March 25 — DeBoer Coaches 1,000 & GM Hot Seats

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

GIROUX GETS TWO IN DEBUT: After spending his career producing at just under a point-per-game with the Philadelphia Flyers (900 points in 1,000 games), Claude Giroux recorded two assists in his debut with the Florida Panthers. Giroux, along with recently acquired defenseman Robert Hägg, assisted on Aleksander Barkov’s goal 36 seconds in the first period, becoming the second-fastest point by an NHL player making his team debut this season and third-fastest in a Panthers debut.

QUICK STRIKE CLIPS WINGS: Speaking of fastest point scored: Anders Lee set up Anthony Beauvillier for a goal nine seconds into the New York Islanders’ 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. It was the fastest goal to start a game in the NHL this season, eclipsing goals scored at the 11-second mark by Tyler Motte (with VAN on Feb. 21) and Giroux (with PHI on Feb. 26). Beauvillier’s tally was the 74th-fastest ever in the NHL and second-fastest in Islanders history (Bryan Trottier, five seconds on March 22, 1984). 

ST. LOUIS ADDS D-1 MENS’ PROGRAM: Lindenwood University, located 20 miles northwest of St. Louis, announced yesterday that the men’s club team playing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) will now transition into an NCAA Division-1 (D-1) program. Coached by former St. Louis Blues defenseman Rick Zombo, Lindenwood won its fourth ACHA National Championship since 2009 and will become the 63rd varsity program in D-1

HIP CHECK: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo’s 2021-22 season has ended, as the 27-year-old will undergo hip surgery to fix a nagging injury. The surgery could spell the end of Korpisalo’s Columbus tenure, with the Finnish netminder set to hit free agency this summer. 

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Maple Leafs Debut First-Ever Reversible Jersey

The Toronto Maple Leafs debuted a new jersey on Wednesday night, designed by Justin Bieber. The jerseys impressed out on the ice, as the team donned black and blue uniforms with a shibori-inspired print and Toronto skyline stitched into the armbands and socks. The best part? Fans can turn the jersey inside out for a black and yellow look with the eyes of the signature smiley logo of drew house etched in the middle of the Leafs’ emblem. 

Kevin Weekes Provides Trade Deadline Entertainment

You win, Kevin Weekes, you win. The NHL Trade Deadline can be very stressful for hockey families and fans, but the broadcaster analyst found a way to provide entertainment throughout the day. He announced the deals in authentic ways that included the side of a highway and a hotel closet. Fans got a kick out of his announcements and appreciated the humor that he brought to an anxious day. 

Giroux Makes His Florida Debut

It officially happened; Claude Giroux hit the ice in a Florida Panthers uniform. His new team visited the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre on Thursday night, where the veteran and former Flyers’ captain had four shots on goal and earned two assists in his team’s win. Considered the biggest marquee acquisition at the trade deadline, Giroux played 1,000 games across 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

Peter DeBoer: Road to 1,000 Games

Last night, Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter Deboer coached his 1,000th regular-season game in the NHL as the Golden Knights beat the Nashville Predators, 6-1. The 53-year-old Ontario native took a long and winding path to get to this point, almost choosing another career following his playing days before coaching three Ontario Hockey League (OHL) teams and three NHL teams before landing his current gig in Vegas. Here is how DeBoer got to 1,000 games coached in the NHL.

Peter DeBoer, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)


DeBoer, whose birth name is George Peter DeBoer, was born on June 13, 1968, in Dunnville, Ontario. A center, he was drafted 237th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1988 NHL Draft. Although he never made it to the NHL, he did play 151 games in the International Hockey League (IHL) between 1989-1991.

Before making the IHL, DeBoer played his minor hockey in the OHL, spending four seasons with the Windsor Compuware Spitfires. He recorded his best season—91 points (45 goals, 46 assists) in 65 games—in 1988-89, his final year with the team and the league. Following juniors, he played two full seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL, and after posting 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) in 82 games in 1990-91, he retired from playing hockey.

After stepping away from hockey, DeBoer went to law school and earned degrees from the Universities of Windsor and Detroit. However, Paul Maurice, his former roommate and teammate, and then-head coach of the OHL’s Detroit Junior Red Wings brought him in as an assistant during the 1994-95 season.


