Yesterday morning, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero announced his assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald, will be joining the Devils on the bench as an assistant coach. Clearly the Devils have been having a rough start to their season so far as they haven’t won a game at all. The way I see it from this announcement, Tom Fitzgerald is being added to the coaching staff as a way to get a feel for what is going on in the locker room and on the bench with the players as well as the coaching staff. Fitzgerald brings a lot experience to the table as he played 17 years in the National Hockey League and won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins as their director of player development. Ray Shero is hoping Fitzgerald’s experience and fresh perspective will help give the jumpstart that the Devils so desperately need. Also, it’s a clear signal from management that if things don’t turn around very quickly that John Hynes will be fired.
From watching the games, Hynes seems to struggle with line management and game situational tactics. For example, Hynes is putting players in certain situations and at certain times of the game that don’t fit. Considering they’ve had a hard time with closing out games with a lead, he is not deploying his best defensive players that are best suited for those kinds of situations. Instead, he’s putting players out there that aren’t meant to be on the ice when the game is tight or close. Also, some of the line combinations I’ve been seeing haven’t been working or to be completely honest just don’t make very much sense. Some outsiders are pointing out that “you don’t forget how to coach” however, in this situation it appears like John Hynes has forgotten how to coach. The Devils power play in particular was supposed to improve greatly with the new additions yet it still ranks at the bottom of the league. They have yet to score on the power play. On the penalty kill the Devils are ranked dead last in the NHL with a 57.1 success rate which is obviously not very good at all. To me, this move seems like a Band-Aid type of move. I was never really much of a fan of the hiring of John Hynes and how his systems and coaching style works. It feels like the Devils are delaying the inevitable here. GM Ray Shero is hoping that one of his front office staff being around will help to fire up the players as well as the coaches and get them going on the right track. All I know is this, the Devils look like they’re going to get ready to move on from John Hynes very soon if things don’t turn around and quick. The Devils players and coaches need to start rolling off victories soon or this will become a lost season with Taylor Hall set to become a free agent. The Devils need to give Hall reasons to stay. If things don’t improve fast, there will be changes made.
Highlights from yesterday’s announcement: