team Canada in the upcoming World Championships that will be held in Slovakia at the end of the month.
Kirk Muller is currently an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens. The big red flag that comes with Muller is his lack of experience, as he has not been a head coach before. Mike Haviland, an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, falls under the same category. However, he is a New Jersey native who claims he is ready to take over the reigns of a team.
Michel Therrien’s name came up during the Devils last coaching search, so it is likely that he will be a candidate who will be talked about for the job once again.
The search for a new coach upon the end of the season has become commonplace for the Devils, but hopefully whoever takes over behind the bench next season will have a longer tenure than his predecessors.
The Devils finished 38-39-5 in the league, which puts them at 23rd in the overall standings. They currently hold the eighth selection in the upcoming draft, but if they win the draft lottery they will move up to the fourth position. If a team behind the Devils wins the lottery, the Devils will slide back to the ninth selection.
Although the Devils regular season is over and they missed out on the playoffs, the will still be busy looking to add more young talent for the future.
About the Author
Written by Matt Pellicane
I am currently pursuing a master's degree in Journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I graduated from Quinnipiac in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in print journalism. While at Quinnipiac, I covered various sporting events on campus for the online newspaper The Quad News. I was born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey and have been an avid sports fan all of my life. I am a fan of the New Jersey Devils, New York Giants, New York Yankees, and the Boston Celtics.