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The New Jersey Devils 2021-22 Regular Season Thread


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On 12/26/2021 at 5:14 PM, MadDog2020 said:

 

“Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year. Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year. Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year.“

Ryan Graves, to himself, watching this ship burn relentlessly behind an idiot personnel manager of a GM, and the three blind idiot mice behind the bench… probably….

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12 hours ago, jagknife said:

“Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year. Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year. Say the right thing, get traded at the deadline next year.“

Ryan Graves, to himself, watching this ship burn relentlessly behind an idiot personnel manager of a GM, and the three blind idiot mice behind the bench… probably….

It's funny, on one hand, I do get trying to challenge the players (sometimes it's simply a necessary evil)...but on the other, I think Fitz is absolutely backing the wrong horses here.  I don't think he's an idiot (he's too highly thought of around the league...he was going to get a GM gig soon, if it hadn't happened here), but if his "It's On The Players" challenge doesn't pay off, he has to be willing to circle back to the coaching staff, and make changes.  I'll definitely give you that other GMs would've tried to do SOMETHING by now...I obviously don't believe one bit in either Recchi or nASS, and even if Fitz wants to give Recchi just a little more wiggle room due to not having much time here, well, OK...don't like it, but OK.  But for the life of me I have NO idea how Fitz can think that nASS is somehow ever going to become part of the solution here.  If I find any particular thing frustrating as can be, it's that nASS continues to have a place here, with zero in the results department to back it up...if a guy like Larry Robinson or a few select others were available, I think you'd see a considerable difference in how the D-Corp would be playing...not that they'd be cast-iron right off the bat, but you would at least see noticeable improvement (and less glaring mistakes, blown coverages, etc).  Sadly, I just realized the sad irony here...nASS seems to get Robinson treatment here, when he couldn't be MORE of an anti-Robinson...it makes no fvcking sense at all.

And with Blitzer just having bought a sizable chunk of the Cleveland Guardians, I'm starting to believe that DM84 might be right about this ownership group.  I don't think that they'll actively ever try to get in the way of winning...not that any owner really does, but I don't think that they're so incompetent that they'll unintentionally sabotage (via unwelcome meddling) any good work that the front office is doing, and I also don't think that they'll force any kind of internal cap on their GMs...but I don't think winning anything is truly their top priority.  Some owners really hate the idea of their teams losing, and will go all-out in doing what they can to get their teams over the hump...they don't accept losing, even if their franchises are still otherwise profitable.  To be fair, some "I wanna win NOW dammit!" owners do plenty of damage (via Jeffy Wilpon-type-meddling, etc), so I don't want to make it sound like those owners by sheer virtue of WANTING to win are somehow automatics.  But I think Blitzer & Co don't really care that much about winning, as much as they care about profits and ROI.  In some ways they're probably great to work for, in that they're not that concerned with the standings part of the equation.  Jack will get pats on the back from them whether he put up 50 points or 80 points in any given season.  We'll get lots of "Be patient, the guys are tryin', we'll turn the corner eventually!"  Basically, since winning isn't an urgency, everyone gets a long leash...maybe too long.

Doesn't mean that winning absolutely CAN'T ever happen here...just that I don't think you'll ever see this ownership say "OK, that's enough of this sh!t, there's some big proven names (coaching, GM) out there, we're going to go all-out to bring them in here, and get ourselves on a path to winning!"  I think there will be lots of passive trust in guys who haven't earned it (like nASS), and this odd complacent happiness in keeping a young core together that sadly has yet to show a whole lot.

And on that last point, to be clear, I like Nico, Jack, etc., and REALLY hope that they can be the answer.  And that Fitz will have backed up the talk with some legit walk.  Because it's sure not like this ownership isn't going to give them plenty of time to figure it out, results be damned.    

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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@Colorado Rockies 1976 not gonna quote reply.

Fitz can be great at building a roster but also be dogsh!t at building a staff. All GMs have their flaws that really hamstring them. Lou with loving old vets, BriseBois and winning back to back cups and needing to pay role players, Chirelli and making smart trades, etc. Clout around the league doesn’t absolve their personal blind spot cause they think they can play 3D chess.

