Devils fire coach Hynes af­ter dis­mal start to sea­son

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

NE­WARK, N.J. (AP) >> John Hynes paid the price for the New Jersey Devils fail­ing to de­liver on the high ex­pec­ta­tions cre­ated by hav­ing three No. 1 over­all draft picks in the lineup.

Hynes was fired as coach Tues­day af­ter a 9-13-4 start that left the team in last place in the Metropoli­tan Di­vi­sion and with the NHL’s sec­ond-worst record.

Gen­eral man­ager Ray Shero an­nounced the move roughly 20 min­utes be­fore Hynes was sched­uled to speak to the me­dia be­fore the Devils’ game against the Ve­gas Golden Knights. Hynes had been coach for four-plus sea­sons.

Shero said as­sis­tant Alain Nasred­dine would be­come the in­terim coach and Peter Ho­rachek, a pro scout for the team, would join the coach­ing staff as an as­sis­tant.

The dis­missal comes a day af­ter the Devils were ripped by the Buf­falo Sabres 7-1, a game Shero said was hard to de­scribe. That fol­lowed a 4-0 loss at home to the ri­val New York Rangers on Satur­day.

Shero said he made his de­ci­sion to fire Hynes af­ter the Buf­falo game, adding the team’s in­con­sis­tency and in­abil­ity to hold leads all sea­son con­trib­uted to his dis­ap­point­ment that be­gan with an 0-4-2 record af­ter six games.

“I don’t think there is any one player per­form­ing even at the level, let alone above, that we would ex­pect or they would ex­pect,” Shero said. “That’s the thing that is dis­ap­point­ing. Ob­vi­ously change brings op­por­tu­nity not only for Alain Nasred­dine but also for our play­ers. It’s op­por­tu­nity for them and to find out where we are and where we are go­ing to go.”

Shero said Nasred­dine would be given a chance to turn things around, adding there is a lot of time left in the sea­son.

Nasred­dine said he was in shock when Shero in­formed him of the change, call­ing it a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment since Hynes had been his men­tor for the last decade.

“I think ev­ery­one in that room is dis­ap­pointed,” Nasred­dine said of the team. “Ev­ery­one in that rooms feels re­spon­si­ble. Ev­ery­one in that room can be bet­ter.”

The Devils had high hopes en­ter­ing the sea­son af­ter draft­ing Jack Hughes with the No. 1 over­all pick just two years af­ter tak­ing Nico His­chier with the No. 1 pick. The other first over­all pick on the ros­ter is Tay­lor Hall, who won the league MVP award in 2018 af­ter lead­ing New Jersey to the play­offs.

The Devils are the third team to change coaches this sea­son. Toronto fired Mike Bab­cock two weeks ago and Cal­gary parted way with Bill Peters last week.

Hynes, who was hired by the Devils in June 2015, had a 150-159-45 record in 354 ca­reer reg­u­lar-sea­son games. When the New Jersey made the post­sea­son in ‘18, it was the first time since go­ing to the Stanley Cup Fi­nal in 2012.

Hynes ranks sec­ond in team his­tory in games coached, wins and points (345).

“John played an in­te­gral role in the de­vel­op­ment of this team in es­tab­lish­ing a foun­da­tion for our fu­ture and we are grate­ful for his com­mit­ment, pas­sion and un­matched work ethic,” Shero said in a state­ment. “John is a re­spected leader, de­vel­oper of tal­ent and friend which makes this de­ci­sion dif­fi­cult. We are a team who val­ues and takes pride in ac­count­abil­ity to the re­sults we pro­duce.

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