New York Hockey: Pete DeBoer

DeBoer tossed as frustration spills over

April, 21, 2013
Livid with the officiating throughout his team's 4-1 loss to the Rangers, Devils coach Pete DeBoer was tossed from the game with less than 35 seconds remaining in regulation.

DeBoer, who earned a bench minor for "abuse of officials" in the second period after a blatant too-many-men penalty on the Rangers went unnoticed, was served with a game misconduct as time was winding down.

It was the last indignity of a frustrating game that officially eliminated the Devils from playoff contention. The Devils have now missed the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, though DeBoer led New Jersey to the Stanley Cup finals last spring.

"There was frustration," DeBoer said. "It's obviously not the way you want to go out. But that's how it ends for us. We will have to regroup and move forward."

The officiating was questionable throughout the game, and Ilya Kovalchuk came to his coach's defense.

Throwing out DeBoer so late in the game seemed unnecessary, Kovalchuk said.

"You can't do that in the last seconds in front of everybody," Kovalchuk told reporters. "Fifteen seconds left, you don't have to put on a show."

It is not clear whether DeBoer will be subject to any discipline from the league, though Islanders coach Brent Thompson was suspended two games for his emotional outburst after the Isles' 2-1 loss to the Rangers back in March.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Devils 1

April, 21, 2013

What it means: Exacting revenge for last spring, the Rangers snuffed out the Devils' playoff hopes with a 4-1 win that mathematically eliminated New Jersey from contention at Madison Square Garden Sunday. Captain Ryan Callahan led the way, notching two goals to dismantle the Devils with Henrik Lundqvist pitching in to the tune of 26 saves. The Devils, who knocked off the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals last season, have now missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons.

After taunting Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur throughout the game, the crowd at MSG broke out into chants of "Sea-son's O-ver!" with about nine minutes remaining in regulation. The Devils and Rangers face one another again next Saturday in the last game of the regular season.

Payback for Rangers: With a 3-0 lead in the third period, Callahan served up the dagger with his second goal of the day. Callahan lifted the puck over Brodeur, who sprawled face first in the crease, to make it 4-0 and essentially close the door on their division rivals. With an assist on Callahan’s third-period marker, alternate captain Brad Richards now has seven points in the past three games.

Skid snapped: Though the Devils carried play in the first half of the second period, Taylor Pyatt notched a pivotal goal that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead, his first in 27 games. Richards intercepted Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov’s pass along the boards and dished off to Pyatt, who had not scored since February 26.

DeBoer distressed: Devils coach Pete DeBoer was livid about a number of calls during the game, particularly after a missed too-many-men penalty that went unnoticed toward the end of the second period. The Devils earned a bench minor with 5:18 left to play for "abuse of officials." Alternate captain Patrik Elias would later earn an unsportsmanlike conduct in the third period. DeBoer was tossed from the game with less than a minute in regulation.

Second guessing: Officiating might not have been the only thing DeBoer was second guessing. DeBoer opted to scratch defenseman Mark Fayne in favor of the more physical Volchenkov, who returned after sitting four games while serving a suspension for elbowing Boston’s Brad Marchand. Volchenkov’s costly turnover might have been a turning point in the game.

Early lead: With a combined 14 goals in their previous two games, the Rangers carried over their offensive momentum into the first period Sunday. Callahan got the Blueshirts on the board with a goal only 34 seconds into play, banking the puck in off Brodeur’s right skate. Derek Stepan extended the Rangers' lead later in the period, tipping in Ryan McDonagh’s point shot at the 12-minute mark for a 2-0 advantage.

Strong PK: Though they surrendered two even-strength goals, the Devils were excellent on the penalty kill in the first period. New Jersey killed off four Rangers power plays, including 23 seconds of 5-on-3 time.

Devils still perfect after Kovalchuk's winner

January, 25, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. -- Capitals coach and former Devils assistant Adam Oates was trying to find the silver lining in his team’s overtime loss until Ilya Kovalchuk’s sharp-angle game winner was brought up.

At that, Oates rolled his eyes:

“Seen that before. I used to like it.”

Pete DeBoer had no complaints. When asked how he felt about the shot selection, DeBoer gave Kovalchuk a free pass.

“Depends who it is,” he said. “If it’s on Kovy’s stick, that angle’s fine.”