Fitz right now has two major offenses in my book:

Strike one - Retaining ANYONE from the Hynes staff. That failure is costing development of the defense and consistently has proven an easily exploitable approach with zero adjustments.

Strike two - Watching the PP flounder again with absolute atrocious approaches. That stupid drop pass breakout is one of the most pathetic, high school level attacks I’ve seen and it’s so stupid they think trying over and over again will suddenly produce results. The fact we blew last season on the PP, regardless of COVID circumstances, and continue to do so this season blows my mind.

Fitz is damn close to strike three with me with his blindfaith support to the staff. Like you said it could be one of his last cards by calling out the players, but we’ve seen more players outlast coaches in an organization. 

Yippie, you built a nice roster, too bad you have idiots guiding them, Fitz. And the fact you don’t recognize it, is a condemnation of your ability to effectively GM.

GMs, just like prospects, can be highly touted but not meet expectations. Fitz is no exception.

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10 minutes ago, jagknife said:

@Colorado Rockies 1976 not gonna quote reply.

Fitz can be great at building a roster but also be dogsh!t at building a staff. All GMs have their flaws that really hamstring them. Lou with loving old vets, BriseBois and winning back to back cups and needing to pay role players, Chirelli and making smart trades, etc. Clout around the league doesn’t absolve their personal blind spot cause they think they can play 3D chess.

Fitz right now has two major offenses in my book:

Strike one - Retaining ANYONE from the Hynes staff. That failure is costing development of the defense and consistently has proven an easily exploitable approach with zero adjustments.

Strike two - Watching the PP flounder again with absolute atrocious approaches. That stupid drop pass breakout is one of the most pathetic, high school level attacks I’ve seen and it’s so stupid they think trying over and over again will suddenly produce results. The fact we blew last season on the PP, regardless of COVID circumstances, and continue to do so this season blows my mind.

Fitz is damn close to strike three with me with his blindfaith support to the staff. Like you said it could be one of his last cards by calling out the players, but we’ve seen more players outlast coaches in an organization. 

Yippie, you built a nice roster, too bad you have idiots guiding them, Fitz. And the fact you don’t recognize it, is a condemnation of your ability to effectively GM.

GMs, just like prospects, can be highly touted but not meet expectations. Fitz is no exception.

Fitz hasn't been on the job long enough to fully ascertain if he can find the right guys to coach his team, but suffice it to say that he's not off to a great start.  You know how I feel about nASS still being here...that is a serious fvcking problem, and I can't even attempt to defend it. 

With you in that I hate hate HATE that stupid fvcking drop pass.  All that does it give the PK time to stack the blue line, or otherwise prepare for the Devils heading up ice.  I'm not a fan of Recchi in the slightest and I really don't want him here anymore, but like I said, if Fitz wants to give him just a little more time based on Recchi not having been here that long...argh, all I gotta say is that Recchi's power plays better show something really fvcking soon...as in a markedly different approach.

I think Fitz can recover IF he nails his next coaching hires.  And if things don't get better soon (say by end of Jan), recognizes that he can only back that staff for so long.  Like I said, I do think he's backing the wrong horses here...but I'll give him a chance to at least realize it.  If he sticks with this staff completely intact all the way through the end of the season, yeah, I'm absolutely going to wonder if he's all that great of a GM.    

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20 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

 

I think Fitz can recover IF he nails his next coaching hires.  And if things don't get better soon (say by end of Jan), recognizes that he can only back that staff for so long.  Like I said, I do think he's backing the wrong horses here...but I'll give him a chance to at least realize it.  If he sticks with this staff completely intact all the way through the end of the season, yeah, I'm absolutely going to wonder if he's all that great of a GM.    

Agreed whole heartedly, but I think the leash with the Three Stooges has to be significantly smaller than end of January. If we haven’t started showing progress by MLK weekend, and Fitz insists is the players, I think he can safely be tagged as also a major part of the problem.

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8 minutes ago, jagknife said:

Agreed whole heartedly, but I think the leash with the Three Stooges has to be significantly smaller than end of January. If we haven’t started showing progress by MLK weekend, and Fitz insists is the players, I think he can safely be tagged as also a major part of the problem.

