Driven DeBoer delivers Devils back to NHL's elite

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 27, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 26: With New Jersey Devils team president Lou Lamoriello (L) by his side, head coach Jacques Lemaire (R) announces his retirement at the Prudential Center on April 26, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Peter DeBoer, in the eyes of many, was a surprise choice as the next coach of the New Jersey Devils. Fresh off the franchise's worst season in recent memory, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello last summer turned to DeBoer to rescue a team that was low on morale, lower on scoring punch and desperate for a new identity. But why DeBoer? In three seasons with Florida, he could not push the Panthers into the postseason once. ''You have to go through ups and downs,'' Lamoriello said on July 19, 2011, after introducing DeBoer. ''I think what he went through (in Florida) just made him a better coach. And I felt that in the conversations we had - because of the questions that were asked - the answers that were given were open, down to earth and honest.'' Some 10 months later, DeBoer has more than answers. He has results. After leading New Jersey to 102 points in the regular season and placing the Devils back in the playoffs after missing the tournament last year for the first time since 1996, DeBoer calmly quarterbacked the organization's fifth run to the Stanley Cup finals. The Devils will host Game 1 vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday.
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