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The New Jersey Devils fired coach John Hynes after a disastrous start to the season.

The Devils are 9-13-4. Their 22 points are second-fewest in the NHL, and they have the fourth-worst record over the past two seasons at 40-54-14.

Hynes, who was hired in 2015, finished his Devils stint with a 150-159-45 record. The team made the playoffs once in his previous four seasons behind the bench. He ranks second in team history in games coached, wins and points (345).

"The start to the season was not what anyone anticipated," Devils general manager Ray Shero said prior to New Jersey's home game Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights. "I think that set a lot of things back. We lost games in every way imaginable it seemed."

Assistant Alain Nasreddine was named interim coach while Peter Horachek, currently a pro scout for the team, joined the coaching staff as an assistant. Horachek was briefly an interim coach with the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs. They join existing assistants Rick Kowalsky, Mike Grier and goaltending coach Roland Melanson.

"John played an integral role in the development of this team in establishing a foundation for our future and we are grateful for his commitment, passion and unmatched work ethic," Shero said in a team statement prior to his media availability at Prudential Center. "John is a respected leader, developer of talent and friend, which makes this decision difficult."

The Devils entered the season with high stakes. They drafted center Jack Hughes first overall in June. They acquired defenseman P.K. Subban and forwards Nikita Gusev and Wayne Simmonds. They had a healthy Taylor Hall after the star winger was restricted to 33 games due to injury in 2018-19. Hall is in the final year of his contract with the Devils ahead of unrestricted free agency.

But the season has been calamitous. The Devils are 30th in defense (3.62 goals against per game) and 29th in offense (2.50 goals per game). Their .882 team save percentage ranks 29th.

"There's something that was not going right, that's for sure," Shero said. "Our teams are very well prepared, but it comes down to execution. You saw the game last night, we couldn't complete a five-foot pass."

Hynes was removed after the team's worst two-game stretch of the season: a 4-0 defeat to the rival New York Rangers on home ice Saturday, followed Monday night by a 7-1 blowout loss at the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres built a 3-0 lead against the Devils before New Jersey had registered its first shot on goal.

"The Buffalo game was," Shero said with a deep sigh, "I'm not even sure how to describe it."

Nasreddine played for six NHL organizations during his 15-year professional career: the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins. On Aug. 20, 2010, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL) named Nasreddine their assistant coach after he had previously served as captain. On June 17, 2015, Nasreddine was named an assistant in New Jersey.

Asked about Nasreddine's potential to move beyond the interim tag, Shero stayed in the moment, but said he will clearly assess everything after the season.

"There's lots of time left in the season. We'll have a list that we'll compile," Shero said. "But in the short term, for sure, I want to see Nas get a feel for our team and our players. My job is to do the best thing for the team."

Nasreddine addressed the media after Shero, less than two hours before making his debut.

"A lot goes through your mind. You can't help but think about John," he said. "These are not great circumstances, but we have a game tonight.

"Everyone in that room is disappointed, and everyone in that room feels responsible."

Shero was asked about the timing of the move, given the Devils were in the midst of a road-home, back-to-back set of games. But the loss in Buffalo sealed the decision.

"After last night," he said, "it wasn't fair to John, it wasn't fair to us."

As the Devils entered play Tuesday, only the Detroit Red Wings had fewer points in the NHL.

"What I told the team, and what I told Nas, is there is an opportunity," Shero said. "It's a big challenge, but it's certainly one that he will embrace. It's a big opportunity for him and for our players."

Nasreddine concurred.

"The type of coach I am, I've earned everything in life," he said, "and I expect them all to think the same."

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