Devils fire coach John Hynes hours before game, name Alain Nasreddine interim coach
New Jersey was projected to take a step forward following a promising offseason
John Hynes is officially out as head coach of the New Jersey Devils. Hynes was relieved of his duties on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before the Devils were set to take the ice for a game against the Golden Knights in Newark.
In a statement released by the team, they announced that assistant Alain Nasreddine will take over for Hynes on an interim basis. Pro scout Peter Horachek will join the coaching staff as an assistant under Nasreddine.
Hynes' firing doesn't come as much of a surprise, considering the Devils' brutal start to the season. New Jersey has struggled to a 9-13-4 start out of the gate and, as of Tuesday, is the second-worst team in the NHL in regards to point percentage (.385) as well as goal differential (-31). Only the Detroit Red Wings, who are on a historically awful pace, rank worse in each category.
The difference between the Red Wings and the Devils, however, is that Detroit was expected to tank this season while New Jersey was projected to take a step forward following a promising offseason. Over the summer, the club added names such as P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev and top overall draft pick Jack Hughes -- additions that some thought might help push the Devils to contend for a playoff spot this year.
Instead, the Devils rank third-worst among all NHL teams in offense (including the league's fourth-worst power play) and second-worst in defense. Hynes' final game behind the bench in New Jersey was an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Hynes departs the Devils after four-plus seasons, having coached the team to a 150-159-45 (.487) record in 354 regular-season games. The club made the postseason once under his reign but were eliminated in five games by the Lightning in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Hynes ranks second in Devils franchise history in games coached, wins and points.
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