Pete DeBoer will definitely be back as head coach of the Devils next season, general manager Lou Lamoriello said today.Two words: No. Duh. There was absolutely no reason to fire DeBoer or to even considering firing him, mainly for the last quote from Lamoriello. The Devils (outside of the Rangers game Sunday) played for DeBoer to the bitter freakin' end, which is a true sign that the coach still has the rapt attention of his locker room. Plus, DeBoer is a really good coach. Not many bench bosses could've gotten the Devils on the run they went on last year or fashioned together this year's misfit talent collection and kept them in playoff contention despite injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk. DeBoer ain't goin' nowhere -- and that's a very good thing.
“I’ll put it to rest. The season is over now,” Lamoriello said. “I think getting involved in that stuff during the year and answering all those questions, I’m never going to answer one way of the other. We’re playing. But this coaching staff worked as hard as any coaching staff that I’ve had here.”
Lamoriello mentioned the “staff”, but would not commit to the entire staff being back next season.
“I don’t know what’s on the horizon for tomorrow,” Lamoriello said. “Everybody’s situation is individually different. Everybody has different contract situations, so I’m not going to sit here today is everything is A, B and C because I don’t have the answers to that right now.”
The biggest factor, though, was that Lamoriello thought the team continued to play hard for DeBoer even when it was struggling to win games down the stretch.
“That to me is the underlining factor of a lot of the things you do,” Lamoriello said. “If there’s a reason to do something and it’s going to make us better, it doesn’t matter who it is. This is not about liking people or not liking people. It’s great when you have both, which certainly Pete is that type you like and respect. But it’s about the bottom line and it’s about evaluating.”
The interesting thing for me is that quote from Lou about DeBoer's staff. The Devils clearly didn't take well to Matt Shaw's power play, although I think part of that blame lies with the shortened season and lack of a training camp. Also, Scott Stevens' defense wasn't even close to what the group was last season. Now, obviously Stevens is Devils royalty and was operating with a flawed group of blueliners, but allow me to play conspiracy theorist for a minute. If the Devils weren't enamored with how Stevens handled the D-men, they could always move him into a front office/organizational role to save face while bringing in a more experienced hand to replace what they lost in Larry Robinson. I'm not expecting it to happen. I'm just saying it could.