After a start to the season that hasn’t gone particularly well, the New Jersey Devils and their fans have made it clear they are not happy with the coaching. Some took to chants during home games, others took to excessive complaining on social media. Hey, it was Devils’ Twitter that got us Nikita Gusev (or so we like to take credit for), maybe Devils’ Twitter can get us a new coaching staff.
Well, be careful what you wish for Devils’ fans. Come Wednesday morning, the Devils announced they have a new coach. Well, not a new head coach, but a new assistant coach. While John Hynes is still employed in the friendly confines of Newark, New Jersey, he will be joined by assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald. There is no immediate word on any other assistant coaching changes.
Who is Tom Fitzgerald?
Tom Fitzgerald had a consistent NHL career throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. His career achievement is being named the first captain in the history of the Nashville Predators. He also served in various capacities within the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, including as an assistant coach. He also served as a director for player development during the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup championship.
It may not have been the change Devils’ fans wanted, but if anything, it puts an extra set on eyes, along with some added pressure on John Hynes. It also builds a relationship to get rid of any disconnect between the front office and the coaching staff. Some unverified reports say that John Hynes’ job is safe, for now.
Amid reports saying the Devils aren’t looking to make a coaching change, there are also rumors saying Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers will be the best indicator of just how safe Hynes is.
The way I see it is if the Devils drop Thursday’s game, Hynes is sent packing. And Fitzgerald already has one foot in the door to be the interim head coach. If they win, Fitzgerald stays on to keep an extra eye on Hynes and keeps the fire lit under him. Official word is that Fitzgerald will stay in this capacity until the team, “gets back on track.” Don’t expect Fitzgerald to retreat back to the front office any time soon.