Jacques Speaks

Jacques Lemaire spoke with the Bergen Record in his first one-on-one interview since being named the new Devils coach last month. Here are some of the highlights of what the new bench boss had to say:

He said he’s not familiar with the younger players and prospects, but is eager to see and evaluate them once camp opens on September 8.

The only player on the current roster he’s spoken to about anything team-related was Brendan Shanahan.

Unlike when Brent Sutter immediately stripped Patrik Elias of the captaincy, Lemaire has no plans do the same to current captain Jamie Langenbrunner: “I talked a little bit to Lou about it and Jamie will stay as the captain. I’ve heard a lot of great things about him, the great leadership that he has, the work ethic that he has. I think he has all the tools to be a captain”

Brian Rolston who had three consecutive 30-goal seasons under Lemaire in Minnesota playing left wing, will likely play on the wing again, unlike last season when Rolston played center and netted a disappointing 15 goals in 64 games.

He isn’t familiar with either backup goalie — Yann Danis or Jeff Frazee, saying that “I’ll use training camp to look at them.”

Here’s my take:

Good move moving Rolston back to the wing, but it also brings to light the fact that the Devils need at least one more center before camp opens. Right now the centers are: Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus and Rod Pelley.

Great move leaving Langenbrunner as team captain. He is very well-respected in the locker room and although he can be soft spoken at times, he leads by example on the ice and that’s the main ingredient of a leader. Expect Elias and Colin White to remain as assistant captains.

Weekes will move on

Next season, the Devils will have a new backup for Martin Brodeur…GM Lou Lamoriello (and Weekes himself) told Fire & Ice that the classy backup netminder from the last two seasons, Kevin Weekes, is going in ‘another direction’ and that next season Brodeur’s backup will be either the recently-signed Yann Danis, rookie Jeff Frazee or someone else who isn’t on the team now. Personally, I will miss Kevin because even when he wasn’t playing he was always available, very eloquent in how he described the game and he was very easy to talk to and like…I hope he lands on his feet someplace and has an opportunity to rack up some more wins…thanks for a great two years in New Jersey Kevin, and thanks for being a friend to a young journalist trying to find his way…