Martin Brodeur
Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY SportsMartin Brodeur, who has been in goal for each of the Devils' three wins, was terrific against the Caps.
Kovalchuk’s quick-fire wrister beat Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth with less than 21 seconds to play in overtime and lifted the Devils to an impressive 3-0-0 record to begin the 2013 lockout-shortened season.

After a surprising trip to the Stanley Cup finals last season, the Devils are once again surpassing expectations as they established themselves as the only unbeaten team in the East.

“Some teams are struggling a little bit and some teams are doing well,” said Kovalchuk, who tallied his second goal of the season. “I think it helps that we played ‘til mid-June last year and all the core guys stayed the same. And the coach, we know exactly what he wants from us. I think it’s to our advantage.”

The core guys are not entirely the same, of course -- Zach Parise is now playing for his hometown Minnesota Wild after signing a monster contract this summer -- but the core players that remain have been pulling together.

Kovalchuk added another game winner. Martin Brodeur was terrific in goal to collect his third straight win. And veterans like Patrik Elias and Marek Zidlicky are producing, chipping in Friday night with two points apiece.

“How hard our veteran players worked during the offseason, extended offseason, has really led to the start we’ve had,” DeBoer said. “Elias is in great shape, Brodeur is in great shape, Zubrus is in great shape, Kovy is in great shape. That helps.”

The Devils will aim to preserve their perfect record Sunday when they travel to Montreal to begin their first extended road trip of the season.

“I saw somewhere that every two points is worth 3.42 or something like that based on an 82-game schedule,” DeBoer said. “So every win we get, every point we bank is critical here.”

Kovalchuk played through back injury

June, 13, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Pete DeBoer confirmed the obvious on Wednesday, revealing that star sniper Ilya Kovalchuk was limited with a back injury throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Kovalchuk was scratched for one game during the Flyers series in the Eastern Conference semifinals and, although he led the Devils with 19 points, appeared to be playing through a lingering issue this postseason.

"It was quite a bit under 100 percent, I can tell you that," DeBoer said. "It's a back injury. It's not like a broken bone where you have a real handle on it. But it wasn't close to 100 percent."

Kovalchuk declined to discuss the injury both after Monday night's season-ending loss to the Kings and then again Wednesday.

"It doesn't make any sense to talk about it now. It's all over," he said. "You know, it's a bad excuse. I don't think one guy on the ice was 100 percent healthy, so you've got to take care of yourself the next couple of months and be ready for next year."

When asked if his back issue required any offseason medical attention (i.e. surgery), he responded, "Hopefully not."

W2W4: Game 6, Devils vs. Kings

June, 11, 2012

At a glance: Two times the Kings have had the chance to finish off the Devils and both times they have failed. After falling behind in a 3-0 hole, the Devils have recorded two straight wins to send the series back to Los Angeles and shift the pressure to the Kings for Game 6 on Monday night.

Can the Devils postpone the party once again?

Plenty of people wrote New Jersey off early in the series, but the Devils still feel they have unfinished business.

Said captain Zach Parise: “I don’t see any reason we should be over-confident or satisfied. We’re still down 3-2.”

Losing focus: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty openly admitted his team was guilty of looking ahead the last time they had a chance to clinch the Cup at home. He said the influx of family and friends was a distraction as they were looking to sweep in Game 4 at Staples Center. Doughty vowed that the Kings won’t make a similar mistake this time, calling it “a lesson learned.”

Brodeur at best: 40-year-old Martin Brodeur isn’t showing any signs of aging. The Devils veteran goaltender has seemed to find another gear in the playoffs -- and in the Cup final, especially. In a series where L.A.’s resident Vezina finalist Jonathan Quick has garnered most of the attention, Brodeur is stealing back the spotlight with some of his finest saves of the season. The three-time Cup winner has surrendered only two goals in the last two games.

More snarl to series: In a series that has been physical but otherwise pretty civil, things got a little nastier in Game 5. A post-whistle scrum even led one Kings player to pull Brodeur’s jersey over his head as tempers flared in the third period.

“When you play a team five times in a week-and-a-half, it’s going to get a little more heated,” Kings forward Mike Richards said Sunday.

Cooler heads: With the series tight at 3-2, discipline will be paramount for the Devils. New Jersey’s penalty-killing unit lost a bit of swagger early in the playoffs and almost paid dearly for it. The Devils have given up 19 goals in 73 times shorthanded (74%), compared with a staggering 89.6% success rate that led the league during the regular season.

If it ain’t broke: There will be no lineup changes for the Devils on Monday night, according to coach Pete DeBoer.

