photo

Nasreddine, players react to news of Shero's dismissal

Mike Armenti   ·   13 janvier 2020
Less than three hours prior to the New Jersey Devils' matchup with the blazing Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, Devils head coach Alain Nasreddine was asked to gather his players in the team's locker room for what would be -unknowingly to Nasreddine and the Devils players - quite the shocking announcement.

When Devils managing partner Josh Harris broke the news to Nas and his players that GM Ray Shero had been relieved of his duties, the players and the coaching staff were caught way off guard, according to Nasreddine, as absolutely nobody saw it coming.

“I don’t think anyone saw it coming. Especially, so close to game time,” Nasreddine said. “So, yeah, it was shocking to hear and to find out.”

Nasreddine was hired by Shero as the interim head coach of the team following John Hynes' dismissal in early December and just as he praised Hynes upon his departure, he also had a few words of acknowledgement for Shero on Monday.

“I don’t think anyone saw it coming, but like I said, it’s a tough business,” Nasreddine said. “Ownership have to make that tough decision, and one day, I’ll be forever grateful to Ray because he gave me my first shot, my first opportunity to get into coaching, and just like I talked about Hynes over a month ago, without those two guys I wouldn’t be here today.”

QUIZ ON TRADERUMOURS
image
Which Canadian department store announced in 1976 that it was discontinuing the distribution of its catalog?
DOLLORAMA
EATON
SIMPSON
WALLMART


When forward Travis Zajac was asked about Harris' comments to the players, he had this to say:

“He just mentioned that they were committed to winning, and I think everyone is," Zajac said. "It’s like I said, for whatever reason, we didn’t start the season like we probably all thought we could’ve and should’ve, and now we’re where we’re at. We can’t look at the past anymore. We just gotta focus on the present and what we can control, and that’s trying to build something with the group we have right now and have some success.”

Zajac would add that Shero deserves a lot of credit for the moves he made in an attempt to turn things around in New Jersey.

“He’s gotten us more competitive I think probably than when we started, and obviously more talented and skilled,” Zajac said. "I think we’ve seen that the last couple years with the guys we’ve added and Nico (Hischier) and Jack (Hughes) and (Nikita Gusev), some of the guys he’s brought in, so skill and talent is there. Unfortunately we just, the expectations this year, we haven’t lived up to them and because of that we’ve lost a couple of good people this year, but I think the team and the organizations in a healthy spot right now because of him.”

Veteran blue liner and Devils captain Andy Greene has experienced several personnel changes over his career and understands the need for ownership to address the team, regarding Shero's dismissal, taking a much more subdued stance with his reaction to the matter.

“It was pretty brief and direct. It was basically they felt they needed to change and they made it,” Devils captain Andy Greene said. "Honestly that was pretty much it. They don’t have to explain themselves to us, right? It’s their choice and that’s their jobs to make that decision.”

Interim GM Tom Fitzgerald now has the difficult task of evaluating what he has in New Jersey and formulate a plan to move forward with the team until such a time as a new General Manager is selected. It may very well be Fitzgerald himself, in the end.

The players know things are a lot less certain now than they were just 24 hours ago. As Travis Zajac points out, there's a whole new "proving ground" to consider moving forward.

“At the same time for us, I think we have to have the mentality like you’re trying to try and impress another guy,” Zajac said. "He’s not Ray. He might not have the same feelings about guys that Ray had. So you have to come to the rink and control what we can control, and that’s getting yourself ready and playing your best hockey.”



The Devils will travel to Toronto to take on the struggling Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The Leafs are losers of their last four. With the Devils coming off of back-to-back wins over tough opponents, this should be a spirited affair.

SURVEY
Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON
QUIZ ON TRADERUMOURS
image
Which Canadian department store announced in 1976 that it was discontinuing the distribution of its catalog?
DOLLORAMA
EATON
SIMPSON
WALLMART
SURVEY
Which scenario would you prefer if the NHL season restart?
END OF REGULAR SEASON + PLAYOFFS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH 16 TEAMS
IMMEDIATELY PLAYOFFS WITH MORE TEAMS
IT'S BETTER TO CANCEL THE SEASON