Breaking: New Jersey Devils Fire Lindy Ruff

The New Jersey Devils announced Lindy Ruff would be relieved of his duties on Monday evening. Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green would take over in the interim.
Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils
Dallas Stars v New Jersey Devils / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils came into the 2023-24 season with a boatload of expectations. After putting together one of the league's best records in 2022-23, the Devils fell incredibly far below expectations. They currently sit seven points out of third place in the Metropolitan Division behind the Philadelphia Flyers, their closest race to make the playoffs. They are eight points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings for Wild Card spots.

Obviously, someone was going to pay for this lack of success. The most likely option was Lindy Ruff, the Devils now-former head coach. The Devils announced Ruff's firing on Monday evening, posting the news after 5 pm.

"“I hold our entire organization to the highest levels of accountability to focus on being a competitive team that expects to be a perennial playoff contender. Unfortunately, we are not currently at that level, and I needed to make this decision."


Tom Fitzgerald, New Jersey Devils GM

Ruff was surprisingly hired in 2020 after a somewhat disappointing run with the New York Rangers as their assistant coach. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres, where he took the latter to the Stanley Cup Final in 1999.

Ruff has been a part of the league since 1979, when he joined the Buffalo Sabres as a rookie left-handed defenseman. Ironically, it was the fall of the defensemen and goaltenders that became his downfall. The Devils have given up 213 goals this season in 61 games. Last season, the Devils gave up 222 goals over 82 games.

This was the right decision, even if it came too late. The Devils were hapless on a Western Conference road trip where they should have played with a certain desperation that usually leads to scoring. Instead, they fell to the terrible Anaheim Ducks in a matchup that looked one sided in the wrong position. Then, against the Los Angeles Kings, the Devils flat out didn't show up.

Now, former Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green takes over for the rest of the season. The Devils are looking to salvage what's left of this year. They have 21 games left and a mostly healthy roster. Can Green, who was only able to take the Canucks to the playoffs in a COVID-shortened 2020, bring the best out of the Devils today? If he does, he might be up for the big job. However, it's an incredibly big ask.