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Is the NJ-Florida series proving that Tallon was right to dismiss DeBoer?

Apr 21, 2012, 11:23 PM EDT

deboergetty Getty Images

It’s rare that you lose your coaching job with one team and then face them in the first round with your new squad less than a year later. That’s what happened to Peter DeBoer though, who was dismissed by the Florida Panthers only to be hired by the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils were coming off a disappointing 2010-11 campaign where their strong finish couldn’t make up for their poor start under former head coach John MacLean. So DeBoer does deserve credit for guiding the Devils back to the playoffs.

That being said, New Jersey is one game away from elimination and the obvious question is how much of the blame DeBoer deserves. blogger Steve Chernoski argues that DeBoer is struggling to adapt on the fly and his attempts to do so have resulted in futile line shuffling. Chernoski’s “biggest criticism is that once the Panthers get a lead, they go into a shell and DeBoer cannot concoct a plan to beat it.”

It’s worth noting that DeBoer shuffled the top line several times with the Devils trailing in Game 5 to no effect.

DeBoer’s biggest accomplishment in this series was probably his decision to stick with Martin Brodeur in Game 4 despite his struggles in the previous contest. Brodeur responded by earning his record-breaking 24th shutout, but even a relatively solid game from Brodeur wasn’t enough to save them in Saturday’s 3-0 loss.

Now DeBoer has some big decisions to make and he’ll need to coach a good game on Tuesday to force a Game 7.

  1. phillyphever - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Who wants to bet Lou pulls the plug on DeBoer if they lose the series?

  2. scottfmullin - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    He got dismissed from Florida because he was a “veterans coach” on a team full of young, raw players. Not that there’s anything wrong with that sort of coach, but he would not adjust how he coached a hockey team on account of the type of guys on his team.

    Talk to young guys like Mike Santorelli and Dmitry Kulikov, and they said that he was borderline verbally abusive to young players still trying to get acclimated to the NHL speed. Certainly he didn’t have the “players coach” mentality.

    In addition, he never managed his goalies all that well. He was quick to pull goalies, which especially annoyed Scott Clemmensen. He wasn’t upset when he left town.

    Finally, he played a boring style of hockey. DeBoer went into traps in the third when his teams had the lead. Panther fans lost count of how many games we blew when we went into a shell offensively. It was no surprise for us when his Devils choked away Game 3. His come-from-behind skills were lacking too, as he just never had any solid strategy to generate offense.

    DeBoer just had his hands in his pockets here in South Florida as very few of his decisions went right on the ice.

  3. mdpucks - Apr 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    What can DeBoer do when Kovalchuck looks like he’s skating with mono, the blue line has only one semi-offensive threat, Henrique has run out of gas, Clarkson has devolved back to 2010-11 form, and, Volchenkov looks like a skating corpse from all of the punishment he took during the regular season? I don’t question DeBoer’s moves or the Devils will to fight what I question is how much gas is really left in the tank against a hungrier Florida team. The only real difference in this series has been Florida’s power play and New Jersey’s amazing ability to shoot directly into the Florida goaltenders’ chest.

    Perhaps if DeBoer complained to the NHL regarding officiating then perhaps he’d get more benifits of the whistle. Afterall that seems to be the way it works for Dineen, Tortorella, Bylsma, Hunter, etc.

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