Gut-check time: Statistics can change on a dime this time of year -- Game 5 snapped both the Kings' 10-0 road record and the Devils' 0-for-15 power-play skid -- but the Devils want to keep an important one intact: They are 4-0 when facing elimination games this postseason.

DeBoer's resolve to be tested again

June, 10, 2012
Remember that "focus" Devils coach Pete DeBoer was so proud of following Game 4 in L.A.?

Well, he'll be tested again, apparently.

Following the Devils' 2-1 win Saturday night, adult film star Taylor Stevens used her official Twitter account to announce that she'll be back behind the bench as the Kings try to clinch the Cup in Game 6 on Monday.

"I will be behind the bench at Game 6 of the StanleyCupFinals in LA Same Exact seats omg ! Go #kings! " she tweeted after New Jersey's second straight win.

DeBoer seemed unfazed Sunday when asked about her return. In fact, he seemed enthused.

"We won the last time she was there," he cracked. " So, I'll buy her ticket if that happens again."

W2W4: Game 5, Devils vs. Kings

June, 9, 2012
At a glance: Spoiling the Kings’ hopes of a sweep on Wednesday, the Devils will try to keep their comeback hopes alive with a win in Game 5 on Saturday. Trailing 3-1, New Jersey will host L.A. at home with hopes of sending the series back to the West Coast. Can they turn the series around and plant some doubt in the minds of the dominant Kings? Or will L.A. party on Prudential Center ice with their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history? Stay tuned. The puck drops at 8 p.m.

Why not us?: Only one other team in NHL history -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs -- has come back from a 3-0 series deficit in the Stanley Cup final. But the Devils aim to become the second. As coach Pete DeBoer said Friday: “You know it’s going to happen again. So why not us?”

"You're not going to go 200 years without someone else doing it," DeBoer said. "So it's been long enough, it might as well be us."

Top line’s tipping point: Limited to two points in the first four games of the series, the Devils’ top line of captain Zach Parise, center Travis Zajac and star sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, feels confident it's on the verge of breaking through. Both Parise and Kovalchuk had four shots on goal against Kings netminder Jonathan Quick in Game 4, which was sealed on Kovalchuk’s empty-net goal with 20 seconds left in regulation.

Quick-silver: The Kings’ postseason dominance can be attributed in large part to the stingy play of their Vezina Trophy finalist in net. Quick has been sensational in leading the eighth-seeded Kings within one win of the Cup; he boasts a staggering 1.39 goals against average and gaudy .948 save percentage with three shutouts. After frustrating the Devils in the first three games -- in which he surrendered only two goals combined -- Quick gave up two in Game 4.

Road warriors: A Cup-clinching win for L.A. would make history beyond the King’s first championship in franchise history. With a pristine 10-0 road record, the Kings could become the first team in the NHL to rack up 11 wins on the road during the playoffs. Only three other teams in league history have amassed 10 -- the 2004 Calgary Flames (also coached by Darryl Sutter) and the 2000 and 1995 Devils.

Veteran presence: Both defenseman Henrik Tallinder and forward Petr Sykora will remain in the Devils’ lineup after making their series debut in Game 4 on Wednesday. DeBoer said he thought Tallinder was “outstanding” in his first game back from a leg injury that sidelined him for almost six months. Sykora returned to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in six consecutive games.

Devils' big guns on verge of breakthrough

June, 8, 2012

NEWARK, N.J. –- When asked by a reporter about the top line's recent production -- or lack thereof -- Devils captain Zach Parise quickly shot back:

"Who said we're not playing well?"

His answer may have struck some as defensive, and maybe it was, but it shows that Parise and his linemates feel that they are either shouldering some unfair criticism or are on the verge of breaking out.

Or maybe it's a little of both.

"I think we're playing fine," Parise said on Friday, one day before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. "Just not scoring. If that's what you think [is] the difference between playing well and not playing well, that's your call."

The top trio -- comprised of Parise, center Travis Zajac and sniper Ilya Kovalchuk -- has managed only two points among them in the first four games, one of which was Kovalchuk's empty-netter goal in the Devils' 3-1 win in Game 4 Wednesday.

Jerry Lai/US PresswireIlya Kovalchuk and the Devils face their second consecutive elimination game.

While their contributions haven't been reflected on the score sheet, the team remains confident that will change soon.

"I think they're very close," coach Pete DeBoer said. "You just got to stick with it. It's frustrating. It's pressure. I mean, you guys talk to them on a daily basis. You write about that fact [that they're not scoring]. That's the pressure of playing at this point of the year. They recognize that.

