What went wrong in your life in the past 24 months? Well, that’s exactly how long it’s been since the New Jersey Devils saw their last playoff action. That first round blow out in the 2009-2010 season by the Flyers wasn’t any more attractive than Charles Barkley in a dress. But, that was then, and here we are now.
The Devils finished up the regular season with a six game winning streak, and started the post season with another streak. They waited six full days before getting back to action, while 14 other teams began their quest for cup glory.
If anyone was more eager to get started than head coach Pete Deboer, they were probably encouraged to say just that. “The last time I was in this room, I was getting fired,” said Deboer. Coach has gone from being let go by an organization (Florida) milking what he could out of a team of hungry no names to now leading a team full of talent, hard workers, and an all-star goalie to boot to say the least.
Finishing the season 6th in the east, he now stands adjacent to his predecessor, waiting to do the wiggle dance all over a Panthers jersey. Deboer is no slouch when it comes to hard work. He brings the same ethic he instilled not only in Florida, but with all 21 members of the NJ Devils. The New Jersey Devils of then only had five players over the last two seasons break the 20-goal mark. One of those players, Brian Rolston, is no longer with the organization, and the other was a $100 million dollar addition that had a world of expectations to fill.
Now, the Devils were the only team in the 2011-2012 NHL season to have 5+ 20-goal scorers (3-of-5 all hit the 30-goal mark. Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, and David Clarkson).
With the regular season behind them, Deboer can now take his cast of rejuvenated pros to a place where men drink from a 36.5lb cup.