It’s rare you see head coaches mentioned in any type of All-Star selection talk.
However, when one is brought up, that means they have been doing something right with their team.
And for Coach Hynes, that phrase “doing something right” fits him to a T.
As with all first-year head coaches taking over a team, there’s going to be growing pains. New systems, a different coaching style, and possible personality conflicts are some of factors that may cause friction in a adjustment period. Normally, it may take at least a year for players to “buy in” to what the new bench boss is selling. But, when they do, like a light switch everything clicks.
That’s what is being seen in the Devils this season. Coach Hynes left Wilkes-Barre Scranton after five successful seasons with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of Pittsburgh. He jumped into a hotbed of chaos in New Jersey, which has been on the down and outs three years removed from their trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.
He has provided stability and become a player’s coach, identifying with them while remaining assertive with his coaching to his players.
Coach Hynes is starting to garner attention that is deserving of the work he has done to turn around the fortunes and make it fun to watch Devils hockey again. General manager Shero, who was all too familiar in what Hynes was as a coach from their days in the Penguins organization, had this to say in an article written in USA Today:
“He was sending a message to the team that we are never going to give up…We are going to play until the end, and we’ve done this all season.”
And, his team has lived by that mentality this season. Even though the team started 0-4-1 and it looked like a repeat of previous season failures, something clicked which is showing on the ice, night and night out. Never count out the Devils in any game. You play a full 60 minutes, whether you are wearing the red and black or on the other side of the ice.
That’s what Coach Hynes has brought to New Jersey, and why he should be behind the bench in Nashville next month.