Tag: Ilya Kovalchuk

Peter DeBoer

Devils’ DeBoer: Job security ‘doesn’t even cross my mind’

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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.”

Slump busted: Devils beat Flyers 3-0 to end 10-game losing skid

Martin Brodeur, David Clarkson, Mark Fayne, Marek Zidlicky

The Devils can no longer say they’re winless without Ilya Kovalchuk.

New Jersey took out the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 at Wells Fargo Center to snap a 10-game losing streak that began when Kovalchuk went down with a shoulder injury. Ryan Carter, Matt D’Agostini, and Adam Henrique all scored for New Jersey while Martin Brodeur won his 667th game with a shutout, saving 23 shots.

The win helps keep the Devils hopes of landing in the playoffs alive as they’re up to 42 points in the standings, six points behind the eighth place Rangers. That works out conveniently drama-wise as those two teams have two games remaining against each other. The first of those will be Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is hard up against the brink of elimination. They’re seven points back of the Rangers with just four games left to play. A Rangers win tomorrow night against Buffalo would officially knock them out of the playoff race.

If you missed tonight’s game on NBCSN, here are the highlights.

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers, Devils battle for pride

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 15: Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers faces off with Travis Zajac #19 of the New Jersey Devils on March 15, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers went on to defeat the Devils 2-1 in a shoot-out. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

Just under a year ago, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils battled in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Devils winning that series in five games.

Barring a miracle, neither team will make the playoffs in 2013, so this will almost certainly be their final opportunity to face each other before the summer.

The Devils have dominated the season series, winning three games over the Flyers before narrowing losing a shootout to Philadelphia on March 15.

Those games against Philadelphia must seem so long ago in New Jersey. At the time, they looked like a good bet to make the playoffs. Then Ilya Kovalchuk suffered a shoulder injury and they haven’t won since.

That’s 10 straight defeats for the Devils. To make matters worse, they have played 120:37 minutes without scoring a single goal.

“Absurd is a good word for it,” DeBoer said after a 2-0 loss to Toronto on Monday. “I don’t have an answer. I know the guys are emptying the tank.”

Kovalchuk won’t be able to come back and save them tonight. He might not return at all this season.

“I don’t know. I’m taking this day to day, literally,” coach Pete DeBoer told the Star-Ledger. “I’m not looking beyond. He’s not ready for Philly. Let’s look at Florida (Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center).”

With or without him, the Devils need this win. Not for the sake of keeping their bleak playoff hopes alive, just to simply put themselves in a position where maybe they can enter the summer with some kind of silver lining.

The Flyers likely want the same thing. They’ve won their last two games and while their chances of advancing to the postseason are equally bleak, they still have their pride. So these teams will fight and hope that 2013-14 will go differently.

Probable goaltenders: NJD – Martin Brodeur (10-8-7, 2.25 GAA, .901 SV%) | PHI – Steve Mason (4-8-1, 2.70 GAA, .908 SV%)

Top scorers: NJD – Patrik Elias (11-20-31, 42 GP) | PHI – Claude Giroux (13-31-44, 43 GP)

Notable Injuries:
New Jersey – Forwards: Kovalchuk Defensemen: Bryce Salvador (wrist)
Philadelphia – Forwards: Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Maxime Talbot (leg), Jody Shelley (hip), Ruslan Fedotenko (upper body) Defensemen: Bruno Gervais (stomach), Kent Huskins (concussion), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion), Chris Pronger (concussion)

Devils coach on 10-game skid: ‘Absurd is a good word for it’


The New Jersey carried much of the play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday but their misery continued with a 2-0 loss, pushing the Devils’ losing streak to 10 games (0-6-4).

It’s pretty easy to argue that the Devils suffered from lousy luck tonight, though. They nearly tripled the Buds’ shots on goal, firing 32 to Toronto’s 13. They couldn’t beat James Reimer once, however, prompting a flustered response from head coach Peter DeBoer to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere.

“Absurd is a good word for it,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have an answer. I know the guys are emptying the tank.”

Longtime Devils forward Patrik Elias admitted that he couldn’t recall a stretch like this while Travis Zajac echoed DeBoer’s befuddlement.

“It’s kind of a sickening feeling,” Zajac said. “I feel like we deserve better.”

Chere spells out just how dry the Devils’ offense has been.

Martin Brodeur insists that he hasn’t lost faith in his team, but it’s possible that it’s already too late for the Devils to turn things around.

While the Devils face long odds to avoid an early vacation, the Maple Leafs pushed their standings total to 53 points, solidifying their spot in fifth place and making a playoff berth seem that much more likely.

Related: Report – Ilya Kovalchuk could return Thursday

Report: Devils could get Kovalchuk back on Thursday


The ice-cold New Jersey Devils might just get crucial winger Ilya Kovalchuk back on Thursday, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Devils head coach Peter DeBoer continues to label the Russian star as day-to-day. He sat out Monday’s loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it sounds like he has at least a shot at playing later this week against the Philadelphia Flyers.

That would be a great relief for New Jersey, a team that hasn’t won a single game (0-6-4) since he suffered a shoulder injury on March 23.

DeBoer spoke to the Star-Ledger about how much Kovalchuk, 30, means to the Devils.

“Ilya either creates himself or, in an indirect way, creates at least a goal a game for us in my mind. A lot of nights, if you look at the nine-game stretch, that would’ve been the difference either in winning or getting points,” DeBoer said. “We have to fill that void other ways. Our power play hasn’t helped with that. Some other guys have to step up and help fill that, too.”

The Devils trail the eighth-ranked New York Rangers by six points and now have one fewer game left to catch up. The obvious question, then, is if Kovalchuk’s return might end up happening too late.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)