The New Jersey Devils struggled through the first round of these 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, needing back-to-back overtime wins in Games 6 and 7 just to fend off the Florida Panthers, the consensus worst team in the postseason this year. One of the major storylines in that series was that of Devils head coach Pete DeBoer, who was fired less than a calendar year ago by the Panthers as they overhauled the entire organization down in Sunrise, Fla.
Despite the firing and the relative success achieved by Florida during the 2011-12 season, however, Panthers fans are not surprised about the success seen by DeBoer in these playoffs. Via Litter Box Cats:
Granted DeBoer was gifted to a roster light years ahead of the ones he had in Florida, but don't let that guide you to the conclusion the roster makes the coach. DeBoer still makes questionable line swaps and keeps his emotions under lock and key, but these nuances don't mean much when a coach transitions so smoothly into a new environment and perfectly compliments the makeup of his team.
DeBoer wasn't stupid, he was calculated. He went through the same learning curve as current Panthers coach [Kevin] Dineen is going through, the only difference is that Dineen was equip with a purpose. Both had their shortcomings, but Dineen's weren't highlighted since his team was winning. DeBoer never had that luxury, and when he was fired fans knew he wasn't quite to blame, it was just a necessary change.
Stick with SBNation.com for full Stanley Cup Finals coverage. For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out Devils blog In Lou We Trust. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown and SB Nation Los Angeles.