New Jersey Devils
Less then ten days until the New Jersey Devils most important draft since 1991 and their coaching seat remains cold. As I read that Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Paul Maclean was about to be named the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators I asked myself, “What’s taking the Devils so long?”
Traditionally the Devils take their time filling coaching vacancies and I’m quite used to the idea of waiting. I have been following the Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello long enough to know that he follows the beat of a different drum. I also realize that he’s not going to just fill the seat on the bench with a warm body. More so than ever this coaching hire is a turning point for the Devils as they transition into the Kovalchuk/post-Brodeur era. yet I can’t help but become increasingly impatient with the idea that we will end up with another retread coach or even worse another teams rejected candidate. So to make myself feel better about the wait I compiled a list of past coaches, the date they were hired and their record immediately following the hire and how they left the team. The point of this you ask? I’m not sure, I just like looking at obscure numbers.
John Maclean – June 17, 2010 – 9-22-2 (fired)
Jacques Lemaire – July 13, 2009 – 48-27-7 (retired)
Brent Sutter – July 12, 2007 – 97-56-11 (resigned)
Claude Julien – June 13, 2006 – 47-24-8 (fired)
Larry Robinson – July 14, 2005 – 14-13-5 (resigned)
Pat Burns – June 13, 2002 – 89-45-22-9 (health)
Robbie Ftorek – May 21, 1998 – 88-44-19-5 (fired)
Jacques Lemaire – June 28, 1993 – 199-122-57 (resigned)
Herb Brooks – June 5, 1992 – 40-7-7 (fired)
The Devils have had a total of 15 coaches in their nearly 30 years of existence, so obviously there are other names intermingled into that mess. Many of them as mid-season replacements, but for the last 20 years the Devils have made the majority of their coaching hires from mid June on with the latest hire being Robinson on July 17th. Interestingly, he did not fair so well and ultimately bowed out mid-way through the year. The other two mid July hires, Lemaire in his second stint and Sutter fared much better. So it appears there is really no correlation between the date the coach was hired and their overall record behind the bench. It’s just fun to look at.
However, New Jersey is moving in a different direction. Many of the past decades coaches were either retreads or promotions from other jobs within the organization. If the Devils are going to complete the image make-over they’ve experienced over the last couple of seasons they must bring in somebody from the outside. The organization needs a fresh face to implement a new system and pump some life into the players and fans. If Lamoriello waits too long to get his feet wet in his search for a new coach, before he knows it the talent pool will already be dried up.
Oh, one more thing…to the guy that suggested that Wayne Gretzky could be a potential candidate to coach the Devils, thank you for the laugh. I really needed that.
follow me on twitter @westcoastdevfan!
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As Coaching Seats Fill, Devils Remain Silent
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