Jacques Lemaire zings Versus commentators who criticized the Lightning, and Guy Boucher
Here is what former Devils and Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said about the criticism of Lightning coach Guy Boucher from Versus commentators Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire Wednesday night about the team's 1-3-1 trapping system, which they said makes for such boring hockey the Lightning and Boucher should be embarrassed and even "punished."
"Myself, I laugh at this," Lemaire told the St. Petersburg Times in a phone interview. "I laugh at it this because are we supposed to coach as we please the people who are announcing the games or make comments on the games? Is that a new style or what? Do we have to please Milbury when we coach? It's the first time I hear of this."
If anyone knows about criticism, it is Lemaire. Lemaire's trap was vilified by hockey watchers and commentators all over North America as detrimental to the game because the defensive posture in the neutral zone was, when played correctly, very difficult to beat. It slowed down the action, critics said. It created boring hockey. But it also won, as Lemaire and the Devils captured the 1995 Stanley Cup.
Boucher heard much of the same during Wednesday night's game with the Flyers, who decided several times to not even try to attack Tampa Bay's 1-3-1. Instead, Flyers players skated with the puck in their defensive zone, for up to 50 seconds at a time. waiting for the Lightning to make a move. It also should be noted, the first time Tampa Bay did break ranks to forecheck, Philadelphia lost the puck.
Still, Milbury, Jones and McGuire were merciless on the Lightning, saying the team and Boucher should be embarrassed at the way they played. Jones even went as far as to say the Lightning should be "punished" in some way.
Our media writer, Tom Jones, will be getting into all that in a story for tomorrow's paper and we will write about Lemaire again on Sunday, but thought you might like a preview of Lemaire's comments on the criticism of the Lightning and Boucher. It should be noted Boucher and Lemaire are friends.
-- "What's the coach's job? It's to find a way to win, find a way to look at your personnel and find a way to win. You adapt to the players you have and try to maximize all your strengths and try to find a way that players will be comfortable."
-- "It didn't look good to me when I saw the Flyers stop playing. What does it show? What is the coach showing to his players, that I don't like the way they play, so we won't play? The Flyers have a good team, they've got to play."
-- "I don't have advice to give to anybody. The style we played when I coached, people were criticizing the way we played. well, it's their job. That's all they do. They have the mike. They have their comments on it, and some guys with the mike try to coach. They couldn't coach so they go behind the mike because they couldn't find a way to win. So, it's no big deal."
-- "I think (Boucher) has to coach the way he feels is going to win games, and that's it. The rest, you want to play a certain style that maybe doesn't fit your team and lose and then in a month you're looking for a job? What's that?"
-- "We (the Devils) played against them last year. We beat them. We played, we beat them. They are entitled to play the way they want. There's no rule to say you can't do this or can't do that."