I would show that staff the door right now, but given the (seemingly bottomless) well of patience the organization has, I'm more trying to be realistic about what a "fast-track" timeline means, in Devils terms.  Fitz called out the players, so let's see if there's any merit to it (I absolutely think it's a coaching problem myself, but we'll see).

If there IS an in-season coaching change and it does pay off relatively quickly...suffice it to say, that's going to have ALL of us screaming "Well what the fvck were you waiting for Fitz?  Couldn't have pulled the trigger on that one before the season went completely to sh!t yet again?"       

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2 hours ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

It's funny, on one hand, I do get trying to challenge the players (sometimes it's simply a necessary evil)...but on the other, I think Fitz is absolutely backing the wrong horses here.  I don't think he's an idiot (he's too highly thought of around the league...he was going to get a GM gig soon, if it hadn't happened here), but if his "It's On The Players" challenge doesn't pay off, he has to be willing to circle back to the coaching staff, and make changes.  I'll definitely give you that other GMs would've tried to do SOMETHING by now...I obviously don't believe one bit in either Recchi or nASS, and even if Fitz wants to give Recchi just a little more wiggle room due to not having much time here, well, OK...don't like it, but OK.  But for the life of me I have NO idea how Fitz can think that nASS is somehow ever going to become part of the solution here.  If I find any particular thing frustrating as can be, it's that nASS continues to have a place here, with zero in the results department to back it up...if a guy like Larry Robinson or a few select others were available, I think you'd see a considerable difference in how the D-Corp would be playing...not that they'd be cast-iron right off the bat, but you would at least see noticeable improvement (and less glaring mistakes, blown coverages, etc).  Sadly, I just realized the sad irony here...nASS seems to get Robinson treatment here, when he couldn't be MORE of an anti-Robinson...it makes no fvcking sense at all.

And with Blitzer just having bought a sizable chunk of the Cleveland Guardians, I'm starting to believe that DM84 might be right about this ownership group.  I don't think that they'll actively ever try to get in the way of winning...not that any owner really does, but I don't think that they're so incompetent that they'll unintentionally sabotage (via unwelcome meddling) any good work that the front office is doing, and I also don't think that they'll force any kind of internal cap on their GMs...but I don't think winning anything is truly their top priority.  Some owners really hate the idea of their teams losing, and will go all-out in doing what they can to get their teams over the hump...they don't accept losing, even if their franchises are still otherwise profitable.  To be fair, some "I wanna win NOW dammit!" owners do plenty of damage (via Jeffy Wilpon-type-meddling, etc), so I don't want to make it sound like those owners by sheer virtue of WANTING to win are somehow automatics.  But I think Blitzer & Co don't really care that much about winning, as much as they care about profits and ROI.  In some ways they're probably great to work for, in that they're not that concerned with the standings part of the equation.  Jack will get pats on the back from them whether he put up 50 points or 80 points in any given season.  We'll get lots of "Be patient, the guys are tryin', we'll turn the corner eventually!"  Basically, since winning isn't an urgency, everyone gets a long leash...maybe too long.

Doesn't mean that winning absolutely CAN'T ever happen here...just that I don't think you'll ever see this ownership say "OK, that's enough of this sh!t, there's some big proven names (coaching, GM) out there, we're going to go all-out to bring them in here, and get ourselves on a path to winning!"  I think there will be lots of passive trust in guys who haven't earned it (like nASS), and this odd complacent happiness in keeping a young core together that sadly has yet to show a whole lot.

And on that last point, to be clear, I like Nico, Jack, etc., and REALLY hope that they can be the answer.  And that Fitz will have backed up the talk with some legit walk.  Because it's sure not like this ownership isn't going to give them plenty of time to figure it out, results be damned.    

Glad you are coming around.

I used to defend these guys for years.  However, since around 2019, I have grown more and more sour with this group after seeing more and more evidence to show they care more about the bottom line than winning.

