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A look at the New Jersey Devils' coaching history

by Brian Compton
Twenty-seven years after being drafted by the franchise in the first round of the 1983 Entry Draft, John MacLean is coming back to coach the team with which he's spent most of his hockey life.

The 45-year-old was named the 15th coach in Devils history on Thursday, and he hopes to provide some stability to a team that hasn't had much behind the bench since cancer forced Pat Burns to step down in 2005.

Here's a closer look at the history of Devils' coaches since the team moved to New Jersey from Colorado in 1982:

New Jersey Devils' coaching history
Bill MacMillan, 1982-83 The first coach in Devils history didn't last long – he was relieved of his duties on Nov. 22, 1983, roughly 13 months after the franchise began play in New Jersey.
Tom McVie, 1983-84 The second coach's tenure was also short-lived, as MacMillan's replacement failed to turn things in New Jersey and was removed on May 31, 1984.
Doug Carpenter, 1984-88 New Jersey improved slightly during Carpenter's tenure, but never won more than 29 games in a season. He was fired halfway through the 1987-88 season, having never gotten the team to the playoffs.
Jim Schoenfeld, 1988-89 Famous for his comment regarding referee Don Koharski, Schoenfeld relieved Carpenter at midseason and guided the Devils to their first playoff appearance when MacLean scored an overtime goal on the final night of the regular season. They got within one win of the Stanley Cup Final, but a slow start led to Schoenfeld's firing on Nov. 6, 1989.
John Cunniff, 1989-91 Replaced Schoenfeld and guided the Devils to the playoffs, but was removed as coach in his first full season behind the bench on March 4, 1991.
Tom McVie, 1991-92 The second time around wasn't any better for McVie, who lasted only one season. New Jersey went 38-33-11 and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Herb Brooks, 1992-93 The man who led Team USA to its miraculous gold medal victory in 1980 helped the Devils win 40 games during the regular season, but another first-round exit meant another change behind the bench.
Jacques Lemaire, 1993-98 A winner of five Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s, Lemaire finally provided some stability in New Jersey. He led the club to its first Stanley Cup championship in 1995 when the Devils beat the Detroit Red Wings, but left after the 1997-98 season.
Robbie Ftorek, 1998-2000 Lemaire's replacement didn't experience the same success. The Devils won 47 games in 1998-99 but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Ftorek was fired by Lamoriello with just eight games remaining in the 1999-2000 season despite a 41-25-8 record.
Larry Robinson, 2000-02 Lamoriello's move paid off, as Robinson guided the Devils to their second Stanley Cup victory in 2000; they beat the Dallas Stars in six games. Robinson got the Devils to Game 7 of the Final the following season, but was let go in January 2002 after New Jersey won just 21 of its first 51 games.
Kevin Constantine, 2002 Lasted less than five months as coach after the Devils were ousted in the opening round of the playoffs.
Pat Burns, 2002-05 The fiery coach guided the club to its third Stanley Cup crown in 2003 in a seven-game series against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. A bout with cancer, however, forced Burns to step down in 2005.
Larry Robinson, 2005 Robinson didn't make it to the New Year in his second stint as coach, as Lamoriello fired him again on Dec. 19, 2005. New Jersey was 14-13-5 at the time.
Lou Lamoriello, 2005-06 The GM took over the coaching reins for the first time and the Devils went 32-14-4 down the stretch before falling in the second round of the playoffs.
Claude Julien, 2006-07 Fired with three games remaining in the regular season, despite the fact that New Jersey was 47-24-8.
Lou Lamoriello, 2007 Lamoriello took over again for the postseason and watched the Devils go down in flames in the second round of the playoffs.
Brent Sutter, 2007-09 The former New York Islanders center lasted two seasons in New Jersey before deciding to quit – he later accepted the same position with the Calgary Flames. The Devils never got past the first round of the playoffs during Sutter's two-year reign.
Jacques Lemaire, 2009-10 Lemaire's return to New Jersey wasn't nearly as successful as the first. After finishing as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Devils were ousted in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Philadelphia Flyers in five games. Lemaire announced his retirement shortly afterward.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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