The results of the past two NHL seasons have been tough to accept for Devils coach Pete DeBoer.
After the lockout-shortened campaign of 2013, DeBoer said he thought his team deserved a better fate than missing the playoffs.
Then, in 2013-14 — after star forward Ilya Kovalchuk “retired” from the league — the Devils missed the playoffs again, thanks in large part to an absurd 0-13 record in the shootout.
So, despite a pair of non-playoff seasons that could be tempting to chalk up to bad luck, does DeBoer believe he’s on the hot seat heading into 2014-15?
Yep, he does.
“In this business, you go in every year knowing that that’s a fact,” DeBoer said, per The Record. “There’s no hiding from that. It doesn’t matter whether you have a 10-year contract or a one-year contract. I approach every year like we have to get this team to overachieve and play to its potential or there’s consequences. That’s the reality of pro sports. That doesn’t even factor into my mind. That’s just, being a coach for 20 years, something you deal with yearly.”
DeBoer has coached six seasons in the NHL. He missed the playoffs all three tries in Florida, after which he was fired. The only time his team qualified in New Jersey, it went all the way to Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Kings in 2012.
But that trip to the Final is becoming more of a distant memory for Devils fans. At the very least, they’re pining for some playoff excitement again. And if they don’t get it, DeBoer knows he may pay the price with his job.