Updated: Who Replaces Risebrough?
With Jacques Lemaire stepping down as Head Coach and Doug Risebrough now on the outs as General Manager, Owner Craig Leipold needs to put together an intensive search for the new General Manager of the team. There are some pretty good odds that he will look both within and around the NHL for his candidates and you would have to imagine that he already has a good idea of who he’d like to approach.
That said, the man that Leipold should offer the job to is right underneath his nose.
At least…He was until a few days ago.
That’s right. The man who would be perfect for the job is none other than former coach, Jacques Lemaire. This may not necessarily be the popular decision for Wild fans, but the bottom line is that Lemaire is best suited for this job.
Why you ask? Simple. First, there is absolutely no one in the league that knows the personnel that the Wild currently have at their disposal better than Lemaire. He knows what the team needs, he knows what will work with who the Wild currently have and he is one of the best hockey minds in the league. Second, he is a winner through and through. With how used to winning he is, you’ve got to think that the Wild’s mediocrity over the last few seasons (yes, they were mediocre in winning the Northwest Title) has eaten away at him like nothing else. He wants to win and he genuinely cares about the franchise. You can see this in his press conference, where he did not step aside because he was done coaching, but he stepped aside because “it was time.” That, to me, speaks to someone who is acting in the franchise’s best interests.
Lemaire spoke highly of the organization in his press conference and it was clear that it was going to be hard for him to leave. While his tenure as coach is certainly over, I don’t believe that his tenure with the Wild has to be. There’s no doubt that, if Leipold hasn’t already contacted him, he should. Lemaire knows the game better than almost anyone else in the league and he certainly knows the team better than anyone else in the league. It’s also evident that he knows what the players are looking for in a coach as well, as evidenced by his comments after announcing that he was stepping down.
Who better to provide the team with what everyone’s clamoring for than the man who got them to where they are?
I don’t know who Leipold has contacted or will contact. But I do know that, if he’s interested, the job should be Lemaire’s.
Update: Russo has reported that Lemaire has said that he’s not interested in the position. I don’t know who is going to replace Risebrough, but one thing is for certain; they’re going to have their work cut out for them.