"If they weren't getting chances, I'd be concerned," DeBoer continued. "They easily could have a couple goals each."

Parise and Kovalchuk managed four shots apiece on goal in Game 4, where an abundance of chances finally bore results against Vezina Trophy finalist Jonathan Quick, who has been unyielding as any goaltender this postseason.

That win -- the Devils scored three goals after managing only two in the first three games of the series -- might provide the traction needed to spur production and, ultimately, keep the Devils' comeback hopes alive. Saturday will be their second consecutive elimination game.

"I think we were creating more than we were in the first three games," Kovalchuk said. "I think we're forechecking better. We were in the right places. I think our power play was better. We shoot more pucks on net and create more momentum in the right direction."

Kovalchuk's empty-net goal, scored with 20 seconds remaining and a Devils win already wrapped up, was his first since the series finale against the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final May 25.

Might that be enough to get him, and his linemates, going?

"Empty-netters are the best goals because after you score them, it's almost 100 percent that you win the game, so we'll take them any day," Kovalchuk said. "But, it doesn’t really matter who scored. We feel like we played our best game so far in the series. We've got a lot of room to improve but I think we're in the right direction."
If the New Jersey Devils have even half the discipline of coach Pete DeBoer, they should be just fine in Game 5 against the L.A. Kings on Saturday.

In an off-beat post-practice news conference, DeBoer was asked about his team's level of "focus." Instead, he was happy to point out his own remarkable resolve in Game 4 given the, um, distractions he faced.

Positioned directly behind the Devils' bench on Wednesday was well-endowed adult film star Taylor Stevens, but DeBoer didn't seem to give her much thought or attention with his team trying to prevent the sweep.

"You saw my 100 percent focus on the game," DeBoer joked. "Now that's focus."

DeBoer's face turned bright red as he chuckled about the situation. As he walked off the podium, someone asked about his wife's reaction.

He was ready for that one, gladly acknowledging that he had won himself some brownie points at home.

"She saw the focus."

DeBoer on comeback: 'Why not us?'

June, 8, 2012
Despite whittling a 3-0 hole to a two-game series deficit with their win over the Kings Wednesday night, the Devils know the odds are stacked against them.

Only one team in NHL history has come back after falling behind by three games in the Stanley Cup final -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs -- but coach Pete DeBoer believes this Devils club can become the second.

"You know it's going to happen again," he said Friday. "So why not us?"

That will be his team's approach as they host Game 5 at home in Newark Saturday night against a Kings team that has won all ten road games this post-season.

"You're not going to go 200 years without someone else doing it," DeBoer said. "So it's been long enough, it might as well be us."

Same forward lines for the Devils in practice Friday, so it appears Petr Sykora will remain in the lineup after making his series debut in Game 4. Veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder is also expected to remain in for Peter Harrold.

• • •

After preventing sweep, Devils head home

June, 7, 2012
Thanks to Adam Henrique's skate-to-stick-past-Quick game-winner, the Devils prevented a sweep in LA Wednesday night, spoiling the Kings' party and forcing them to hop a cross-country flight back to New Jersey for Saturday's Game 5.

Trailing the series 3-1 (no team has rallied back from a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup final since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs), the Devils will host one at home while aiming to plant a seed of doubt in the heads of an absolutely dominant Kings squad.

"Well, you hope so," said coach Pete DeBoer after his team's 3-1 victory. "That's the plan. We've got to take it home and take care of business now and win another one."

This is no road-weary Kings team, however.

LA has posted a staggering 10-0 record away from home this post-season, which ties an NHL record for most road wins in Stanley Cup history. The 2004 Calgary Flames (also coached by Darryl Sutter) and the 2000 and 1995 Devils squads all amassed ten road victories as well.

Building on a three-goal performance (after managing only two goals over the first three games), the Devils look to tarnish the Kings' pristine record and send it back to Staples Center. Their loss to New Jersey Wednesday night dropped the Kings to 5-3 at home.

"We pulled it off, one game," said 40-year-old netminder Martin Brodeur, who was stellar in stopping all but one of the Kings' 22 shots. "We'll take it one game at a time. But I'm sure they're not happy to make that trip. We'll try to make it miserable for them again."

Although Devils coach Pete DeBoer assured there will be no lineup changes for Game 2 Saturday, he said defenseman Henrik Tallinder will be available this series.

