The Devils today made a huge change at the top, firing head coach John Hynes and elevating assistant coach Alain Nasreddine to Interim Head Coach. This information comes from the Devils themselves on their official site.
This move comes off of the heels of a 4-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday and a 7-1 drubbing by the Sabres last night. Nasreddine will take over tonight as the Devils face the Vegas Golden Knights at Prudential Center.
In addition to this move, Peter Horachek will move from being a pro scout to an assistant with Nasreddine. Assistants Rick Kowalsky, Mike Grier and goalie coach Roland Melanson remain on the staff.
Nasreddine was hired as an assistant coach by New Jersey on June 17, 2015.
Ray Shero said this regarding the announcement of Hynes’ firing: “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. 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.”
On the subject of Nasreddine, Shero said: “Nas has a long history as a respected leader both as a player [he played 15-years in the Edmonton, Florida, Montreal, Islanders and Pittsburgh organizations] and a coach [he previously was an assistant with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL] in the respective roles he has served for his teams. 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.”
Horachek, according to the press release, was hired as a pro scout for the Devils in 2015. He previously served as an assistant for Nashville and was an interim head coach for the Florida Panthers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Devils were 150-159-45 all-time under Hynes for a .487 winning percentage in 354 total games according to the press release. They appeared in one playoff series under him, in 2018 – where they lost in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The press release mentioned that he ranks second in Devils franchise history in games coached, wins and points, of which he accumulated 345.
The Devils were 9-13-4 with 22 points and a -31 goal differential this season under Hynes. Hopefully, the team turns things around. As NHL Network’s EJ Hradek put it on NHL Now this afternoon (paraphrasing), the team cost a coach his job, now it is time to begin to really take the next step forward for them.
How will they respond tonight to the firing? Will Nasreddine have them in a position to compete with the Golden Knights? Tune in tonight on MSG to find out. And afterwards, check back here and we will have a complete recap of tonight’s action.