BOSTON — After his team went through its morning skate at TD Banknorth Garden in preparation for its match-up with the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire — like most visiting coaches — was asked what he has liked about the Bruins’ play this season.
He echoed the sentiments of many of the other opposing bench bosses — commending the Bruins’ speed and skill and depth. But then I asked him what he thought of the job head coach Claude Julien, a fellow former Montreal Canadiens coach, has done. And Lemaire really started to turn on the praise.
“I’m really happy because there’s a lot of coaches that left Montreal and I felt that they were real good coaches. When they do get success somewhere else, well, you’re happy,” Lemaire said. “And I’ve been following what he’s doing. I think he’s done a heck of a job with the team. He’s always been a coach where he gets a team. Not individuals. He preaches team work and all that, and he’s done that in the past. He’s done a great job. And it shows right now.”
The admiration flows both ways between Lemaire, the only coach the Wild have had in their nine seasons of existence, and the Bruins’ coach.
“I know I’ve learned a lot just from watching him over the course of my career and trying to watch how he does things,” Julien said. “And we actually have a good relationship as well. We have a chance to chat. He’s done an excellent job. Every year his team is competitive and he gets the most out of his players.”