Devils hire Stevens, Oates as coaches after firing DeBoer

New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer becomes the league’s third coaching casualty as it was announced yesterday that the team has relieved DeBoer of his duties and will opt to replace him with co-coaches Scott Stevens and Adam Oates.

Essentially, for the short term, the Devils will have three coaches. Lou Lamoriello, Devils general manager, will put himse135720-650-366lf behind the bench for a short period of time to get a better read on his players and the makeup of the team. Lamoriello said he will step away once he has a better sense of how the new process is working.

“I tried to come up with what, in my opinion, was the best way to get our team to do certain things and get the most out of the personnel we have,” said Lamoriello. “I’m the only one that has the knowledge that I have about what is going on.”

Oates, who coached the Washington Capitals from 2012 to 2014, will focus his efforts working with the forwards. Stevens, formerly a captain of the Devils and part of the team’s three Stanley Cup championships, will work with the defense.

“These were the first two people that I had in mind when I thought it was impossible and unfair at this time to ask any coach to go into that position at this time of year,” said Lamoriello. “Both of these individuals know our players, both have been with our players, both know what [the players] are capable of doing, both know the philosophy, both have been around me.”

Both Oates and Stevens believe that success lies within a return to the defense-first type of play that was so successful for New Jersey in the past.

“The League is a pretty-fast paced League, so you have to be able to play good [defense] and you have to be able to play 200 feet,” Oates said. He added that he would like to see the team score more goals, but not at the expense of solid defense.

The team is currently 28th in the NHL in goals scored per game with an average of 2.11, and 19th in the league in goals against with a 2.72 per-game average.

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