The New Jersey Devils’ pursuit of a new head coach continues, and while they may once again come out and refute the latest reports, it sounds like we can cross off some names and promote another.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that John Hynes (coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) may be the current front-runner. Meanwhile, McKenzie notes that one can probably cross former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher (pictured) off the list of possible candidates, as it appears that he’ll continue to coach in Switzerland.
That last bit of news may be a bummer to some, as many found some entertainment in hypothesizing about the source of Boucher’s Bond villain-style scar. The guy also tended to make some humorously dramatic facial expressions, as you can see from this post’s main image.
(You could also make a joke about upping the use of the 1-3-1 trap in New Jersey, if you’re into especially nerdy hockey humor.)
Hynes certainly makes sense from a familiarity standpoint, as new Devils GM Ray Shero is quite familiar with him. Beyond that, he’s enjoyed quite a bit of success in the AHL and seemed to have a good chance to nab the Penguins’ gig last summer, at least according to betting odds.
By no means is this official, but McKenzie does discuss what would happen next if the Devils do make the decision:
Phil Housley could be the next head coach of the New Jersey Devils.
According to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger, Housley, who is currently an assistant coach with the Nashville Predators, has emerged as the front-runner for the coaching vacancy in New Jersey.
Chere reports GM Ray Shero has also interviewed former Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher, Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes.
The Devils reportedly interviewed Dan Bylsma before he took the Buffalo Sabres job.
During his playing days Housley spent part of the 1995-96 season with the Devils.
The 51-year-old’s coaching experience includes a gold medal while behind the bench of Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Vincent Lecavalier finally spoke with Philadelphia media and may have gotten a dig in at his former coach, Guy Boucher, while doing so.
While the Flyers finally announced Lecavalier’s deal, he was asked his thoughts about the Flyers’ up-tempo system under Peter Laviolette and if he liked that. It turns out he’s a big fan.
“I like that better than staying on your heels” Lecavalier said. “I think when you’re on your heels a lot more, you’re not in the game as much. You’re not as sharp and as quick. I think if you’re on your toes like the Flyers play, I think it makes you a better hockey player.”
When Boucher was let go in Tampa, it was believed there was tension there between himself and some of the veteran players and his defensive system may have been part of that.
If you’ll recall, it was against the Flyers when Boucher’s 1-3-1 forecheck system was challenged via stalling as the Flyers sat back in their own zone waiting to be pursued.
Perhaps all that staying back on their heels was why Tampa’s defense was so poor the last couple seasons and not the motley crew of blue liners that took part in it. Oh, right.