Lindy Ruff Jan 19, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff watches play against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

While coaches and players often emphasize their internal focus and resilience against external narratives, blaming the media for team performance is a rare approach, as demonstrated by Lindy Ruff’s recent comments after the Devils’ loss. But, while it’s not unheard of for coaches to deflect blame, let’s not give Doc Rivers any ideas.

Following a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday, Ruff, facing mounting pressure from fans and whispers of a possible coaching change, redirected attention towards media narratives. Although the Devils controlled the puck and outshot their bitter rivals, their ongoing struggles on special teams and physical play continued to hamper their performance, resulting in chants of “Fire Lindy” at the Prudential Center.

New Jersey’s power play has become a significant concern, converting only twice in their last 46 opportunities across 14 games. Despite having nearly 12 minutes of power play time against the Rangers, they failed to score, prompting Ruff to point toward media scrutiny as a potential factor behind the struggles.

Ruff suggested that reporters are creating excess pressure for his players by, you know, doing their job and asking about the team’s Power Play struggles.

“I imagine you’ve asked every player – now they’re feeling it, and you guys are creating excess pressure,” Ruff told reporters via “Us as a staff will go through that power play. We changed things up; we met with individual groups tonight – as opposed to when you meet with all 10 or 11 of your guys. We’ll go through the whole thing again and just try to get better.”

Ruff attributes the Devils’ power play struggles to media pressure, which is a puzzling choice. If a team — say the New York Jets — is struggling with committing penalties (which they very much did this past season), would it be appropriate for Robert Saleh to suggest that the root cause of the unforced miscues is based on reporters asking why there was so many of them? Of course not.

While the Jets’ penalty issues under Saleh might share some superficial similarities, the direct comparison falls short. The Devils have a significant advantage while on the power play, and external factors like media coverage shouldn’t overshadow their need to find solutions within the team itself.

Perhaps we should also blame the media for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations sitting at 28-24-4 after the head coach has failed to make necessary adjustments and the general manager didn’t do enough to build up said contender. And if New Jersey wants to get out of this rut, it might start by taking an accountable look in the mirror rather than looking to deflect blame on others who are actually doing their job.


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.