After getting completely embarrassed by the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night, and less than three hours before they take the ice for a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New Jersey Devils have made a coaching change.
The team announced on Tuesday evening that coach John Hynes has been fired and will be replaced by Alain Nasreddine on an interim basis.
Peter Horachek, who had been working as a pro scout in the Devils’ organization, will also be joining the staff as an assistant coach.
Expectations were extremely high for the Devils this season following a huge offseason that saw them get the No. 1 overall pick (for the second time in three years) that gave them Jack Hughes, as well as blockbuster trades to acquire P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev.
Along with that they also signed Wayne Simmonds in free agency and were getting a healthy Taylor Hall back after he missed almost all of the 2018-19 season.
Despite all of that the Devils have been off to a miserable start that has them at 9-13-4 and near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They lost their past two games against the Sabres and New York Rangers by a combined score of 11-1.
That was apparently enough.
“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,” general manager Ray Shero said in a statement released by the team.
“John is a respected leader, developer of talent and friend which makes this decision difficult. We are a team that values and takes pride in accountability to the results we produce. We are collectively disappointed in our performance on the ice and believe changes were needed, starting with our head coach. I have been consistent in my desire to build something here in New Jersey that earns the respect of teams throughout the league and pride in our fans. That is not where we were heading and for me to tolerate anything less was not acceptable.”
Hynes was the Devils’ head coach since the start of the 2015-16 season. The team compiled a 150-159-45 record during his time, making the playoffs one time. They lost in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2017-18 season.
Nasreddine spent parts of five seasons in the NHL as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders. He has been a long-time assistant of Hynes at both the AHL (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and NHL levels (New Jersey).
“Nas has a long history as a respected leader both as a player and a coach in the respective roles he has served for his teams,” said Shero. “His experience as a captain and alternate captain on the ice, in addition to his responsibilities behind the bench, will serve him well as he leads this team through necessary changes to alter our current trajectory.”
The craziest fact out of all of this is this will be the eighth different coach Hall has had in his 10-year NHL career.
This is now the 8th different head coach Taylor Hall has had since entering the league. And that number is probably going to grow by the end of the year. It's his 10th season.
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) December 3, 2019
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.