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Things look dire for Hynes, Devils after 7-1 loss to Sabres

New Jersey Devils v Buffalo Sabres

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 2: New Jersey Devils Head Coach John Hynes (left) watches the action from the bench during an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on December 2, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

(UPDATE: The Devils announced on Tuesday that they have fired Hynes.)

After an offseason full of optimism thanks to some aggressive additions, particularly the lucky lottery win of Jack Hughes, it felt like the New Jersey Devils would at least make a ton of progress in 2019-20.

Pretty much from the 0-4-2 start, the tension was really rising, and it’s felt like something had to give -- maybe even beyond the Devils having to bite the bullet and trade Taylor Hall considering his expiring contract.

Sadly, Devils fans have had quite a few low moments to choose from lately (including losing to the hated Rangers 4-0 on Saturday), but Monday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres might very well represent rock bottom. At least, the Devils must hope so, as the Sabres handed them a painful 7-1 loss. You know it isn’t a great sign when your opponent has three goals before you even register a shot on goal.

The Sabres would end up with five goals in the first period alone. It would be convenient if the Devils could blame a single, solitary issue for all of their problems, but stretches like these often boil down to broader dysfunction.

Maybe the biggest debate is: what feels like the perfect encapsulation of that loss, and the general feeling surrounding these dismal Devils?

Was it this agonizing goal allowed when the game was already getting out of hand?

Or, should we be more precise and point to Conor Sheary’s “yikes” reaction to that goal?

Either way, things are rough.

The Devils slipped to 9-13-4, with their 22 standings points only placing them ahead of a Detroit Red Wings team that is dreadful, essentially, by design. Plenty of Devils fans have been calling for head coach John Hynes to be fired well before this stretch where the Sabres and Rangers combined to beat New Jersey 11-1 over two lousy losses, but you can bet that the rumblings are more thunderous this week:

*Makes the same face Sheary did at that tweet*

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.