Author: Jason Brough

Peter DeBoer

Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach


Pete DeBoer will be the next head coach of the San Jose Sharks, a source tells ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The announcement will be made before the end of the week, reports LeBrun.

DeBoer was fired by the New Jersey Devils in December, after the club started the season 12-17-7. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011-12, his first season behind their bench, but failed to get them back to the playoffs the following two campaigns.

For most of his time in New Jersey, the Devils were a strong possession team that routinely outshot its opponents. Following the lockout-shortened 2013 season, he said he felt the Devils deserved better than to miss the playoffs.

In San Jose, DeBoer will be tasked with replacing highly regarded Todd McLellan, while taking over a team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

This will be DeBoer’s third head-coaching job in the NHL. He also coached the Florida Panthers for three seasons, from 2008-11.

Miller’s ‘attitude has been outstanding,’ says Brassard

J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard

Just over a year ago, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault offered the following, candid assessment of J.T. Miller:

“He just hasn’t earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis. He needs more commitment. There needs to be more commitment from his part on the ice and off the ice, and until there is, he hasn’t earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis.

“It’s part of any young player going through the process of being an NHL player. You’ve got to figure it out, and hopefully he will, and when he does, we’ll have a good player. And if he doesn’t figure it out, he’ll be a good minor-leaguer.”

Ouch, right?

Well, fast forward to the present, one day after Miller racked up four points in a huge win over the Lightning, and here’s what linemate Derick Brassard had to say about the 22-year-old:

“I think his attitude has been outstanding the past two weeks. He’s been competing really hard. I think he’s energized our line. I remember last game he was trying to push me and [Rick Nash] to be better and to make a difference. He’s a guy with a really good shot, he wins a lot of pucks. He’s a really strong guy, and we need him to be really good to be successful.

“Last night it was just I think he got rewarded with all the hard work he’s been doing the past couple weeks.”

It hasn’t been an easy road to the NHL for the Rangers’ first-round pick in 2011, and he’s still got some developing to do. But we all know how important it is for teams to get contributions from their young players, and with Mats Zuccarello out indefinitely, Miller has picked a great time to prove he can contribute.

Hitch has ‘unfinished business’ with the Blues

Ken Hitchcock

A couple of noteworthy quotes, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, from today’s press conference announcing the re-signing of Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.

First, from Hitchcock:

“This is unfinished business for me. I don’t want to coach to coach. I want to coach to win and I couldn’t find a better spot than to show up right here and coach this hockey club. This is a really good team trying to become a great team. I think I have the tools and the expertise to help them along the way.”

Second, from GM Doug Armstrong:

“Show me a well-liked coach, and I’ll show you a losing coach.”

That Armstrong quote is basically the same thing Blues owner Tom Stillman said recently, when asked about the speculation that some players had been chafing under Hitchcock’s rule.

So, now that the coaching decision has been made, all eyes will be on Armstrong as the draft approaches. The GM all but guaranteed there will be changes to the roster, though as he did last month, he fell short of guaranteeing a blockbuster trade.

Related: ‘I’ve got no issues’ with Hitchcock, says Blues captain Backes