NEWARK, NJ - You won't see New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes strap on the skates for Development Camp this week, instead he'll watch the Devils budding talent from a different perspective.
Video: RAW | John Hynes at Dev Camp
"It's nice, because my job here is to get to know the players, which is important. And also, a lot of it is the cultural things of what we do and what we believe in. So, I do meet with the players and meet with the groups separately and really indoctrinate them in to what that part of it is. It also gives the Binghamton staff the opportunity to get on the ice and work with them with some of the things that we want to instill on the ice in the camp."
Since the arrival of John Hynes, who is entering his fifth season as the Devils head coach, there has been a distinct cultural change around the New Jersey Devils. Along with general manager Ray Shero and his management staff, the shift in culture is not only for those who are on the NHL roster, but all those involved at any level. While there is a clear emphasis at Development Camp of on-ice skills, what happens off of it is just as valued. Through seminars and team-bonding activities, the future generation of Devils is learning what it means to be a part of this organization.
"It's something we take a lot of pride in," Hynes said. "You have to have an identity and understand what it means to be a Devil both on and off the ice and how we do things. There are certain words and things that we like to keep private but there are certain things that we do that we believe in in terms of the characteristics we feel that now going into our fifth year, that a lot of these kids that we've drafted, they have the style of play that we like, they have the physical tools that we like and also the personality characteristics and now it's letting them understand, this is how we go about our business."
Hynes takes a step back and gives the opportunity for Binghamton head coach Mark Dennehy the opportunity to run the on-ice portion of the week. For the 44-year-old coach, he takes this chance to get to know players on a more personal level.
"You're in a little bit more of a relaxed role where you're overseeing some things, implementing cultural things, but you're not focused on all the on-ice day to day stuff," he said. "You can spend more time in the locker room, more time in the lounge and see players. You can focus on different aspects of what we do here."
The hope is that after the week is when the real hard work will begin for the prospects. It's easy to take in the experience while within the walls of Prudential Center but the coaching staff is really looking for players to take the initiative to implement the lessons away from New Jersey and on whatever course the next couple of months will take them.
"That's one of the things we talk with them about, it's a lot of the things that you do that allow you to be ready to go in September as you continue to move on when no one is watching. It's their off-season work, it's their lessons that they have now and applying them in the off-season and applying them whether they're here, in college or junior, is that those mindsets and those values that we're trying to instill in them - they have to take initiative in that. That goes back to being a self-starter. You can come to a conference and take notes, but then you leave the conference and shut your notebook and never address it. We've addressed that mentality with the guys this week."