The biggest news item of the day for the Devils on Monday at practice was the absence of Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, who had been helping out behind the bench since October 16.
"It was great having Fitzy around. He's been around for awhile so he knows what's going on and he's seen the players," Coach Hynes began. "We know this wasn't going to be forever. It's a different voice, different observations. It's kind of run its course and he's done a fantastic job."
Under Fitzgerald, the team saw some great improvements in its penalty kill. The penalty kill at the time was 57.1% which ranked last in the NHL. From that date until present, the Devils penalty kill has ranked seventh in the NHL at 85.2%.
"We're certainly going to miss him," Hynes continued. "But the difference is he's around all the time anyways so the difference will be basically on the bench and not on the ice. It was great having him. We'll continue to have him as a resource but it was the right time for him adn fo rus to have him back to what he was actually hired to do."
Travis Zajac also commented on what Fitzgerald brought to the practice ice and bench in his temporary role as assistant coach.
"I think face-offs, just the little things, where to be in the d-zone and positioning," Zajac noted. "He's played the game, he's been in every situation. For a team like that, that's always helpful."