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25 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

I would show that staff the door right now, but given the (seemingly bottomless) well of patience the organization has, I'm more trying to be realistic about what a "fast-track" timeline means, in Devils terms.  Fitz called out the players, so let's see if there's any merit to it (I absolutely think it's a coaching problem myself, but we'll see).

If there IS an in-season coaching change and it does pay off relatively quickly...suffice it to say, that's going to have ALL of us screaming "Well what the fvck were you waiting for Fitz?  Couldn't have pulled the trigger on that one before the season went completely to sh!t yet again?"       

Right now this current situation has very familiar feelings of when Fitz was sent down to be at practices and behind the bench for those 5-10 games a couple seasons back when Hynes was on his way out.  IIRC, the line we got from Shero was that Fitz was there to see if the problem was on the coaches or players and I believe the verdict from Fitz was that it was on the players.  Approx 4-6 weeks later Hynes was shown the door.

Frankly, when there is even doubt that something like this is happening, the coaches should be shown the door sooner rather than later.  Shero's downfall was giving Hynes those several weeks to the point where the season was completely unsalvageable.  Now, Fitz is giving Ruff and his assistants the benefit of a doubt where the team is in a death spiral for the season and even after posting yet another historically bad PP.  If Fitz is just another facsimile of Shero then I want him gone sooner rather than later too.

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1 hour ago, DevsMan84 said:

Glad you are coming around.

I used to defend these guys for years.  However, since around 2019, I have grown more and more sour with this group after seeing more and more evidence to show they care more about the bottom line than winning.

I don't WANT to constantly wax negative about this ownership group, but this way this season has unfolded isn't reflecting well on anyone within the organization...and that spot with Blitzer (during the intermission, forget which game it was) still rubs me the wrong way.

Here's the positives, re:  ownership:

1) I don't think that they have any delusions about trying to be "hockey men" (Jeffy Wilpon really did believe that he was a baseball man, to the constant chagrin of everyone forced to suffer his input).  I think they'll let their hires to their jobs without interfering and/or meddling.  

2) I think they don't have much issue writing checks for players...they'll let their GM try to reel in a big fish via UFA (Hamilton) or allow him to pony up long-term for in-house talent (Hischier and Hughes, and I get the feeling Bratt will get a nice long-term raise).

The big question is are they spread so thin (even thinner now, with the Guardians acquisition) that they're almost TOO damned patient?  Are they more into acquiring teams than they are seeing them have actual friggin' success once they have them?  Do they care enough about winning to pay up for a legit coach and/or GM, should he become available?  Right now it's starting to feel like they're content with the Devils being "likable losers", who will eventually win at their leisure, no rush...yeah, Nico and Jack and Dougie and others seem like swell guys and it's great that the players genuinely seem to be pals, but at some point, those of us who've been EXTREMELY patient AND been willing to sit through a needed rebuild need to see a hell of a lot more than that.  It's like I said, there seems to be this non-existent urgency from top to bottom that shows no signs of subsiding.

And though I'm not quite ready to give up on Fitz yet, maybe it's time for something other than 2.0s and Part Deuxs.  The GM and one of the assistants have direct ties to the last regime.  Maybe the time is coming sooner than later for a clean slate.

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7 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

I don't WANT to constantly wax negative about this ownership group, but this way this season has unfolded isn't reflecting well on anyone within the organization...and that spot with Blitzer (during the intermission, forget which game it was) still rubs me the wrong way.

Here's the positives, re:  ownership:

1) I don't think that they have any delusions about trying to be "hockey men" (Jeffy Wilpon really did believe that he was a baseball man, to the constant chagrin of everyone forced to suffer his input).  I think they'll let their hires to their jobs without interfering and/or meddling.  

2) I think they don't have much issue writing checks for players...they'll let their GM try to reel in a big fish via UFA (Hamilton) or allow him to pony up long-term for in-house talent (Hischier and Hughes, and I get the feeling Bratt will get a nice long-term raise).

