“My first reaction? ‘Why wasn’t he there before?’” Lemaire said Thursday. “It’s about time. It was a matter of time.”
That time has finally come. The Devils’ President, CEO and General Manager will be officially inducted into the Builders category on Monday, Nov. 9. This year’s Hall of Fame class includes Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman.
Lamoriello, in his 22nd year with the Devils, was the architect of the organization's championships in 1995, 2000 and 2003. Lemaire coached Jersey’s Team to their first title and returned last summer for his second stint with the team. He said Lamoriello will no doubt cherish the Hall honor.
"I’m sure he’s going to appreciate that, but he’s not the person that is looking for any rewards or honors,” Lemaire said. “He’s not that type of guy. He’s going to take them with pleasure, but he’s not looking for that. He’s looking to do his job as well as he can do it, and that’s it. He’s working at it and if he’s satisfied with what he’s doing, he’s doing the job. And he’s hard to please, so he’s got to be tough on himself, too.”
Lemaire explained that Lamoriello’s work ethic is what has made him one of the NHL's legendary general managers.
“He never stops,” he said. “I get tired just to look at him. He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere. He controls everything. He never stops.”
Lemaire's tremendously successful playing career included winning eight Stanley Cups during 12 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. He collected 366 goals and 469 assists for 835 points in 853 games, but admitted feeling out of place at his own Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
“Myself, I don’t know. I was a little surprised, in a way,” he said. “When they get you there, you always look at the top players; the big names. Then you really think, ‘What am I doing with these guys?’ That’s the first thing that came to my mind. I had a hard time to understand this. Myself, I was looking at (Jean) Beliveau, (Maurice) Richard, Bobby Orr and the guys that I know, Gordie Howe, these guys. I said, ‘Hey, I’m going with these guys. Is something wrong?’”
The winningest coach in Devils' history with a record of 208-126-57, Lemaire said Lamoriello’s style has rubbed off on him over time.
“It’s how he works,” Lemaire said. “Everything he does, there’s a reason for it. There’s a lot of common sense. A lot of it is common sense, which I’ve got to say is pretty much my life. Common sense on who I’m going to play, or this or that. It’s everywhere.” NJD NOTESPatrik Elias
will decide Friday whether or not he will be in the lineup when the Devils host the Islanders. On Thursday, he centered a line with Matt Halischuk and Jamie Langenbrunner.
“We’ll see how I feel,” Elias said. “I can’t tell. We’ll see the way I feel tomorrow morning and then we’ll go from there.”
If Elias does play, Lemaire said it would have to be at center. The Devils are short one pivot after losing Rob Niedermayer to an upper body injury in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Washington. He left the game after taking a hit about five minutes into the third period and did not return. Lemaire said Niedermayer is unlikely to play Friday vs. the Isles or Saturday in Ottawa.
Elias said the center position poses its own share of challenges and requires an adjustment for any player shifting over from the wing.
“It will be harder, no question,” Elias said. “You’re more responsible, you have to be in all zones. On the wing, you kind of keep it simple. You go up and down. It’s more about positioning. In the middle, you really have to be all over the place. I think centerman is a little more work.”
Niedermayer’s injury has added to the Devils’ health woes. “The list is getting bigger,” Lemaire said.
Johnny Oduya (lower body) missed the last two games and has not practiced this week. Paul Martin (forearm) and Jay Pandolfo (shoulder) are on the shelf until at least the end of the month. Through it all, the Devils – 9-4-0 overall and 7-0 at home – have hardly flinched.
In the meantime, Elias nears a return. He felt some soreness Thursday.
“That’s going to be there for a while,” Elias said. “I think it just has to get used to recognizing where you can take it and where it becomes a little more than discomfort. You just go through practice and listen to how it feels in certain situations. I’ll be smart about it if I play tomorrow.”
|Parise enjoyed watching Yanks celebrate. |
• As Zach Parise
watched the final three innings of the Yankees’ World Series-clinching victory on Wednesday night, he considered what it might feel like to bring a Stanley Cup to New Jersey. The Yankees topped the Phillies, 7-3, in Game 6 to take their record 27th title.
“You always think about that; wonder what it would be like and how much fun it would be,” Parise said Thursday. “I guess it’s one of those things that you’ll never know until you do it.”
Parise said the biggest achievement of his career so far was the gold medal he won with Team USA at the 2004 World Junior Championship. He led the tournament with 11 points on six goals and five assists.
“That’s the biggest thing that I’ve won, but it doesn’t compare,” he said.
Despite being a Twins fan – the Yankees ousted Minnesota in this year’s American League Division Series – Parise said he enjoyed seeing a local team celebrate.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “It was exciting to have a local team win it. I think it’s always fun, regardless, to see a team win a championship and see the excitement and the celebration. For it to be a local team is pretty cool.”
• Once again, the Devils practiced at Prudential Center's main rink on Thursday. They used the main rink on Tuesday and followed it up with a win on Wednesday.
"Not because we won," Lemaire said. "We’re going to practice here a little bit more (on the main rink). You get familiar with the boards. I know it’s the same thing, but it’s not the same thing. Even myself, I go there and it’s new. I’m not used to the place yet.”