After a streak of 10 consecutive losses essentially ended his club’s playoff hopes, Peter DeBoer said he isn’t thinking about losing his job.
“Doesn’t even cross my mind,” he told Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com. “In the reality of pro sports and hockey it’s not an unfair question.
“It happens all the time, but at ground level where I’m working I don’t think about that and I never have.”
DeBoer probably doesn’t need to worry all that much. He had an outstanding first year on the job in 2011-12, winning 48 games and taking the sixth-seeded Devils to the Stanley Cup finals.
As for this year’s struggles — well, they’ve largely been out of his control.
Injuries to Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk were crucial, as was a team-wide scoring slump during the losing streak, the likes of which GM Lou Lamoriello admitted he’s never seen before.
“Very seldom do you ever see a group as a whole go in a drought,” Lamoriello explained. “Quite frankly [the slump] is one of my unique experience right now because I haven’t seen something like this.”
Of course, DeBoer also knows the age old adage:
Coaches are hired to be fired.
He lasted all of three seasons in Florida before being shown the door, and works for a GM in Lamoriello that’s known for his coaching decisions.
Lamoriello fired Claude Julien in late in the 2007 season, even though the Devils led the Atlantic Division and had the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
He turfed John MacLean 33 games into the 2010 campaign — MacLean’s first year on the job — and replaced him with Jacques Lemaire. Lemaire, of course, was the guy MacLean was brought into replace.
(All told, Lamoriello has made five coaching changes since 2009.)
Despite all this, DeBoer remains focused on the task at hand, and that’s winning hockey games.
“My mindset is we do the best possible job we can to prepare our team and win and other people decide whether that’s good enough or not,” he explained.
“It’s out of my control.”