Jacques has his skis waxed and ready to go. Treated like a visiting potentate wherever he goes, he has developed a taste for a local cheese delicacy called raclette washed down with fendant, a dry sparkling white wine produced nearby. And the maid, exhibiting the Swiss passion for cleanliness, keeps vacuuming the garage, which accommodates the Mercedes Jacques has just purchased. "What more could a man ask for?" says the lord of the manor.
Well, there is the matter of a winning team. Recently, wearing a floppy leather hat autographed by his fellow Stanley Cup champions, Lemaire drove along the Rhone and reflected, "Sometimes I feel like a sculptor shaping a new creation. But so many things can go wrong. I've never played on a losing team, and if that starts happening, I'll have to get on the players' backs and they'll learn to hate me, I'm sure. But listen," he said, biting into an apple from his orchard, "we only play a 28-game schedule, and when I compare that to the 80-game grind in the NHL, well, I just smile."
Lemaire had even more to smile about when the season opened Oct. 6. Before a wildly enthusiastic hometown crowd of 4,500, he scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead Sierre to a 4-3 win over a tough Fribourg team. "The guys played a great, great game for all three periods," Jacques said. "I'm very proud. I wanted to be happy in my work and now I am. I'm telling you, I've never been more relaxed."
� votre sant�, Jacques Lemaire.