Still looking back on the whirlwind of two years or more, Pete DeBoer still reflects on the COVID-19 bubble qualifiers, the next brief season and how it all ended in Las Vegas.
Still not sure why it happened at all.
He is now the coach of the Dallas Stars, who was fired by the Golden Knights in May, and hired for his new position a month later.
And as training camp approaches, his enthusiasm for a new challenge grows.
The stars fell to Calgary in Game 7 of the first-round series last season. Now it’s up to DeBoer to help Dallas reach even greater heights, like when he beat the Knights in 2020 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
“You’re definitely going ahead,” he said. “The coaches divide things. The coaching part has moved out of my mind. I’m excited about Dallas and the group and the people I’m working with. Excited to go.
“But it’s hard to completely walk away from what happened in Vegas because of the circumstances and the situation. It’s going to stay in my head for a while.
“What could we have done differently as employees? There are always things we could have definitely done better.”
Under those circumstances, there wasn’t much there, really.
Injuries are everywhere
The Knights failed to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season. They have also lost nearly 500 games due to injury, many of them to key players, a fact that has led many to believe DeBoer would continue as a coach.
that happens. This happens a lot in the NHL, where training periods are among the shortest in professional sports. Guys are fired all the time.
Rarely does an organization like Tampa Bay or Colorado believe in those who sit on the bench so much, and you’ll suffer some disappointing times and eventually walk out with a high Stanley Cup.
“They had some potholes along the way like we did in Vegas,” said Debor, who went 98-50-12 with the riders. “Listen, sit back and think and look at those numbers and the difference in a boat similar to ours in terms of injury and what they did… We had no chance.
“Now it looks like sour grapes, but we had no chance of success with what we dealt with last year.”
He’ll tackle a team in Dallas that includes a mix of young and old, veterans who need to rediscover their games at a higher level and new faces who need production sooner rather than later.
He had not coached a player in the Knights locker room when he first took over to replace fired Gerard Gallant in January of 2020. In Dallas, he will have his former captain Joe Pavlesky from their time in San Jose as part of the leadership group.
DeBoer said he never felt things were any closer to championship level in Las Vegas than in the short 2020-21 season. The Knights that year fought Colorado for the Presidents Cup, then actually wiped out an avalanche in the playoffs and fell to Montreal in the semi-final series.
They had no obligation to take me back to Vegas. I never felt like they owed me anything. She talked about this—it was training in the old days, ‘Shut up, keep your mouth shut and move on.'” Deborah, 54, said. “I’m very far from this and I’m getting ahead in my career to do it.
“I was surprised (by shooting) when nothing surprised you, especially in this day and age.”
DeBoer has a new challenge, a new job, a new coach side.
Training camp is getting closer and closer. His level of enthusiasm increases with each passing day.
He’s looking forward to the team, to the city, and to working with General Manager Jim Neal, to finally move on from his time here.
“We have to help the group as quickly as possible,” he said. “We have a chance to be good for a while.”
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. It can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN 100.9 FM and 1100 AM radio, 7am-10am Monday through Friday. Follow Tweet embed on Twitter.