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NJD Notes 12:18: Lemaire grab bag

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Head coach Jacques Lemaire spoke to the media this morning. The Devils host Ottawa tonight at 7 p.m.

How much do you focus on matching lines?
Lemaire: "We’ve got three balanced lines and the fourth line is growing, meaning playing a lot better. So now, I can use them against pretty much everyone. I know at times I played them a couple of shifts against the top lines, but it depends on the game. I go with the flow with how guys will respond against a line. Sometimes I don’t even bother about that. It’s funny because I coached always in the past, ‘You have to play against this line, we have to play against that line.’ But now we’re so balanced that I don’t really mind, except if there’s a line that has a tough time one night and if you keep playing them against the top line, you’ll suffer."

Have you had conversations regarding the decisions for Team Canada's Olympic team?
JL:"We have one Sunday or Monday, this will probably be the last one before they announce (the team)."

Is there a good idea of who will be on the team?
JL: "(There are) a lot of battles. Because you get a lot of good players that didn’t have the year that everyone expected. Other players they came out strong, so it’s hard (to know) which one you’re going to take."

Does Travis Zajac get overlooked as a two-way player?
JL: "Travis is a real good player. He has good hands, good skater, strong. He needs to be more consistent, but when he plays at his best, and he did for 20 games, he was one of our best players. He slowed down a little bit lately, but it’s confidence, only confidence that he lost."

How has Rod Pelley handled the move from center to left wing on the fourth line?
JL: "Pelley’s doing what we expect: he’s growing as a player. I think he found a niche (on left wing) more than at center. He’s on the puck, finishes his checks. At center, he was kind of just, ‘Wait and think where I’m going to go.’ And you can’t play like that. It’s got to come naturally. On the wing, he’s like a free bird, he just goes."

Are you concerned at all with Martin Brodeur's work load?
JL: "Not at all. We tried to give him some rest, proper rest, so he can play all these games. If we see at a time that he gets too much work, then we’ll play the other goalie."
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