While a variety of factors contributed to the New Jersey Devils‘ epic collapse to end the 2013 season, Lou Lamoriello‘s decision to retain head coach Peter DeBoer is a foolish one.
The team quit on their coach, missing the playoffs for the second time in three years by losing nearly every meaningful game down the stretch. DeBoer failed to adjust, sticking with stale line combinations until the bitter end while allowing two injuries to bury his team. This Devils team likely wasn’t a Stanley Cup contender, but it was surely a playoff team.
Simply put, Peter DeBoer did nothing to help the New Jersey Devils win and it should cost him his job.
Perhaps the biggest problem with retaining DeBoer going forward, offering him a pardon for a terrible year after he led New Jersey to an Eastern Conference Championship, is how little he does to develop young talent. The decision to repeatedly scratch a healthy Adam Larsson, riding Johan Hedberg into the ground during Martin Brodeur‘s injury rather than playing a young goalie, and the struggles of young players like Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefson, and Mark Fayne prove that DeBoer is a detriment to the growth of his team. DeBoer fails to identify and cultivate talent, and the Devils are flirting with a total rebuilding effort that should not be put into his incapable hands.
Either way, after New Jersey’s finish to the lockout-shortened 2013 season, there is no way to justify bringing DeBoer back.
In-game decision making has never been his strong suit, but losing ten games in a row because one player was injured is simply inexcusable. DeBoer failed to manage a talented roster properly, and he failed to find a way to coach through two injuries. Though the Devils often outplayed their opponents in losing efforts, a winning coach needs to find a way to inspire his team to win when the playoffs are on the line. New Jersey went on a pathetic losing streak when it mattered most.
He won’t make a move, but Lou Lamoriello could be making a costly mistake by keeping Peter DeBoer in charge. Citing that the team played hard as a reason to keep a losing coach doesn’t work for a team with an established winning culture over the last two decades.
This isn’t tee-ball; “good effort” only matters in a win, and last season was unacceptable.