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Devils Lose Coach; Analyst’s Cryptic Tweet on Mike Sullivan

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Mike Sullivan. Pens lose to Florida Panthers

The rumor that Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will become the next coach of the New Jersey Devils will not go quietly. Sportsnet radio host Nick Kypreos unleashed it more than a week ago, and now it has taken on a life of its own, growing into a monster.

Monday reports from TSN indicate New Jersey will lose its interim coach, Travis Green, to the Ottawa Senators. Green had permission from New Jersey to interview for open jobs, and Ottawa terminated coach D.J. Smith last month.

New Jersey’s coaching job is now wide open.

Also last week, Penguins president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas sought to quell speculation. Still, his carefully worded one-sentence text communication with The Athletic only slowed the rumor for a couple of days.

The Penguins’ terminating associate coach Todd Reirden last Friday only seemed to intensify the Sullivan rumors, despite part of the Dubas’s specifically worded release:

“Mike Sullivan and I have spent time over the past two weeks evaluating the coaching staff, and although these decisions are never easy, we agree that this change was in the best interest of the team moving forward.”

Friday afternoon, ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes uncorked this cryptic report:

Weekes caused a little stir on Wednesday, two days before Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas terminated Reirden.

Weekes tweeted that big news was coming, though he did so in the modern vernacular with only a picture of Pittsburgh and a “surprise” emoji. Unsurprisingly, he also took some criticism for the lack of specifics.

To date, there has not been a credible report or substantiation of the Sullivan rumors other than conjecture and inference.

The only substantiated report came from Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, who reported a disagreement between Sullivan and Dubas over Reirden’s termination.

Read more: Three Reasons the Penguins Should Not Hire Sheldon Keefe.

Fitzgerald has been scouring the NHL trade market for a goalie for months. However, he’s also searching for a new head coach. Dubas has repeatedly gone above and beyond endorsing Sullivan as the Penguins coach, adding praise to his answers.

However, New Jersey’s slow walk toward a new coach has kept the NHL rumor embers smoldering.