Coach Peter DeBoer is notoriously bad at handling and developing young players. He was run out of the Florida Panthers organization after terrorizing players and young prospects from behind the bench.
Former Panthers prospect Michal Repik stated in an article by the SunSentinel from November, 2011,
“With Pete, it’s one mistake and you’re like shaking for the rest of the game.”.
He also added
“Last year I came here from the farm team to make an impression. To go out there you are scared to play; that’s not the right thing for us.”
Repik has since gone overseas to the KHL after a few stints in the NHL over four seasons. Dmitry Kulikov said similar things about DeBoer’s treatment of younger players.
DeBoer was described in the article as a headmaster or a tyrant, striking fear in the players rather than helping them grow and improve. The same thing is happening before our eyes in New Jersey.
These players want a pat on the back and to be picked up by their coach after making a mistake. They want the opportunity to learn and make up for it on the next shift. All players make mistakes, especially young players who are developing their game to become the best they can be. But striking terror in them ultimately makes them play worse.
Players like Adam Larsson, Jacob Josefson, Andrei Loktionov and now Eric Gelinas are all going through similar situations as Repik and Kulikov. It is frustrating and very damaging to the development of the players. Some may say that they need to be in the NHL right now in order to develop and blossom into the best players possible, but I disagree.
Gelinas and Larsson are breathing sighs of relief right now because they get to play for a very personable Rick Kowalsky and the Albany Devils. Gelinas only played in the first period of Thursday’s overtime win against the Dallas Stars before being benched for the second and third periods. By the grace of the hockey gods, DeBoer put him in the overtime period where he was pivotal in the game-winning play.
With facts like these being noticed by the Devils community fans should want DeBoer gone immediately. He is a good hockey coach, but not a good player coach and an even worse developmental coach.
The Devils need to part ways with DeBoer this offseason at the latest. He is going to run this team into the ground with the future defensive talent and young forward Reid Boucher arising from the AHL.
There are a few names out there available for coaching jobs, Peter Laviolette and Guy Boucher to name a few. There is a bigger problem than most people even know, and the facts are starting to be revealed. If the Devils want to be successful in the next few years they must exorcize the tyrant from the locker room.