After Maurice left to take a head coaching job in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers in 1995, Detroit promoted DeBoer to head coach and general manager. In his first season at the helm, he led the team—now named the Whalers—to a first-place finish in the division and two playoff series victories.

In six seasons with the Whalers, who changed their location name to Plymouth in 1997, DeBoer led the team to the best regular-season record in the league twice, won two Matt Leyden Trophies as the OHL’s Coach of the Year, and made it to two J. Ross Robertson Cup Finals (both of which the team lost).

After the 2000-01 season, DeBoer left the Whalers for the same position with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. He spent the next seven seasons with the Rangers, winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup twice in Kitchener. After winning that second championship in 2008, while leading the Rangers to a runner-up finish in the Memorial Cup, the NHL offered an opportunity, and he answered the call.


DeBoer was introduced as the head coach of the Florida Panthers on June 13, 2008, leading the team to a 41-30-11 record in his first year. That record equaled the second-highest regular-season point total in the franchise’s history at that time. However, the Panthers missed out on the playoffs via a tiebreaker, and after worse performances the next two seasons, DeBoer was fired in 2011.

It didn’t take long for DeBoer to find another head coaching gig, getting hired by the New Jersey Devils before the 2011-12 season. He led the team to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year, falling to the Los Angeles Kings in six games. The Devils missed the playoffs his next two seasons, and after a 12-17-7 start to the 2014-15 season, New Jersey fired him.

On May 28, 2015, the San Jose Sharks hired DeBoer as head coach. In his first season, the Sharks finished third in their division and made a postseason run, making it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. He led the Sharks to the playoffs the next three seasons, but they didn’t make it back to the Final, and after another slow start to the 2019-20 season (15-16-2), DeBoer and the Sharks parted ways.

On Jan. 15, 2020, the same day they fired Gerard Gallant, the Golden Knights hired DeBoer. He went 15-5-2 at the helm and took the team to the Western Conference Final. In the abbreviated 2020-21 season, Vegas went 40-14-2 and made it to the third round of the postseason. So far this season, DeBoer and the Knights are 35-28-4 and currently sit one point out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

GMs on the Post-Deadline Hot Seat

If the lead-up to the trade deadline stands among the busiest times of year for NHL general managers, then the stretch after it is probably among the nerviest. These front office head honchos have mapped out and executed a vision for their club, with the team’s performance standing as the ultimate measure of their value as executives.

For some, that can mean winning—or else. In a season that has already seen an irregularly high four changes made in the GM’s chair (Chicago, Montreal, Vancouver, and Anaheim), there is a new wave of pressure on other decision-makers across the league:

Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs

Kyle Dubas of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Despite boasting one of the most explosive forward corps in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs are still seeking that elusive first playoff series win since (gulp) 2004. Unsurprisingly, the natives are growing restless. Kyle Dubas has done well to find hidden gems in the draft and sign productive veteran talent on bargain deals but failed to address a glaring need in goal at the deadline. Another early playoff exit for Toronto could be his undoing, along with the expensive “core four” of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares.

Kelly McCrimmon, Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Are the salary cap gods getting their karmic revenge on Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon right now? In constructing a loaded, star-laden roster, McCrimmon has ignored the $81.5 million cap, most notably by adding Jack Eichel’s $10 million contract to an already tight financial situation. Now? Not only have injuries put the team in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time, but attempts to ease the cap strain have been scuttled with the NHL revoking the Evgenii Dadonov trade. Not ideal for an organization with Cup aspirations and long-term salary commitments.

David Poile, Nashville Predators

Long-time Nashville Predators GM David Poile (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Could the job of the league’s longest-tenured GM be in jeopardy? David Poile has spent a quarter-century at the helm in Nashville, but time could be running out. Predators ownership was reportedly unhappy with the club’s performance last season before a torrid stretch from Juuse Saros salvaged a playoff spot (and potentially Poile’s job). It’s going to be a tight finish again, and Nashville’s inactivity at the deadline, coupled with no clarity on the future or Filip Forsberg, doesn’t bode well for Poile.

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