Devils fire Pete DeBoer, no replacement named

The New Jersey Devils have been on a slide since going to the Stanley Cup final in 2012, and coach Pete DeBoer paid the price.

NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils have been on a slide since going to the Stanley Cup final in 2012, and coach Pete DeBoer paid the price.

DeBoer, who took the Devils to the championship round in his first season, was fired Friday, with his aging and short-handed team in danger of missing the playoffs for a third straight season.

Lou Lamoriello, the Devils’ president and general manager, won’t say who will be the next coach until he speaks Saturday with the players, who are on a three-day Christmas break. The Devils will have a pregame skate at the Prudential Center on Saturday morning before playing the Rangers in New York that night.

There are a number of potential candidates, including Adam Oates, a former Devils assistant; Dallas Eakins, who was fired earlier this month by Edmonton; and former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.

Lamoriello has hired a couple of former Montreal Canadiens coaches to lead New Jersey, and Jacques Martin has been in the press box to watch the Devils in their last three home games. He was an assistant under Bylsma last season and was promoted to senior adviser of hockey operations.

New Jersey has been hit with injuries in a 12-17-7 season. It has not won consecutive games since early last month, going 3-8-5 in its last 16. The Devils were missing six regulars to either injury or illness Tuesday night when they lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL’s second-worst team.

“I know that no one wants to hear excuses, and I am not going to make any, but I am definitely not going to throw our guys under the bus,” DeBoer said Tuesday. “Guys are trying.”

The problem is the guys are not as talented as they used to be, and it shows in the standings. The Devils are 14th in the Eastern Conference, nine points out of a playoff berth and fading.

New Jersey has 15 players over the age of 30 on the roster, including 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who is tied for the team lead in scoring. Not only are they old, but the Devils have not gotten much help from their minor leagues in recent years. Defenceman Adam Larsson, the fourth pick overall in 2011, has been a disappointment, and Stephane Matteau, the first-round pick the following season, has one goal with the Devils’ top affiliate this season. DeBoer is the third NHL coach to be fired this season, following Paul MacLean in Ottawa and Eakins.

DeBoer was 114-93-41 in his three-plus seasons with the Devils. Before coming to New Jersey, he coached the Florida Panthers for three years, never making the playoffs.

The 46-year-old DeBoer was hired in 2011-12 and immediately took the Devils to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

The Devils, however, lost Zach Parise to free agency after the season. They took an unexpected blow after the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season when goal-scorer Ilya Kovalchuk left to play in Russia. Those were the team’s two best players, and their losses were keenly felt, especially in shootouts.

The Devils were 0-13 in shootouts last season and 2-6 this season, their first since not re-signing goaltender Martin Brodeur, the longtime face of the three-time Stanley Cup champions.

DeBoer had provided some stability to the Devils’ coaching position. Since winning their last Cup in 2003 under Pat Burns, the Devils have changed coaches nine times, with only Brent Sutter lasting two full seasons until DeBoer came along.

During that span, Lamoriello has twice filled in on an interim basis and Jacques Lemaire has twice come out of retirement to coach the team.

Just Posted

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month