WDHA Morning Jolt

New Jersey Devils

The Devils Hit the Panic Button Too Soon

The New Jersey Devils firing of head coach Lindy Ruff earlier this week wasn't a surprise, but the team may have hit the panic button too soon. https://youtu.be/cMgdzfvqwj8   Last season Just a year ago, the Devils surprised many fans when they made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We knew they had good young talent, but they had exceeded expectations. Ruff was considered to be a big part of why the team had arrived a year earlier than expected. This season Cut to the 2023-24 season, and as the team fell further out of playoff contention, fans were calling for Ruff to be fired. They got their wish this week when Ruff was dismissed and replaced with interim coach Travis Green. There's a cliche in sports - you can't fire the players. And while that's true, sometimes firing the coach isn't necessarily the answer. It's a panic-button move. Let's look at some of what has plagued the Devils this season. Injuries It's not a good sign when teams use the Injury Excuse, because every team has injury issues. However, for the Devils, it has certainly been a factor. Dougie Hamilton has been out since November and the likelihood is that he will not play at all in 2024. Jack Hughes, injured in January, missed more than a month and still isn't 100%. Goalie Vitek Vanecek has been out for a month with a lower-body injury he sustained on February 10. Captain Nico Hischier missed a good portion of November with an injury, too. Problems in goal The loss of Vanecek highlighted a problem within the organization - the lack of depth at the goalie position. The team has had to rely on a rotation of Nico Daws and Akira Schmid, with mixed results. Playing from behind The Devils have allowed the first goal in 46 of their 62 games going into Thursday night's game against the Blues. When you're constantly playing from behind, that puts a lot of pressure on a team, especially one as young as New Jersey. MORE EPISODES OF WDHA'S TWO-MINUTE DRILL WITH JIM MONAGHAN AND CHRIS SWENDEMAN [select-listicle listicle_id="769757" syndication_name="march-madness-2024-power-rankings-these-teams-should-top-your-bracket" description="yes"]