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DeBoer seeks answers after 'difficult' finish

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 2:53 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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DeBoer seeks answers after \'difficult\' finish



 
One day after the Devils saw their playoff quest halted, head coach Peter DeBoer was still trying to figure out what went wrong.

Sunday's loss to the Rangers sealed the Devils' fate, ensuring that a season of high expectations would end without a chance to defend their Eastern Conference crown.

"It's difficult," DeBoer said Monday at AmeriHealth Pavilion. "One of the most difficult things I've gone through. I've coached teams that didn't deserve to make the playoffs. Most times, life gives you what you deserve. In this case, I don't feel that's necessarily the case, and that's what makes it more difficult, because then you're searching for the reasons why, and I don't have the answers yet."

A promising 8-1-3 start was derailed by injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils went 3-6-2 while Brodeur recovered from a pinched nerve from Feb. 24 to March 16, and had slipped to 13-11-6 by the time he made his next start on March 21.

But Kovalchuk hurt his shoulder in the very next game, and the ensuing 0-6-4 slide proved too much to overcome.

The Devils are 11-3-3 when both Brodeur and Kovalchuk play.

"I'm not going to use those as crutches," DeBoer said. "My job [is], you get handed 20 to 23 players and you have to find a way to have success. That's for other people to decide or analyze, what factors those things played."

Even in the face of a 10-game winless streak, the team's effort was always there.

"There's not many guys in there, if any, that I don't think [whose] hearts weren't in the right place, that didn't buy into the system and the team-first approach we had all year, and it wasn't good enough," DeBoer said.

Three games remain on the schedule: the Devils host Montreal on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Thursday, then visit Madison Square Garden for Saturday's finale.

"I think the message to the team is the same way we've approached all season," DeBoer said. "We expect nothing but professionalism and the same commitment to work and win that we've had all year. I think that's what this team's about, what this organization's about. We're not going to expect anything less than that."

He praised the work of assistants Dave Barr, Scott Stevens, and Matt Shaw, and goaltending coach Chris Terreri.

"I thought our coaching staff worked diligently, prepared this team. That's been a common theme, even when you talk to the players. I thought our coaches emptied the tank, so to speak. Any time you don't have a successful year, the entire organization gets analyzed, including myself. I'm sure that's a process Lou [Lamoriello] will go through."

• No decision had been made on whether to rest Kovalchuk in the final three games.

"Again, I'll talk to Lou," DeBoer said. "That's a meeting that I'm going to have with him probably later today."

He also hopes to get Johan Hedberg another start: "He deserves to get in a game."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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