John MacLean: New Jersey Devils Next head Coach?
As most know by now, the Devils have a vacancy at their head coach position. Brent Sutter resigned on Tuesday citing personal reasons. Now the Devils must fill the most important position behind the bench for the 10th time in the last 13 years.
Tom Gulitti's awesome blog Fire & Ice has compiled a list of possible candidates. However, I only see one logical choice, and that is Johnny Mac.
MacLean has been behind the bench for seven years now and has been overlooked for the job twice so far: once for Claude Julien in 2006, and then again for Brent Sutter two years ago. He was even overlooked when Lou took over the team twice.
He has been there for a Cup victory in 2003. He has seen Claude Julien get fired when the Devils were leading the division.
He has seen Brent Sutter let a hot team slip at the end of the season in the last two years.
Johnny Mac has seen what has worked and what has not worked. It is about time he was promoted—he has paid his due. The only reason he should not be promoted would be if he does not want it and wants to stay the assistant coach.
If he choose to go down that road, the Devils should heavily look into Peter Laviolette. The man has coached a Stanley Cup winning team in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. His teams employ a playing style similar to Brent Sutter, which seems best for team that has a possible budding offensive star in Zach Parise.
The road block, according to Tom Gulitti is, Laviolette still has two years left on his five-year contract with the Canes, so the Devils will need permission to talk to him, as well. However, I don't see that being a problem considering the Hurricanes should be content with Paul Maurice getting the team to the Eastern Conference Finals.
I don't want Jacques Lemaire—I do not want this team to turn its back on the great offense it generated last year.
I think these are the two best options for the Devils to have a smooth transition from the two-year Sutter era to a new era.
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