The big question is are they spread so thin (even thinner now, with the Guardians acquisition) that they're almost TOO damned patient?  Are they more into acquiring teams than they are seeing them have actual friggin' success once they have them?  Do they care enough about winning to pay up for a legit coach and/or GM, should he become available?  Right now it's starting to feel like they're content with the Devils being "likable losers", who will eventually win at their leisure, no rush...yeah, Nico and Jack and Dougie and others seem like swell guys and it's great that the players genuinely seem to be pals, but at some point, those of us who've been EXTREMELY patient AND been willing to sit through a needed rebuild need to see a hell of a lot more than that.  It's like I said, there seems to be this non-existent urgency from top to bottom that shows no signs of subsiding.

And though I'm not quite ready to give up on Fitz yet, maybe it's time for something other than 2.0s and Part Deuxs.  The GM and one of the assistants have direct ties to the last regime.  Maybe the time is coming sooner than later for a clean slate.

It's one thing to write big checks for big names who will draw fans, it's quite another to write checks towards a team that will be successful.

They don't seem to mind shelling out money on items that will make money, but they do seem to balk at things where the ROI will likely be lower.  How else can you explain things like spending millions on a gigantic scoreboard that will get them free press coverage while not fixing a decade-old roof leak or bathrooms that are in disrepair?  How else can you explain spending $ on name players but cheaping out on coaches and sticking with guys who really shouldn't be here (and keep in mind coaches don't count towards the cap)?

These guys are all about the bottom line.  Devils have been historically a hard draw even during the good times.  Why should they shell out lots of $ to attract fans only to see little return on that?  I know the NHL is very gate-driven in terms of revenue, but it likely costs significantly more to get an extra 1K bodies into the arena than teams such as the Rangers or Maple Leafs.

Finally, let's not forget that these guys bought a package deal with the Devils.  They got the arena, which is one of the top 5 busiest arenas in the country, along with the team for a relatively cheap price.  I am convinced their intention (or target) was the arena first with the Devils being a bonus where they can fill 41-45 dates a year.

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17 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

Wow... looking at the picture you may be right.  My first reaction after reading your post before looking back at the image was "No fvcking way".  

How/why would he get an A?

I had to do a double take to make sure it wasn’t a Bing Devils jersey. 

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New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) / Twitter

Re:  McLeod saying that they're learning to make better reads, Ruff talking about challenging his players...is anyone going to be all that surprised if the Devils look just as shaky as they have during this latest cliff fall?  I just don't believe in this coaching staff anymore...that they'll ever come up with any answers.  

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976
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12 minutes ago, Colorado Rockies 1976 said:

New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) / Twitter

Re:  McLeod saying that they're learning to make better reads, Ruff taking about challenging his players...is anyone going to be all that surprised if the Devils look just as shaky as they have during this latest cliff fall?  I just don't believe in this coaching staff anymore...that they'll ever come up with any answers.  

Well they will have answers “we’re adjusting to our new style of play. It’s a growing process. These guys will get better as we continue to play more games. Oh… the season’s over? Well they’ll have all summer and camp to learn the system. We will come together as a team. It’s all about the guys in the room.”

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1 hour ago, jagknife said:

Well they will have answers “we’re adjusting to our new style of play. It’s a growing process. These guys will get better as we continue to play more games. Oh… the season’s over? Well they’ll have all summer and camp to learn the system. We will come together as a team. It’s all about the guys in the room.”

It's funny, right now the Devils remind me of that 13-year-old that just brought home that completely unacceptable report card...when you're the parent of that kid, you want answers, as you're asking that kid "What are you going to do about this?  How are you going to make sure this never happens again?  You're BETTER than this...this is not OK!" 

The kid comes back with "Well...uh...I'm gonna do better.  I will."

"OK...how?  HOW are you going to do better?"  (Teen slightly and most uncomfortably shrugs a shoulder, in a "I have no idea, I just am" kind of way).

The Devils' equivalent seems to be this "It's a process...trust the process...be patient..." mantra, and nope, we're not taking questions on this...we've got this.  Of course, the problem is that no one involved has earned our trust.  And I have no idea what the process actually is, or when the hell it's supposed to show any legit progress.  All I see is a team with SOME talent getting curbstomped too many nights and often looking like the worst team in the NHL.  When does someone...ANYONE...start to get pissed about that?  Other than us?   

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