It’s time for the New Jersey Devils to cut ties with Lindy Ruff

Lindy Ruff (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lindy Ruff (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

If the three wins in the month of December weren’t enough to prompt the dismissal of head coach Lindy Ruff, Wednesday night’s loss against the nine-win Arizona Coyotes should be the final nail in the coffin. In a game where, through two periods, the New Jersey Devils were outshooting last-place Coyotes 27-8, they were down 3-1 and lost 4-1. Among the small showing of fans, the Jersey boo-birds were out and chirping.

As the Devils continue to snowball toward the end of Lindy Ruff’s departure, general manager Tom Fitzgerald could not be moving any slower to press the “fire Lindy Ruff button.” It’s time for the to Devils cut ties with their veteran coach, his message doesn’t carry among the players, his system is failing, and the constant losing may begin to stunt the progression of their young players.

Broken System

Like each of the past few seasons, this season, the Devils rank among the league’s worst in giving up chances to opponents, goaltending, and putting pucks in the back of the net. For the second straight year, the Devils rank bottom three in the league in save percentage, hovering around the .890 mark.

Who knows what the Devils would look like if Mackenzie Blackwood could make a save, but the defensive structure isn’t helping out. This defensive system is flawed, contributing to the awful save percentage. According to, this season, the Devils have allowed the most goals on high danger shots and the 7th most shots from high danger areas.

This means the Devils are allowing too many chances inside the slot and right in front of the net. Not to mention, they have surrendered the fourth-most goals through 60 minutes and 8th most XGoals. Ruff’s system is getting fried on a game-to-game basis, and to combine that with the goaltending, it’s been a recipe for disaster.

Lost the locker room?

Breaking news: I’m not in the locker room, so I cannot 100% confirm that Lindy Ruff has lost the locker room. However, turn on any game in December, and it speaks for itself. Before Christmas, the Devils were outscored 42-23, with only three of the ten losses being one-goal games.

Post-Christmas, the Devils went on a three-game win streak, and two of those wins didn’t have Ruff behind the bench. Wins against what was then a good Oilers team and another against the Devils co-owner in the Capitals, they seemed to be buzzing when Alain Nasreddine was at the helm.

Since Ruff’s return, the Devils are back down in the dumps, rocking a 1-3 record against four very beatable opponents. The team currently looks nowhere near as lethargic as they did in December, but while the effort is there, the results are not. Following an embarrassing loss to the Coyotes, the Devils once again find themselves at rock bottom, a common phenomenon during Ruff’s tenure.

The NHL’s doormat

Since 2010, the New Jersey Devils have had the fourth-most losses in the NHL, just behind the Coyotes, Oilers, and Sabres. Over the last two seasons, only the Sabres have lost more games than Lindy Ruff’s New Jersey Devils. Being a doormat to the NHL has become the new norm for this franchise, and it’s only gotten worse with Ruff.

Other than the losing making it unbearable for fans to watch, it may severely hinder the development of all their young players. The Devils can continue losing and praying for ping pong balls to bounce their way but ask Edmonton or Buffalo how that is going for them. Young players surrounded by losing not only become used to it but become consumed by it.

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Learning how to win in the NHL is much more complicated than it sounds, and these young Devils haven’t been exposed to it. Additionally, they’re not able to take that next step in their game if they’re getting dominated by their opponents every night, just ask Rasmus Dahlin. The Devils have nowhere to go but up, but in order to float back to the surface, they need to release themselves from the anchor that is Lindy Ruff before their players drown.