Over the past few weeks, every national analyst has been talking about the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, most seemed to add the caveat that the fanbase chanted “Fire Lindy” at head coach Lindy Ruff in the season’s second game. It was a rough start with two straight 5-2 losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings.
Since then, the Devils have lost one of their last 13 games. They are in the middle of a nine-game winning streak, and they are four points up on the New York Islanders for first in the Metropolitan Division. Many expected the Devils to have a better season, but this is beyond our lofty expectations.
So, to make up for what the fans did on opening night at the Prudential Center (and the mostly shut up national analysts), the Devils fans did something that we can’t find evidence of ever happening in sports.
The Devils fans chanted sorry to the head coach they once called to lose his job. Devils fans sent a message during the home opener, but the answers came from the team, not from the ownership group or Tom Fitzgerald. The Devils are still clearly playing in Lindy Ruff’s system. It’s slightly different than previous iterations, but the ideals seem to be the same.
After the game, Ruff said he heard the chants and had a fun response.
"“I accept the apology, and maybe one day we can all sit down and have a beer and laugh about it.”"
This writer tried to find ANY evidence of a similar chant in sports. We found plenty of evidence of teams or universities apologizing for offensive chants from the crowd. There is no evidence of a fanbase apologizing to a coach (or player, for that manner) in such unison.
There is so much about this season that is special. However, the fans’ immediate response to a good team has been the best part of this year. The Rock is packed every night the Devils play, the fans are LOUD, and the Devils are winning. We all expected this response when the Devils finally had a good team on the ice. And yes Lindy, we’d love to get that beer with you.