How Are New Jersey Devils Fans Reacting To Hiring Of Sheldon Keefe?

The New Jersey Devils gained a loud reaction when they hired former Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe. What was the reaction from fans on both sides?
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils finally found their new head coach in Sheldon Keefe. Keefe, recently fired in Toronto after their Round 1 loss to the Boston Bruins, was announced as the new Devils coach this week.

Most of the other contributors at Pucks and Pitchforks love Tom Fitzgerald's decision to hire Keefe. But how about the fanbase itself? Do they love the move just as much as we do? Also, what do other fans think about this move?

Many fans had some eye-catching reactions to the move. The below person makes an excellent point about Keefe being an offensive coach who also doesn’t lose focus on a defensive end. He also had multiple playoff seasons in Toronto, while NJ has only had them once in Lindy Ruff's tenure. This balanced reaction intrigues me about what Keefe can do in his time here.

Next, you have these two reactions, which bring up an excellent point. If Toronto fired him to inherit a scapegoat, he would be looking to try and have better success here in NJ to try and win a cup here. Plus, he is a proven head coach with a good winning percentage.

This user makes a good point by saying he can use analytics to help him make better decisions for the future. Also, mentioning the Luke Hughes/Simon Nemec pairing that can work, yet the past coaching regime felt that it didn’t work with their pairings makes it more optimistic to see what pairings Keefe can develop.

This fan also makes a good point about Tom Fitzgerald. If he hired someone who was a buddy of his or someone like Todd McLellan or Gerard Gallant, we’d be asking for him to be fired on opening night. Making a point of getting to the playoffs to prove that it’s either the failures of him or the Leafs is a nice touch.

We didn't just ask Devils fan their thoughts. We wanted to know what Maple Leafs fans were thinking of the hire. Leafs fans have dealt with Keefe’s tenure in Toronto and know what Devils fans should expect.

First of all, Matthew Spagnulo (@matthewspanyolo) told us through a direct message, “When you think about Keefe as a head coach, he does the basics of any other coach in the NHL, but he knows how to get guys to want to play for him. Travis Dermott said it best when asked for his thoughts on Keefe when he played under him in the Marlies and the NHL. He definitely has his favorites and expects his best players to be the ones to take games for the club. (The) issues arise when trying to really command the room. Good regular season coach, but definitely needs to be able to take the reigns of accountability.”

Sheldon Keefe brought a few interesting reactions from Devils fans... and Maple Leafs fans.

Then, Joey Congi (@joeycongi98) said, "I think Keefe is a good player's coach. It's good for what the Devils need at the moment. He will coach you into the playoffs, which is what (the Devils) need. He isn't the best with allowing young skilled and smaller players to reach their full potential. We saw that in Toronto with Nick Robertson. He was in and out of the lineup a lot and it's really stunted his growth as a hockey player.”

We also asked our other Fansided site, Editor In Leaf. They had some good and some bad things to say about what Keefe did as their coach.

"So Keefe is really well informed and can rattle off a ton of stats off the top of his head.  He is incredibly prepared, and yet, at the same time, I thought one of his biggest problems was that he coached on how to stop the other team more than just letting his guys fly. I would rather have a coach that takes more risks. I think Keefe coaches a pretty safe, possession-based game.  His teams hardly rush the puck or make long passes. I hated the lineups Keefe made. I think he's a good tactician but bad at making lineups. I also think he made the mistake of making (Mitch) Marner and (Auston) Matthews play too defensively.  I often urged the Leafs to open it up and make better use of their talent. He coaches a safe, boring, low-risk game.  It's not traditional tight defense, but it's not wide-open, either. Lots of short passes. The stuff about 'he can't coach young players' or 'he's too soft on players' is total BS.”

Well, whatever your feelings are on the hiring of Keefe, the Devils are hoping that this coach will end the futility of all the bad seasons en route to their fourth Stanley Cup. Will it happen? We just have to wait and see what Keefe does in his time here.