The Devils wrapped a four-game Western road swing on Tuesday with a 2-0 defeat in Vancouver, putting them at 1-2-1 on the trip and 9-10-3 on the season.
The lackluster start has resulted in some questions — specifically, ones about Peter DeBoer’s job security.
“Disappointing,” DeBoer said of the trip, per the Star-Ledger. “I didn’t like the Winnipeg game [3-1 loss on Nov. 18] at all. The other three games I thought we could’ve won all three of them.
“We didn’t and that’s obviously a problem.”
New Jersey looks like a flat team right now, one that lacks fire (or passion… or energy… or any descriptor that’s better than compete level.) It’s something the team was accused of last season, and something that might have DeBoer on the hot seat, according to two of the club’s veteran beat writers.
First, Rich Chere of the Ledger:
Is Pete DeBoer’s job in jeopardy?
Should it be?
The Devils completed a 1-2-1 western Canada road trip with a 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night at Rogers Arena. They are still in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, but they are having trouble putting it all together.
One some nights they cannot protect a lead. On others, they are unable to generate offense…
…Should DeBoer have this team higher in the standings, or has general manager Lou Lamoriello given him a team that will struggle to stay in the race all season?
Are the problems the coach’s fault? Are they the GM’s fault? Or is it too early to even think about changing coaches?
Then, Tom Gulitti of the Record:
If the Devils continue along this way much longer, it would seem inevitable that general manager Lou Lamoriello will have to make some kind of change – either by replacing head coach Pete DeBoer or some significant roster move – to shake up the team.
Although Lamoriello said last week that he still has faith in this coaching staff and believes the players are responding, it seems they have been trudging along this way since last season, in which they won as many as three games in a row only once and that was more than a year ago (November 2013).
The Devils have had some games and stretches within games in which they have played well, but they haven’t been able to consistently put together a 60-minute effort. That was the case again Tuesday.
“We got better as the game went on, but that’s not good enough, obviously, playing 30 minutes out of 60,” center Patrik Elias said.
This is DeBoer’s fourth season in New Jersey. While his tenure started well — a Stanley Cup Final appearance in his first year behind the bench — the team has failed to make the playoffs since, and is currently in its longest postseason drought since the late 80s.