After the departure of assistant coaches Adam Oates (now the head coach of the Washington Capitals) and Larry Robinson (now an assistant coach for the San Jose Sharks), the New Jersey Devils were faced with finding replacements for a coaching staff that was looked upon as one of the best this past season. On Tuesday, the Devils made the official announcement for who would be filling those spots.
Devils legend Scott Stevens, who was a special assignment coach with New Jersey for the past four years, and Matt Shaw, former assistant coach in San Jose, were given the assistant coaching jobs and will be behind the bench with head coach Pete DeBoer for the 2012-2013 season.
Stevens, who was the captain for the Devils’ three Stanley Cup championship teams in 1995, 2000, and 2003, as well as being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, was looking for a more active role within the organization. When Robinson and Oates left for different organizations, it was the perfect time for Stevens to be granted that active role as an assistant coach. He has never been behind the bench as a coach, but the Devils management feels he is the right man for the job. General Manager Lou Lamoriello said of Stevens, “What he brings you can’t teach.”
Stevens seemed excited about the job and was ready to take on something new. He was quoted saying, “I’ve been thinking about this all year, about getting more involved, getting behind the bench and getting closer to the action. With Larry leaving, it was unfortunate, but it kind of opened the door for myself and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Matt Shaw, who was an assistant coach and ran the power play in San Jose for the past three seasons, filled the other assistant coaching spot. This past season, the Sharks ranked second in power play percentage behind Shaw with a 21.1% success rate, while the Devils ranked 14th at 17.2 percent. The Devils power play struggles were most visible in their long playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals, so with this, the Devils brought in someone who has already generated success for an organization.
Shaw also seemed excited to work within the Devils organization and especially to work with head coach Pete DeBoer. Shaw praised DeBoer and said that he is glad to “fit his mold of what he felt was important to be adding to the staff.”
With these two coaching changes, the Devils organization and its fans certainly have something to be happy about. Replacing Oates and Robinson was no easy task, but with Scott Stevens on the defense and Matt Shaw on the power play, New Jersey made the right moves towards maintaining its strength and improving on its weakness.
About the Author
Written by Mike Mastrandrea
Mike Mastrandrea is currently a Junior at Indiana University studying Sports Communication and Marketing. He was raised in New Jersey and is a dedicated New Jersey Devils, New York Jets, New York Mets, and Indiana Hoosiers fan. Mike's other interests include movies, hanging out with friends, and Chel.