A Fanbase Has Undoubtedly Been Divided, As The Devils Did The Right Thing By Signing John Hynes To An Extension
Before I ramble on about how reassuring it is to see Ray Shero imply accountability for an unready roster by turning a blind eye to the over-reactionary haters (of which there are many) and re-committing to a young, first-time NHL head coach that has grown in leaps and bounds since taking the job while...::pauses for breath::...commanding the respect of both his players and the entire hockey community, I do have to question the timing of this announcement.
If not for some puck luck and Mackenzie Blackwood standing on his head, the Devils easily could have lost by double-digits last night. Like, think of the book-based movie that did the worst possible job capturing the essence of its muse and then watch that instead of a scoreboard that flat out lied about the game script of a 5-4 loss. Somehow, registering just two shots through the halfway point of the game doesn't even come close to telling the whole story, as the most offensive aspect of the Devils' performance was their laughable lack of defense.
Of course, one god-awful game, especially one that comes on the heels of an uplifting winning streak, dictates not the hands in which you plan to place the fate of your franchise. However, as it was bound to be a polarizing decision regardless, I probably would have slapped it onto the ass end of a victory. I truly believe that John Hynes is the best man for the job and that the Devils would have lived to regret firing him just to turn down the heat under everyone else's seat during a humbling season. Still, last night was only evidence of his positive influence in the way that ashes are evidence of a loving home after it's been burned to the ground.
That said, regardless of the timing, this is good news. Some won't see it that way, as coaches are the most typical of target during times of tension, but John Hynes didn't go from master motivator of a young, upstart team successfully making an unexpected playoff push to an unqualified idiot in six months time. The Devils, as an organization, are doing their best to recover from somewhat expected growing pains, and canning a guy for failing to live up to unreasonable expectations that he helped to create in the first place would be to cut off their nose to spite their face while being more shortsighted than the length of two nostrils.
For what the Devils aren't, which is currently a complete team that's capable of contending, they are a cohesive group that appears to be on the same page. Time will tell whether that page eventually gets turned to a more promising chapter, but - even in a ruthless, results-oriented business - John Hynes has earned the right to be the one left licking his thumb. To think otherwise would be to not think at all, because the look we got Behind The Glass was almost an undeniable glimpse at a fair but firm leader who has earned some semblance of job security while developing a following more favorable to success.