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Devils’ Ruff Modifies Media Criticism; Players Feeling the Pressure

Devils head coach Lindy Ruff modifies his answer that pointed to excess pressure created by the media.



New Jersey Devils

NEWARK — Following the New Jersey Devils’ Thursday night loss to the New York Rangers in which the power play went 0/5 again, head coach Lindy Ruff pointed at the media for creating “excess pressure.”

“I imagine you’ve asked every player – now they’re feeling it, and you guys are creating excess pressure,” Ruff responded to New Jersey Hockey Now when asked about the power play. “Us as a staff will go through that power play. We changed things up; we met with individual groups tonight – as opposed to when you meet with all 10 or 11 of your guys. We’ll go through the whole thing again and just try to get better.”

The Devils’ power play has converted just twice in their last 46 power plays. Perhaps that has something to do with Jack Hughes‘ health status. Thus, ahead of the Devils’ tilt against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon, members of the media followed up on Ruff’s comments that they are creating excess pressure.

“Who’s us?” Ruff asked when one reporter asked if, “Us doing our job is creating excess pressure.”

Ruff promptly laughed and responded with a modified approach.

“Here’s where I was going with that,” Ruff explained. “When you’re asked about it a lot, it’s not creating pressure. It’s just that they know they have to be better, right? So when they’re asked about it, it becomes a constant focus. My job is to make sure we focus on the next game on that next power play. And if I go in there and harp on every power play, how are they going to feel? If after the game you ask them about every power play, how are they going to feel?”

After clarifying his intentions with the excess pressure statement, Ruff explained he wants the Devils’ focus to be on the next power play, not the outside noise.

“So, I would rather blame you guys and blame me or blame them,” Ruff continued. “But our focus is really on the next power play. It’s nothing to do with you guys. There’s nothing to do with me. It’s the next power play you’ve got. Let’s make it a good one.”

The Devils’ playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread after two detrimental in-division losses this week. However, they have a big weekend coming up against the Canadiens on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, the latter of which they are directly chasing in the standings.

Coach Ruff and the Devils are certainly hoping the power play that buoyed them at the beginning of the season can turn things around and propel them back into playoff position. In terms of pressure, Ruff explained he doesn’t feel any at all.

“I don’t feel any pressure,” Ruff said as the presser concluded.

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