One thing I have noticed about the Devils is how much fun they're having. It didn't seem like much of a happy or fun place under Lou and DeBoer. I wonder if that was more due to Lou and his rules. Of course, DeBoer wore off too. All coaches get stiff after a while. Players start tuning them out.
But I do wonder about how good the Devils look under Hynes while the Leafs look miserable despite hiring Babcock. The common denominator is Lamoriello. An old school GM so set in his ways that he has the same rules in place for a big pressure market like Toronto that was in New Jersey which was under less of a radar. In the old days, it worked due to the Hall Of Fame talent they had. Great leadership. But maybe that style isn't right anymore with today's modern athlete.
I see Devils now growing beards and taking part in #Movember to raise cancer awareness. Henrique particularly on Twitter. It just seems like they have made it a lot more fun for the players. And a lot better for the fans in terms of interactive with public practices, etc. Maybe that change has been for the better. You see players performing more.
But also it reminds me a bit of '05-06 with the Rangers post lockout. That team had more talent obviously. Plus Lundqvist in his rookie year. But just the overall attitude from the Devils is similar. They have been counted out. I had them ranked 30th with 52 or 54 points. Oops. Sometimes, players rise up when it's least expected. But I really believe all the changes they have made has been a key ingredient. It doesn't mean they'll make the wildcard. But it means they're gonna be competitive. That there won't be any easy nights for opponents. That's a step in the right direction.