• RSS

DeBoer introduced as head coach

Tuesday, 07.19.2011 / 5:04 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - Staff Writer
Share with your Friends

DeBoer introduced as head coach
NEWARK, N.J. -- The best-kept secret in the NHL was finally revealed Tuesday afternoon at Prudential Center when New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello introduced Peter DeBoer as the 21st coach in franchise history.

DeBoer, who did not earn a playoff berth in his three seasons as coach of the Florida Panthers, is certainly looking forward to a fresh start in the Garden State.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to have a chance to work in an organization with such a great tradition … a tradition of winning Stanley Cups," DeBoer said during a press conference at Prudential Center. "My first conversation with Lou was shortly after the season ended and cumulated, literally, (Tuesday) morning (when he was offered the job). It was great to sit down with Lou and have him give me the keys to coach this team. It's something I take great pride and responsibility in and am looking forward to it.

"Now it's time to roll up the sleeves and start calling players."

Lamoriello was asked why the delay in naming a head coach. Prior to Tuesday's announcement, the Devils were the only team in the League without one.

"When time is on your side, you use it," Lamoriello said.

DeBoer, 43, is the seventh different head man hired by Lamoriello in the last seven seasons. Despite the fact he failed to make the playoffs in three seasons in Florida, DeBoer said he learned plenty. He also realizes the expectations as the head coach of the Devils.

"We want to be back in the playoffs," DeBoer said. "I don't think when you talk to Lou or anyone else, no one was happy not making the playoffs last season. Having seen them a few times over the second half, I thought they played very well."

DeBoer said he spoke with Calgary Flames coach and good friend Brent Sutter a month ago regarding the vacant coaching position in New Jersey. Sutter coached the Devils for two seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09).

"I had a beer with Brent in Calgary and we talked a little bit about the situation here and he couldn't say enough good things about it," DeBoer said. "He talked about working with Lou, about the area and the facilities and the potential of the team. He spoke glowingly about it."

He was named coach of the Panthers on June 13, 2008, and would lead the club to the second-best point total in team history in his first season (93 points) and a 41-30-11 mark. It was not enough for the Panthers to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, however, as they finished ninth in the Eastern Conference.

"I've known and watched Peter for many years in junior … known people and the players he's worked with and watched him in Florida the last three years," Lamoriello said. "He's technically as sound as anyone out there, he's disciplined and he works at it. In my mind, he is an outstanding coach."

DeBoer joined the Panthers following 13 seasons of leading teams in the Ontario Hockey League. The current part-owner of the OHL's Oshawa Generals is a two-time winner of the OHL Coach of the Year -- both coming with the Plymouth Whalers 1998-99 and 1999-2000. He also coached current Devils forward David Clarkson on the Memorial Cup-winning Kitchener Rangers in 2003.

"I haven't spoken to David yet, but I'm sure I'll get a call from Clarkie about more power-play time," DeBoer quipped.

DeBoer also served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2010 World Championships and was a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian staff at the 2005 World Junior Championship.

In 2009-10, Florida finished last in the Southeast Division with 77 points and the Panthers’ total of 72 points in 2010-11 was the lowest in the Eastern Conference and third-fewest in the NHL. Florida general manager Dale Tallon fired DeBoer with one year remaining on his contract and hired Kevin Dineen on June 1. The Panthers haven't qualified for the playoffs since 1999-2000. DeBoer compiled a 103-107-36 record in three seasons with Florida.

DeBoer doesn't believe he'll need to change or even tweak his coaching style to conform to the Devils systematic approach on the ice.

"My plan is to keep the defensive structure which has made this organization successful," he said. "Philosophically, we're on the same page, we believe in same things. I think every coach has his own identity and his own characteristics. We want to pursue the puck, dictate the pace of play. But at the foundation of that, is still good sound defensive hockey and playing the right way and that meshes perfectly with what they do here."

DeBoer intends to sit down with all the current coaches within the organization before determining his plan on assistants. He'll also speak with all of the players before naming a captain.

"When I was fired in Florida, that was the first time I was ever fired from a job," DeBoer said. "You always hope, at the end of the day, someone notices the job you did despite the results. I think Lou recognized that, and I appreciate the opportunity."

DeBoer knows it's now up to him to make certain he can provide some stability at a position that has become a revolving door during the past decade.

"I think Lou's looking for some stability in this position and it's going to be my responsibility to make sure I don't give him any reason to make a change," he said. "I think that's on me to make sure we have enough success and play the right way that that wouldn't be an option."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale




1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47


L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52