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Devils Lindy Ruff Reacts to Islanders Coaching Change

Lindy Ruff reacts to Islanders firing Lane Lambert, hiring Patrick Roy, and the tough Metropolitan Division.



New Jersey Devils
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Newark — New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff knows a thing or two about coaching changes.

On Saturday night, the New York Islanders fired head coach Lane Lambert and immediately replaced him with Patrick Roy as their 15th coach in franchise history. An expected change with a shocking twist.

Ruff has been there before lasting a long while behind the Buffalo Sabres bench for 16 years. Buffalo relieved Ruff in Feb. 2013. He was then quickly scooped up by the Dallas Stars four months later as their head coach. After another four seasons, the Stars relieved Ruff at the end of the 2016-17 season. Now behind the Devils’ bench for his fourth season, Ruff is not surprised by coaching changes in the NHL anymore as he’s somewhat on the hot seat himself.

“I’m never surprised, we’re in the business,” Ruff explained. “It happens so I don’t think you can ever be surprised.”

Devils fans certainly have not refrained from voicing their opinions on Ruff’s status as head coach. The Devils are in the midst of a tough season derailed by injuries. As a result, they’re nowhere near the pace they were last season after collecting 112 points in 82 games. Instead, they’re on the outside of playoff position looking in, although they’re just two points shy of the wild card.

The Devils currently have about $26 million on injured reserve if you include Jack Hughes who is not officially listed but is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Regardless, the Devils haven’t quite found their 2022-23 selves as a result of insufficient goaltending and defense this season. Now that Roy is behind the Islanders’ bench, the division potentially gets that much tougher. That’s especially true with the Islanders, Devils, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins all within reach of playoff position.

“I think the division is hard enough as it is, let alone a coaching change,” Ruff told New Jersey Hockey Now. “We’re well aware how tough our division is and our conference is. The coaching stuff is part of the business.”

The Devils play the Dallas Stars tonight. They’re one of the NHL’s powerhouses, although have had an inconsistent go as of late with a 5-4-1 record in their last 10 games. The Devils are working on fixing their issue with taking a loss on the second half of back-to-back games.

If they don’t improve soon, Ruff could soon potentially join the five relieved head coaches this season.

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