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New Jersey Devils Fire Head Coach Lindy Ruff

James Murphy
by in NHL on
  • The New Jersey Devils have fired head coach Lindy Ruff.
  • Assistant Travis Green will take over as interim head coach.
  • New Jersey is in the midst of a disappointing season, eight points behind Tampa Bay and Detroit for a wild card spot.

On Monday, the New Jersey Devils announced the termination of Lindy Ruff’s tenure as head coach, with Travis Green stepping in as his successor. Green, previously an associate coach for the team, is set to make his debut in the role when the Devils play host to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. This significant change comes as the Devils, with a record of 30-27-4, find themselves trailing eight points behind both the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning for a wild card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. At home, the Devils have struggled, posting a .484 points percentage and ranking 26th in the league.

Ruff, addressing his responsibility for the team’s performance, remarked, “I take full responsibility. You want to win, and we’ve dealt with a lot. Players want to win. I’m responsible for the wins and losses, who gets on the ice and who doesn’t get on the ice. I said this before, we got a passionate fan base. They want to see wins, and if you look at our home record, that part hurts. So, I feel fully responsible.”

Having served as head coach for four seasons, Ruff’s record with the Devils stood at 128-125-28 after being appointed on July 9, 2020. Despite signing a multiyear contract extension before the season began, the 64-year-old’s tenure comes to an end amidst heightened expectations following the Devils’ playoff run last season—their first since 2018 and their most successful since 2012.

Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald expressed the difficult nature of this decision, stating, “I hold our entire organization to the highest levels of accountability to focus on being a competitive team that expects to be a perennial playoff contender. Unfortunately, we are not currently at that level, and I needed to make this decision. This was an extremely difficult conversation to have with Lindy based on the relationship that he and I have. He was the right coach to develop our young players on the ice, and above all else, he is a tremendous person.”

The Devils have faced challenges in defense and goaltending, contributing to their position in the lower ranks for goals against per game and penalty kill effectiveness. The team’s goalies have struggled with injuries and performance, leading to less-than-ideal statistics in these crucial areas.

Travis Green, brought on board to enhance the forward line and power play, takes the helm with previous head coaching experience from his time with the Vancouver Canucks, where he led a push to the Western Conference Second Round in 2020. His appointment marks a new chapter for the Devils, who aim to overcome their recent struggles and return to playoff contention.

Over recent seasons, the Devils have made several high-profile draft picks and acquisitions, including signing Timo Meier and Jesper Bratt to long-term contracts, and bringing in Tyler Toffoli and Colin Miller. These moves, alongside the core group of forwards and defensemen under long-term contracts, underscore the team’s ambition to build a competitive and sustainable squad.

Ruff’s departure marks the seventh NHL coaching change this season, highlighting the league’s competitive environment and the high expectations placed on team performance.

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