Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Devils Hired WHO? And the Last New Jersey NBA Schedule

Peter DeBoer as head coach of the Florida Panthers.
Note the ad for the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital,
in nearby Hollywood, Florida.

Finally, the New Jersey Devils have a new head coach.

It's not the old, old coach, Jacques Lemaire.

Nor is it another old coach, Larry Robinson.

Or a recent old coach, John MacLean.

It's... Peter DeBoer.


At the risk of this turning into an Abbot & Costello routine, here goes:

Peter DeBoer is 43 years old, and a native of Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River from Detroit. He was a center who played 7 seasons in the minor leagues, never reaching the NHL.

From 1995 to 2008, he coached in the minors, winning 5 Division titles and the 2003 Memorial Cup -- of course, that was in the system of his "hometown" team, the Detroit Red Wings. His one previous helm of an NHL team, the Florida Panthers, ran the past 3 seasons, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 -- and they did not make the Playoffs.

Not enough money? Bullshit. There's a salary cap now, the South Florida metropolitan area has 5.5 million people -- 10th-largest market in the NHL, 8th if you combine 3-team New York and 2-team Los Angeles into 1 each -- and with all the opportunities for merchandising and promotion, there's no such thing as a "small market" anymore; only management with small imagination.

For a moment, I thought Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello had hired one of the DeBoer twins, who had starred for the great Amsterdam-based soccer team Ajax in the 1990s. Frank de Boer is now Ajax's manager, having just led them to their country's league championship, and his brother Ronald has also retired as an active player.

Both were better players in their sport than Peter DeBoer is in his, and Frank is already, by far, the more accomplished head coach.

Peter DeBoer? Seriously? Is this the best guy Lou Lam could get? Or was he the best guy that the notoriously cheap Lou was willing to pay for?

Either way, Lou needs to have a visit from Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS, and get slapped on the back of his big bald head.

This is a major league bonehead hire, and all the good done in the last 2/3rds of the 2010-11 season is going to evaporate.

If I turn out to be wrong, feel free to remind me. I will gladly eat that crow and humble pie, if I can wash it down with champagne from the Stanley Cup.

UPDATE: At first, it looked like I was very wrong: DeBoer led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals. After that, though, he turned out to be terrible, and was fired. Then he led the San Jose Sharks to the Stanley Cup Finals. He's led 2 different teams to the Finals, but he's 0-2 in them.


Also, the NBA schedule has been released -- a rather optimistic gesture, considering that, like the NFL, the league has officially locked its players out.

Assuming the lockout is settled, and the season opens on time, the Nets open the 2011-12 season on Wednesday, November 2, at the Verizon Center in Washington, against the Wizards.

The 1st home game will be on Saturday, November 5, a 12:00 matinee at the Prudential Center, against the Detroit Pistons.

The last home game of the regular season – and, most likely, the last game the team will ever play under the name "the New Jersey Nets," unless they somehow make the Playoffs – will be on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, an 8:00 start, against the Chicago Bulls. Swell, a good team. Way to set up a victory in the team's finale, boys.

Why do I still care? Bruce Ratner can go fuck himself for all I care, and if Mikhail Prokhorov can't see that Newark can be every bit as good a basketball city as Brooklyn, then he can go fucksky himself with a cold Siberian pitchfork.

Your New Jersey teams, ladies and gentlemen. Oy...

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