Someone Get Lou Lamoriello A Xanax, Because The New Jersey Devils Are Taking Part In A 'Hard Knocks' Style Docuseries For NHL Network
First, a mild concern. Documentaries require cameras, camera crews can be a distraction, and a young team that made no significant upgrades after making the playoffs by all of one single point last season can't afford distractions. I hardly think what was a hungry team has been made complacent by a postseason appearance, especially considering the fact that said postseason appearance was of the humbling variety. Still, John Hynes' responsibility to keep his team focused towards taking the next step in becoming a true contender is undoubtedly made at least a little more difficult by contending for their attention with those eventually relaying their inner-workings to a television audience.
Luckily, what some (myself not included) may perceive John Hynes to lack in personnel expertise, he more than makes up for in motivational tactics and leadership qualities. If there's one thing that was undeniably true about the New Jersey Devils last year it's that they may as well have worn a patch bearing Taylor Hall's likeness, as the logo on the front of their jersey was basically synonymous with the name on #9's back. However, if there was a second thing that was undeniably true about the New Jersey Devils last year, it's that they bought completely in to the coaching staff's vision and message.
For that reason, I have actively suppressed that initial concern in prioritizing the excitement born of the opportunity to get a second-hand look into something that was once as rarely seen at the Prudential Center as a regular season beard. That, of course, being an exciting and fun Devils' team that is likable both on and off the ice. As a fan, I've personally found the outdated 'boring' label to be as unintelligible as it was lazy, but the the truth of the matter is that giving the team we saw last year any amount of the airtime they've been denied by the NHL and NBC Sports will entirely disarm those that still repeat it ad nauseam.
In both play and personality, the Devils are as intriguing as a group as they have ever been. That has a lot to do them presumably confiscating personalities at the door until Ray Shero showed up, but it's also has to do with his long overdue commitment to patience providing them captivating young talent like that of Nico Hischier, Will Butcher, Jesper Bratt, and Miles Wood to satisfy the Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri types that can suddenly see a fruitful future in New Jersey.
This idea doesn't get signed off on unless the front office and the coaching staff believed in the cohesiveness of a young group that's entirely capable of dispelling a stereotype that dates back to last century. Therefore, I can't wait to flip to NHL Network and watch them do just that in preparation of building on the enthusiasm they inspired last season. I think the reward outweighs the risk, even if both make Lou Lamoniello's stone-face sour, as what was once his fortress gets glorified as an inviting and entertaining workplace with the ability to attract professional athletes.