The 33-year-old veteran has not played since January 17 because of a blood clot in his lower left leg, although he is cleared to play and was listed as a healthy scratch in Game 1.

A Devils spokesperson confirmed Tallinder will travel with the team to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4, although he was not made available to the media today.

"You might see him as the series goes forward here," DeBoer hinted after the Devils' optional morning skate.

Before he was sidelined, Tallinder was one of the Devils' best puck-moving defensemen -- an asset that could be useful against a relentless, aggressive Kings forecheck that gave New Jersey trouble in the series opener on Wednesday.

DeBoer sounded willing to entertain Tallinder as a possibility, despite the Swedish blue-liner's lengthy layoff.

"Well, you're never sure. I do know this: I know he's kept himself in great shape," DeBoer said. "He looks good in practice. Before he went out, he was a top-two defenseman for us."

The Devils have received key contributions this post-season from other players returning from injury. Both center Travis Zajac (achilles) and Jacob Josefson (wrist) bounced back from shortened seasons to play vital roles as New Jersey rolled through the Eastern Conference this playoff run.

"It didn't hurt Zajac coming back in. I know you're jumping into the Stanley Cup Final, not into the last week of the regular season. But, Josefson jumped in last round against the Rangers coming off six weeks out with a broken wrist, and it didn't hurt him," DeBoer said.

"You know, you hope you get the desired result, but you never know."

Familiar territory: Down after Game 1

May, 31, 2012

NEWARK N.J. -- There is, at least, the comfort of knowing that they have been here before.

After dropping the first game of a series for the third consecutive time this postseason, the Devils will fight a familiar uphill battle against the Kings in the Stanley Cup final.

"The good news is we started in the same hole against Philly, we started in the same hole against the Rangers," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We responded to the situation in the right way the last two rounds, and I expect the same."

The Devils were nervous and sloppy -- both Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk called it the team's worst game of the playoffs -- which is to say, not nearly good enough to beat a Kings team that has dominated the Western Conference.

The Kings have surrendered only two losses in 15 games this post-season and have won Game 1 in all four rounds.

Veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur said he expects the Devils to respond with a better effort in Game 2 at home on Saturday.

"We're a resilient bunch of guys that work really hard and our work ethic gets us through the hump sometimes," he said. "I think we're gonna go work really hard the next game and see what that's going to bring us."

The eighth-seeded Kings are a staggering 9-0 on the road -- an unblemished record Brodeur hopes the Devils can change this weekend.

"This team hasn't lost on the road," Brodeur said. "They feel good about it and they're finding ways to win. We've just gotta get ourselves a win and that's gonna be a tough loss for them if we're able to get them, because they haven't lost on the road."

"How are they gonna react to that? " he asked. "We have to put that doubt in their mind as quick as possible."

Brodeur skates, hopes to make upcoming trip

October, 20, 2011
Goaltender Martin Brodeur skated Thursday before Devils practice in full gear, testing his injured right shoulder by placing weight on his stick and blocker.

The 39-year-old said he plans to do that again over the next few days while rehabbing a bruised shoulder that, according to the Devils, will sideline him for 7 to 10 days.

"It felt good, really good," said Brodeur, who had not been on the ice for an entire week. "I didn't know what to expect with all the weight of the equipment and my stick. The rotation of my arm and everything is feeling good."

Luckily for both the team and Brodeur, an MRI showed no structural damage and he won't require surgery.

"Slept a lot better last night after I heard that," coach Pete DeBoer said. "There's obviously some relief here. He's a critical piece and it was nice to get that news."

Brodeur said he is still experiencing pain and some lack of mobility, but hopes to be able to travel with the team on their three-game road trip out West following Saturday's game in Pittsburgh.

"That's my hope, but again I have to listen to what my body tells me," Brodeur said. "I might go and not improve for three days. If I don't do that I'm not going to go on the trip, but if I feel I have a chance to play on the road trip...and I start getting shots more and more, it's common sense to play with the guys, be with the guys so I'm ready to go as soon as possible."

With Brodeur out for the near future the Devils will rely on Johan Hedberg, who has played nothing like a backup.

Hedberg, who relieved the injured Brodeur in the team's 2-1 shootout win over the Kings last Thursday, is 3-0-0 with a 1.41 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.

"He's been great from training camp through the first three starts. Again, I cant say enough about him as a player and as a teammate," DeBoer said. "A lot of the job in net is how hard the guys want to play for you. To a man, these guys have played hard for [Hedberg]"