Fire&Ice- Devils head coach John Hynes was named today as one of five assistants on the Team USA staff for the 2016 World Cup.
Also named to head coach John Tortorella's staff were Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan (Tortorella's longtime right-hand man), Nashville Predators assistant (and former Devil) Phil Housley and Lehigh Valley (AHL) head coach Scott Gordon.
Hynes, a Warwick, R.I. native, is the NHL's youngest head coach at age 40, but has a lengthy resume working with USA Hockey. He spent six seasons as a head coach at USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program. He also led the U.S. to three medals at the IIHF men’s World Under-18 Championship (gold—2006, silver—2004, bronze—2008), and was an assistant coach for the first U.S. team to win a gold medal in the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Alright, I'll admit that when I first saw that John Hynes was selected to be an assistant coach for Team USA I thought it was a much bigger achievement. I didn't realize that Team USA actually has five assistant coaches, and considering there's only like seven American hockey minds that are worth a damn, it would have been much more of a surprise if he was left out. That being said, it is still an honor and it's an honor that - much like everything else Hynes has accomplished this year - will likely go overlooked.
The New Jersey Devils, to this point in the season, have overachieved in ever sense of the word. The credit for their relative success can be attributed to a lot of people. Ray Shero for bringing in the right players. Those players for greatly surpassing expectations. Cory Schneider for covering up their deficiencies by turning in yet another spectacular season. However, the one man that I don't think has received nearly enough praise for how well the Devils have played is their first year head coach. He's the guy that was given limited resources and somehow cultivated them into a competitive team. He's the guy that adjusted the entire attitude of the locker room. He's not only the guy that has put these players in a position to win, but he's the guy that has convinced them that they can win. Calling what the Devils underwent a culture change would be like calling El Niño a temperature shift, but John Hynes has made that transition seem smoother than anyone could have possibly imagined. The effect he has had on this organization can't possibly be overstated, and I am glad that it has resulted in an opportunity for him to coach on a grander stage. I didn't know much about John Hynes before this season started, but he's become one of the biggest reasons that I couldn't possibly have more faith in the direction this team is headed in. Him being selected to help represent his country speaks to that belief being well founded.