In the first round, some New Jersey Devils fans blamed head coach Peter DeBoer for the team’s struggles against the Florida Panthers. Considering the seemingly total advantage the Devils generated against the Philadelphia Flyers in a five-game series triumph, the opposite might be appropriate: maybe DeBoer was the difference. Perhaps he out-coached Peter Laviolette.
Martin Brodeur probably agrees with that sentiment – or at least holds DeBoer in high regard, as he told Tom Gulitti.
“Our big weapon is the coaching staff,” Brodeur said. “They prepare us [and] make changes to our system better than a lot of the coaches that I had in the past.”
Interesting stuff. One can imagine GM Lou Lamoriello shaking his head vigorously at this sentiment being that he developed a reputation for firing head coaches like hot cakes. (He even stepped behind the bench late in one season because of his itchy trigger finger.)
Hockey is a sport where coaching is becoming increasingly sophisticated, but the Devils’ tradition of success might create a “chicken and the egg” argument regarding DeBoer’s impact. Still, one cannot help but marvel at the Devils’ NHL-record penalty kill – which included decent time for supposedly defensively lacking star Ilya Kovalchuk – as one obvious example of his success. Attribute it to drafting as much as you want, but the development of younger contributors like David Clarkson and Adam Henrique is hard to ignore as well.
Combine DeBoer with NHL greats-turned-assistants in Larry Robinson and Adam Oates and it makes sense that Brodeur would provide such rave reviews.
Ultimately, coaches are judged based upon results more than anything else across sports. In that regard, DeBoer is looking like a big success (or “weapon”).
Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.
Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?