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It’s officially over for John Hynes in New Jersey. Following an explosive tweet sent from NJ.com’s Chris Ryan that the embattled Devils coach could actually be behind the bench for tonight’s home game against the Golden Knights before the coaching change took place, the Devils official Twitter had no choice but to make the official announcement.
Assistant Alain Nasreddine will take over as interim coach and pro scout Peter Horachek joins the team as a new assistant. Credit NHL.com reporter Dan Rosen for that. Here was the original Ryan tweet that included a link to the story he broke because when it comes to today’s media, everyone wants to be first.
Once that was sent on Twitter, it created chaos and confusion. How could the organization allow Hynes to coach one more game before making the expected change? Everyone knew it was coming on the heels of a 7-1 humiliation at Buffalo after the 4-0 home embarrassment to the Rangers over the weekend. Something had to give.
As follower and passionate Devils fan Andrew Timoni put it in a good response to a tweet discussion regarding Hynes, it made no sense.
He recently visited Montreal again to see the Devils post their last victory under Hynes on Thanksgiving. Then braved the elements on a long drive home that included heavy snow upstate.
So, it’s finally over for Hynes. Hired by close friend and current Devils GM Ray Shero in 2015, he posted a record of 150-159-45. His best season coming in ’17-18 when he guided the Devils back to the playoffs with a 44-29-9 record and 97 points to edge out the Panthers for their first postseason appearance since 2012 when the franchise reached the Stanley Cup Final.
Hart winner Taylor Hall carried the team to become the first ever New Jersey Devil to win MVP. Keith Kinkaid had a great run as the number one goalie to get them in. Ironically, he was just placed on waivers by Montreal on the same day his former coach lost his job.
This year was supposed to be different. With the key additions of top pick Jack Hughes, acquisition of PK Subban and signings of Wayne Simmonds and Nikita Gusev, the Devils were expected to compete for the playoffs. Instead, they’ve suffered from inconsistency, lack of production and poor defense that’s caused them to be 9-13-4 with 22 points. That put them last in the Metro Division and 30th out of 31 teams with only miserable Detroit worse.
This is a change that had to happen. How will the team respond? They have a game at 7 PM against Vegas, who had no problem with the Rangers yesterday. The Devils then are off until Friday when the Blackhawks visit Newark. Following that home game, they embark on a four game road trip with stops at Nashville 12/7, Dallas 12/10, Colorado 12/13 and Arizona 12/14.
We’ll see if the coaching change lights a fire under underperforming players like Hall, Subban, Simmonds, Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier.