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New Jersey Devils fire head coach Lindy Ruff 

After a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings and a disappointing 31-29-4 season, the New Jersey Devils relieved head coach Lindy Ruff. The organization promoted assistant coach Travis Greene as the interim replacement for the rest of the season.

Ruff has been an NHL head coach for 24 seasons, spending the first 15 with the Buffalo Sabres, and four years each with the Dallas Stars and the Devils. He has 864 victories in his career, ranking fourth of all time.

Last season, Ruff led the Devils into the playoffs where they impressively defeated the rival New York Rangers, before losing in the second round to Carolina Hurricanes. The club finished the season with the most wins (52) and points (112) in its history.

Because of an eventful season, a lot of young and promising talent under long contracts and new experienced players added to the roster in the beginning of the 23-24 season, the Devils were among the most talked-about clubs.

Unfortunately, the team hasn’t even come close to matching the success from the previous season. The Devils struggled with goaltending and defense while dealing with injuries of multiple key players such as Dougie Hamilton, Jack Hughes, Timo Meier and more.

As a result, the Devils currently rank sixth in the Metropolitan Division, and with only 18 games left in the regular season, they are six points behind the wild card spot in the playoffs.

Despite having signed a multiyear extension contract in the beginning of the season, Ruff’s inability to adequately lead the Devils through the season made him the seventh head coach to be fired this season.

“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,” the club’s general manager Tom Fitzgerald said.

Greene, who was in his first season as an assistant coach, had experience coaching on both the AHL and the NHL levels. He was the head coach for the Vancouver Canucks for parts of five seasons, leading the team to the second round of playoffs in 2020.

“Travis is a high-demanding individual who is familiar with the group and excited about working to get us back on track,” Fitzgerald added.

As the head coach, Greene has already introduced changes to the lineup and new drills during practice. During his first official practice as head coach, Greene focused on conditioning, more accurate passing and on-ice communication.

“It’s going to be important that we teach them how to be better players and how to win in the NHL. We’re not just here to make the playoffs and be good. We’re here to win championships,” Greene said.

Even though the team’s players exhibit exceptional skills individually, the Devils remain inconsistent in their games as a team, failing to utilize key players and struggling with goaltending. While the coaching swap was essential, it remains unclear whether the decision will make a drastic difference to the team at this point in the season.

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Alina Sluzhyvenkova
Alina Sluzhyvenkova, Opinions Editor
Alina Sluzhyvenkova is the Opinions Editor for The Ticker.
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