NEWARK, N.J. – As the saying goes, you can’t shoot players. So New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Sero did the next best thing and sacrificed coach John Hynes on Tuesday night.
“John has done a great job here over the last four and a half seasons in establishing things both on and off the ice,” Shero said about 90 minutes before the Golden Knights’ points drop. of Vegas at the Prudential Center. “Everybody had higher expectations, but collectively as a team, our team, I don’t think there is a player that even performs at the level – let alone above – we expect or maybe they expect but that is a disappointing thing.”
The Devils started the season with a disastrous 0-4-2, which GM called a “head turn” starting as it “lost every imaginable way.” It was a shocking series of events, given the addition of P.K. Subban, 2019 first overall draft pick Jack Hughes and a healthy Taylor Hall and Cory Schneider. After losing 4-3 to Vegas, the team stands 9-14-4 and Hughes is injured, Schneider is sent to minors, Hall was reported in the block and Subban has not recorded a point in 15 games.
“There is an opportunity to find out where we are here and where we are going, because once we are this season … no one has reached the level they expected or probably expected,” said GM who hired Hynes in 2015 in New. Jersey, five years after hiring him to run the Penguins AHL bench. “Over the course of some time here, we hope we will really learn what we have here for our players and where we are going.”
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While the Devils were struggling to produce – 29th in the NHL in goals-per-game (2.50) before Tuesday’s game – they have also allowed a staggering 3.62 goals in their first 26 games (the second-worst in the NHL). During the first four seasons of Hynes’s term, the team averaged 2.57 goals per game – so it’s not far off the mark this season. However, he was at 3.02 goals-per-game, which makes this season a mind-boggling rise.
“It’s for us,” captain Andy Greene said after the game. “Someone who loses his job because of the way we played, the way we didn’t perform.” Hynes was a really good coach, a great coach, a great person, always sad when you see him.
The results of this season’s results have come as a surprise because on paper the Devils have a solid team with the players mentioned above, in conjunction with 2017 first-team total Nico Hischier, Sami Vatanen, Greene and newcomer Nikita Gusev, who led the KHL in the ratings last season, and Wayne Simmonds. Yes, a bunch of new faces can sometimes take time to gel, but this batch never seemed to find its bottom Hynes mojo, which has become more prominent in recent days. So, on the second night of a back-to-back, Sero felt the sand had run out on Hynes’ timer, as the team lost 4-0 to their Hudson River opponents, the New York Rangers on Saturday and a 7-1 win. defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabers on Monday night.
“It goes to execution … some of you saw the game last night, I mean we can’t go five feet. Find any other word on the Sabers loss.
“In the end it’s always about the players, in the end we’re on the ice … we have to take responsibility for it,” said Hischier, who scored a goal after the game. “Nobody here likes where we are, what we do now, but it’s not that we’re not trying. We know we’re a better team than that – we just have to understand it.”
Despite another loss to Vegas, the team played well for the first 40 – and actually went 2-1 in the third period – under new quarterback Alain Nasreddine. He takes the helm from the man who worked for more than nine seasons and stressed that considering “everyone in that room is undervalued,” is a clean slate.
“I don’t want to live in the past and what happened in the first 25 games,” Nasreddine commented after the game. “Tonight, you know it’s a new beginning and we had to lead, yes, into third, but it was more about what we did and what we didn’t do.”
The opportunity now strikes not only for these players to turn this season around – quick reminder, 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues was last in place on January 3 – but the coach. Shero said he would start keeping an eye out for a new bench boss for next season, with this staff taking every opportunity to prove himself too.
“I think we’re better than that,” Shero said. “When you have 23 players who don’t play at almost their level – I don’t think you’re sitting here saying something that’s not true – I think it’s better than that but we have to look. they do great and other guys are pretty good (well). is going “.
The Devils are off Wednesday and will return to work on Thursday before their next matchup on Friday, when the downhill Chicago Blackhawks come to town.