No. 1 – Toughness
The image above with Scott Stevens and Jay Pandolfo smoking a helpless Marian Hossa puts a smile on the face of every Devils fan. This image represents the kind of organization that the Devs were built to be. A gritty, hardnosed team from ‘Jersey. If you want to beat us, you’re going to have to earn it every single second.
When the franchise moved away from this style of play, the Devils became a bottom-tier NHL team. Newark New Jersey is by no means a flashy city. It’s a tough neighborhood that needs to be represented by the toughest team in the toughest sport and the only man out there that can make this happen is John Tortorella.
The Devils have always outhit and blocked more shots than their opponents every single night. However, ‘Jersey ranks 25th in hits/game (19.34) and ranks 23rd in blocked shots/game (13 flat). Devils’ hockey has never been about high-scoring and flashy games. They’ve always been a hard-nosed team that makes opposing teams miserable when they face a hard trap in the neutral zone followed by a gritty forecheck. This has been, is, and will be the true style of hockey in New Jersey.
John Tortorella lives and breathes this style of play. With the threat of losing hearing in your right ear, players for him follow the same mentality. Guys like Miles Wood, Nate Bastian, and Damon Severson are prime examples of the types of guys who play like a Devil.
Torts is one of the last true old-school coaches of the NHL. While many may not be partial to it, the Devils have historically been the definition of an old-school franchise. Just because something is new doesn’t necessarily make it better than the original. The Devs have tried to adopt small hockey and play with speed and finesse, but it simply does not work. Bringing in Tortorella will revive this franchise into becoming the powerhouse that it was in the early 2000s.