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Jacques Lemaire on joining the Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs


Jacques Lemaire, who was hired by the Maple Leafs as Special Assignment Coach, spoke to the media shortly after the official announcement by the hockey club. Here's what he had to say during the English portion of a conference call with media...

What is it about this job that drew you to Toronto and do you know what your role is going to be?

I'll be working with the coaches — very similar to what I was doing in Jersey. The reason is very simple, I have been working with Lou for so many years and we became real good friends. I love the work. Also, you've got Mike, I worked at the Olympics with him. I feel that he's the best coach around and it'll be a thrill to be able to assist him.

What do you think makes Mike Babcock an elite coach and how do you think he'll impact the group in Toronto?

What I found at the start when I first met him and worked with him, I thought that he's very well prepared. Everything he does there's a meaning to it, there's a reason why he'll do it and his ideas are — I don't know where he got it from but usually you get an ex-player that will get ideas about the player itself. But him, the way he thinks, he thinks about the game that he wants, an offensive type of game and everything he does is exciting for me. It'll be something to work a full year with him.

Will you have any input on personnel in Toronto like you did in New Jersey?

Yes. What I do is I look at the team, I bring suggestions on players, I bring suggestions on everything I see. It's like you're involved with the team the whole time and sometimes you're missing certain things. Looking from the outside, not having that constant pressure, I think I can help quite a bit.

How often will you be in Toronto, with the Marlies, etc.?

I intend work with both coaches. I know that Sheldon will be fun because with the farm team there's a lot of experience I can bring by talking with him. With Mike, we know each other from the Olympics and I really enjoyed working with him at that time and I'm really excited to spend a whole year. The time I'll be in Toronto, I'll be at camp and I think that Mike will ask me any time he needs me close, I'll be there and I'll be watching all the games, making my reports, watching certain things he wants me to look at. It's hard to say exactly how many times I'll be there. I think we'll go with the flow here.

Were you approached by Lou Lamoriello or Mike Babcock or both about this position?

Both. That's what made me really excited, because Mike called me and Lou called me that same day and I feel that through the two calls, I said I think I can be working with them and bring something to the table.

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