Nothing At All

When the 2019-2020 season ended, we all knew we would be in for a long off-season, even before COVID-19. There was a lot of work to be done. However, in order to even begin that work, two crucial pieces must be put into place. First and foremost, a new General Manager is needed who can help steer the team we all know and love back to its winning ways. That GM's first job should be hiring a coach who will allow our young players to develop and become the stars we know they can be.

How did we get to this point?

On December 3, 2019, Coach John Hynes was fired by the team after a disappointing start to the season. This was after a 9-13-4 record that included several games where the Devils couldn't hold on to a lead or were simply outplayed. This happened too often and the majority of fans, I think, agreed it was time for him to go. Alain Nasreddine was appointed interim head coach. As of this post (June 17, 2020) this was 197 days ago.

Of course, the changes continued. On January 12, 2020, Ray Shero was fired after 5 years with the team. The move was surprising to say the least. I myself remember arriving in Secaucus Junction to board a train to that evening's game and reading the news with my jaw on the floor. Perhaps it was due to the Taylor Hall trade? Perhaps ownership did not like what they saw. Either way, he was replaced with interim GM Tom Fitzgerald. As of this post this was 157 days ago.

Now, reports are out detailing the hiring process that owners Blitzer and Harris are implementing. As a fan, I am struggling to see a method to the madness; but all I see is madness. There seems to be a lack of any final decision and time is running out. The NHL draft lottery is scheduled for June 26, 2020, just over a week away, and yet there is still no word on a permanent GM. I, myself would like to see Tom Fitzgerald come back (as stated here), but if ownership wants to go a different way that's fine. What's not fine, what absolutely is utter madness, is that there has been no GM announced in 157 days.

Any talk of hiring a permanent coach without having a GM in place is, again madness. Yes, Peter Laviolette is reported to be the favorite, but as Todd Cordell asks: of who? Is ownership going to be imposing a coach on whomever the next GM is? That hardly seems like the right move. Conversely, if Tom Fitzgerald is going to be having a say in coaching, then why not take the interim tag off him and name him GM? Either way, we, as a fan base, are left with more questions than answers, and more uncertainty than ever before.

So I must ask: What is going on?

Are the owners too distracted acquiring a minority stake in the Steelers and trying to purchase the Mets? Are they still conducting several interviews to ensure they pick the right people for the job? The silence is deafening, and it's being noticed. If not for Buffalo's current debacle, I would say New Jersey has, as of this moment, the most dysfunctional front office. To be clear, I'm not asking the owners to sell the team; that would be rash and, aside from this recent confusion, I've been fine with Harris and Blitzer, but the clock is ticking.

Theodore Roosevelt once said: "In a crisis the best thing to do is the right thing, the second best thing to do is the wrong thing. The worst thing to do, is nothing at all."

Right now, from all appearances, the Devils are doing nothing at all.

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