Photo: NJ.com

There have been New Jersey Devils fans on the “Fire DeBoer” bandwagon for some time now, but since the start of the 2014-15 campaign the tension has risen and Devils head coach Peter DeBoer has given fans a reason to want him gone.

Start with the team’s less-than-impressive 9-11-4, with 22 points that has them in 5th in the Metropolitan Division but would put them in last or second-to-last place in any other division. Add to that two separate 4-game losing streaks in the month of November for 10 losses altogether that month.

The Devils have been inconsistent at best when it comes to goaltending provided by Cory Schneider. The guy’s a good goalie, but he’s at his best when he plays a couple of games followed by a night off. Instead, he played 20 consecutive games to start the season, going 9-9-2 in that span and 9-10-3 overall (one loss he played in was credited as a loss to backup Keith Kinkaid).

That record isn’t entirely Schneider’s fault. Sometimes, the offense doesn’t show up. In his 11 regulation losses this season, 10 of those were games when the Devils scored 2 or fewer goals, and twice the team was shut out.

Even worse than the lack of offense, though, is the fact that DeBoer decided to keep Schneider in net for 20 straight games, and three straight since his one night off. There have been eight games when Schneider allowed four or more goals. A good coach, a coach who knows how to manage a team, doesn’t allow a goalie to continue to start long stretches like that when he’s performing the way that Schneider has been.

The worst part about how badly DeBoer has been coaching this team is that it’s not a bad group of players. The roster is full of talent, young and old. Although there have been notable injuries, there are also good, healthy players that aren’t being pushed to perform the way that they can.

Take Michael Ryder, for example. Ryder is fourth on the team in points, with four goals and eight assists. He’s played in all 24 games on various lines, but is a healthy scratch versus the Penguins tonight to make room in the lineup for Adam Henrique and Scott Gomez. Ryder is capable of producing good numbers; last season, the line of Ryder, Henrique, and Ryane Clowe scored 50 goals for the Devils.

Ryder’s a talented player who’s put everything into the game all season long. Now, he’s being healthy scratched against the toughest team in the division, in favor of Gomez and Henrique, one who hasn’t played all season and the other who’s been injured twice already.

The Devils have a multitude of problems this season, but they all boil down to their head coach. DeBoer’s worth was heightened by success three seasons ago, that only happened because of players like Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, David Clarkson, and Martin Brodeur. It didn’t happen because of DeBoer and it isn’t happening now. The longer he coaches, the deeper they dig themselves into a hole that won’t see playoffs for a long time.

Emily grew up a misplaced New Jersey Devils fan in the southeastern part of Virginia, and moved to West Virginia in 2011 to pursue a journalism degree at WVU. She's always enjoyed going to AHL games in Norfolk, and in the spring of 2012, she fell in love with the sport all over again when the Norfolk Admirals won the Calder Cup championship, and the Devils knocked off their two biggest rivals to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Now, when she's not working at a WVU club hockey game, she spends the better part of her free time watching games to be around the sport as much as possible.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Not that I’m really defending DeBoer here, but your arguments are pretty flimsy.

    “The roster is full of talent, young and old.” Young talent? Oh really? I’ll agree that the Devils have a set of nice young d-men that should develop into top (Merill, Severson) or second (Larsson, Gelinas – maybe) pairing defensemen. But where exactly is the young talent up front, save for Henrique? (Zajac ain’t that young)

    “Take Michael Ryder, for example.” Yes, let’s. In 10 seasons in the league (this is his 11th), he’s been on 4 different teams. His longest tenure was 4 years with Montreal, the team that drafted him. Valuable players don’t make it to 4 different teams during their 20’s. And my god has this guy been a defensive liability everywhere he’s played (including New Jersey).

    “Last season, the line of Ryder, Henrique and Ryane Clowe scored 50 goals for the Devils.” No they didn’t. They scored 50 goals COMBINED. Not as a line. Unfortunately, Left Wing Lock doesn’t have line production figures for last year, but it was a helluva lot less than 50 goals for that line. For one thing, Henrique scored the majority of his goals last year when Patrick Elias was his center.

  2. Emily,

    The team is not loaded with talent. If you’ve been watching this season, they’ve been skated around like they’re a group of orange cones with devils jerseys. 42 year old Jagr and Camallieri are the only two consistent scorers on this team. They’re playing a 3rd line center in zajac on the first line. Ryder hasn’t had a goal in 11 games and he dissapears for stretches offensively as we saw last season. In addition, the guy plays no defense. I admit i’m not big on gomer starting either, but the guy actually drove the play forward, and I never thought I’d see it, but played great the last 2 games. There are other problems though, Patty is done, he has 1 goal in 20+ games and looks slow and old out there(frankly he is). The captain is the worst player on the team. The “offensive defenseman” zidlicky gives up more goals than he produces at the worst times. Theres a decent young D-corps in NJ, not phenominal, but decent. That’s it. Overall though, there’s no talent, and not even Jaques Lemaire could fix this mess of a team. They are what they are. 1 point per game.

  3. DeBoer problem is the same as it is for old fashion scoccer coaches in Europe. They believe in not allowing a goal is the first only reason to win. But the game has changed, high pressure, direct passing and so on is the winning formular today. An old fashion Coach may win a game, but will a lot of others. I gues in hockey it is the same, DeBoer maybe just does not know better. Time for change i assume.

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