With Ken Hitchcock recently getting the ax from the St. Louis Blues, should the New Jersey Devils make a similar move?
Whenever a team is struggling over multiple seasons one of the things brought up is firing the head coach. In the midst of a rebuild, the New Jersey Devils find themselves at these crossroads.
Should they fire coach John Hynes? The answer to that question is an astounding no.
In his first season, he led the Devils to 38 wins, as well as winning the season series against the hated rival New York Rangers. There isn’t a Devils’ fan around who will tell you they excepted that especially from someone whose coaching experience is limited to AHL experience.
Hynes brought an offensive mentality that the team has need badly. It wasn’t on a Peter Laviolette level, but the team improved offensively.
With top notch goaltending they were getting from Cory Schneider, they could afford to score one or two goals and have it be enough. While the playoffs escaped the team’s grasp once again, they stated in the hunt until March and it gave fans hope the rebuild wouldn’t be as long as they feared.
Then, this season happened.
Looking at the stats, they were still dead last in the league in goals scored but the team looked crisper. There is also the vastly improved special teams, minus this year’s power play. Last season, the power play was ninth in the league and that is without a major name quarterbacking the man advantage.
The penalty kill was also glorious, as the Devils ranked eighth in the league with a man down.
This year is a wee bit different, though. The penalty kill is 16th, just below the league average, and the power play is all the way near the bottom at 27th which is a drastic drop-off, but when they have been on, they roll through.
So imagine Hynes is handed the Pink slip. Who should replace him? Ray Shero certainly won’t pull an Uncle Lou special and take over himself or have some odd three-headed monster of a coach. Marc Crawford is a name that comes to mind. While he is an associate coach for the Ottawa Senators, could the lure of the reigns bring him to Newark?
He already has a Stanley Cup championship on his resume, the 1996 Avalanche team. While he hasn’t coached a team to the playoffs since before the 2005 lockout, it would be a great story for coach and team to finally return to the playoffs.
So if not Crawford, then who? Here’s a name to stir the pot: Ron Wilson.
Wilson’s stint in San Jose is most memorable for having dominant teams during the season and then failing to do much in the playoffs, only making it to the conference finals once and losing in the second round three years in a row. He is best known for using tech in his style of coaching. With how technology is evolving and changing every day, the potential is limitless.
The Devils gave Peter DeBoer two seasons of missing the playoffs before firing him. Should the Devils do the same with Hynes? Or should they enter a third season with him behind the bench?