Lindy Ruff to remain head coach of New Jersey Devils
There was some speculation the Devils could move Ruff aside to make Andrew Brunette bench boss. Tom Fitzgerald rightfully ended that on Wednesday afternoon.
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There was some outside speculation the New Jersey Devils could move on from Lindy Ruff this summer – likely in the form of pushing him upstairs – in order to clear a path for Andrew Brunette to take over as head coach.
This wouldn’t have been a slight towards Ruff, but rather a way to ensure the team doesn’t lose Brunette – who is drawing some interest from other organizations.
General Manager Tom Fitzgerald put an end to the speculation in his end of year media availability, announcing that Ruff will be back as head coach and giving him an unwavering stamp of approval.
I think this was the right move. While some of Ruff’s decisions are head scratching in a vacuum, he largely did a very good job this year.
Prior to the season, the hope was that the Devils could compete for a Wild Card spot and perhaps give a team a real go in the opening round of the playoffs. They finished as the No. 3 seed in the NHL and won a round before bowing out to the No. 2 seed.
Their success was far from smoke and mirrors, as the Devils posted some of the best underlying metrics in the NHL.
I’m well aware the Devils possess a very strong young core and that other coaches could’ve led the team to a quality year as well. But let’s zoom out for a second.
The Devils won a ton of games, the numbers suggest they deserved to win a ton of games, and they’re a year – or perhaps even two – ahead of schedule.
The organization is in a spot now that you’d barely dream of this time last year. The situation doesn’t exactly scream for a coaching change.
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