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Coach vs Coach: How Does Pete DeBoer Stack Up With Western Conference Opponents?

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Pete DeBoer has been a head coach in the NHL since 2008. He’s stood behind the bench of four different teams while coaching 965 regular season games. He’s brought two different teams to the Stanley Cup Final, has been to the Conference Final five times, and has coached 123 playoff games.

Add it all up and it’s fair to say DeBoer has seen and done pretty much everything as a coach except for that one ultimate thing.

The plan this year is for him to tick that final box and to do it he’ll have to guide another stacked Golden Knights team through the rest of this regular season and then past four different opponents in the playoffs. It’s that last part where he really becomes the focal point.

But let’s start with the regular season, where DeBoer has been nothing short of dominant as the coach of the Golden Knights. He’s led VGK to a 75-31-4 record good for a .700 points percentage or a 115 point regular season pace.

Thanks to some help from MoreHockeyStats.com, we can see that DeBoer has not only dominated most Pacific Division coaches while in Vegas, but over his entire career (except for one).

Dallas Eakins (ANA): 12-4
Bob Boughner (SJS): 9-3
Dave Hakstol (SEA): 8-2
Darryl Suter (CGY): 14-10
Todd McLellan (LAK): 20-18
Dave Tippett (EDM): 11-12
Bruce Boudreau (VAN): 14-24

Eakins, Hakstol, and Boughner are the coaches he’s been most successful against in the Pacific, but they all pale in comparison to DeBoer’s 9-win advantage on Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. This brings us to the postseason.

It’s in the playoffs that coaching takes on its most importance. Scheming and preparing a team on exactly how to beat your opponent and then adjusting as the series goes on is what takes coaches from good to great to legendary. We’ve seen both sides of it with DeBoer’s plan dominating the Avalanche while it fell apart against Dallas and Montreal.

DeBoer has led the Golden Knights to four postseason series victories and a record of 22-17 before bowing out to a pair of interim coaches in Rick Bowness of the Stars and Dominique Ducharme of the Canadiens.

Obviously, Boudreau’s name pops off the page as the new frontman of the Vancouver Canucks. The two have never faced off in a playoff series, but DeBoer’s 14-24 record vs. Boudreau is certainly scarier than the 12-6 advantage he had over Travis Green. Here are his records against other potential Western Conference playoff match-ups.

John Hynes (NSH): 8-2
Jared Bednar (COL): 20-11
Craig Berube (STL): 14-11
Dean Evason (MIN): 9-8
Rick Bowness (DAL): 4-4
Dave Lowry (WPG): 0-0

Looking through the list, there are a lot of coaches DeBoer has gotten the better of. Bring on Anaheim, San Jose, Seattle, Nashville, or Colorado. But let’s stay away from Vancouver and maybe Edmonton or Dallas again.

Oh, and one more name to keep an eye on… DeBoer is 15-14 against Gerard Gallant including 6-7 in the playoffs (but we all know that should be 5-8).

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29 Comments

  1. Tim

    You have to give DeBoer kudos on his record while coach of the Knights. Personally I’ll never look at him behind the bench and feel good about him coaching the team. Maybe because he coached the hated Sharks, maybe because Gallant was our coach not sure I’ll ever get over that. That’s all history this is our team and this is our coach and the past is history.

    • Hi Tim – Merry Christmas – very astute observation and one I am sure many feel the same way about but would never come out and say so. I hope he is able to tick off the one missing win but based on history I wouldn’t bet the farm on that happening. I don’t see the current goalie tandem capable of making that happen but who knows, hopefully I am wrong. In the meantime, enjoy the season. You are one of the few realists who post on this site.

      • Realists biker, am I not one? You’ll have to answer to me if Eichel has anything near an immediate impact! Anywhere near means within a few games.

        • Pistol Pete – relax, when the time comes and proves to be true you will definitely hear from me. I said there were a few and addressed that remark to Tim. We, you and I, will have to come to some conclusion regarding the definition of immediate impact – that’s down the road. I have been around the game of hockey probably before you were born. If Eichel turns out to be all you believe he can bring to the table, which I hope he does great, I will be there with you singing his praise. It’s all about performance not yesterday but game by game today. Many people on this site are caught up in the past with stats etc. which if that lights their fire fine, but that doesn’t correct poor performance today.

          • Pistol Pete

            Hi biker…I graduated from the same prep school Shayne Gostisbehere did only me 1971 him 2014. He was also by magnitudes a better player than I was however I did play play first team there. Now they play something called Selects Academy an elevated level from my era. That league produces a lot of NCAA Division I players, more than when I played. I kind of doubt at 68 you were around the game much before I was born!

    • Mike StG

      Well said Tim. Although I was not happy when they let Gallant go I do accept PDB as the coach. But it took me about 18 months to really feel positive about him, likely for the same reasons you said.

      On another related point, people always say ‘well he never won a Cup so he won’t do it in Vegas either’. That’s an illogical claim, because until any coach actually wins it all the same could be said of them.

      Barry Trotz didn’t win the Cup until 2018, which is 20 yrs after he first became a head coach. Quenneville coached for 14 years before his first cup. And, Daryl Sutter was head coach for 20 years before his first cup win in LA.

      Add to that the fact that the cap era has created more parity among teams, which makes it even more difficult. So, I don’t think the book is written on PDB just yet, who is currently in his 14th season as a head coach.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

      • Pistol Pete

        Probably history said something similar of Trotz, Sutter and many others until they finally won a Cup. That’s one reason I question your PDB skepticism. History may prove you out that PDB is not good enough the win a Cup, but you’ll have to answer to us if he does!

    • Daryl

      I watched PDB since he was with the NJD. I’m not a fan as most on here know, but it has nothing to do with SJS. PDB has taken over some great teams and had amazing first years, but then it’s downhill after that. Last year was his first full year in VGK and he was blessed with having to play on conference teams which they pretty much destroyed. Then come playoffs and he gets out coached. This season, the team has taken a step back. Sure you can blame it on covid and injuries, but every team is facing those situations.

      Who knows, maybe VGK finds a way to come thru under PDB in the playoffs. We’ll have to wait and see, but history says otherwise

      • Pistol Pete

        Probably history said something similar of Trotz, Sutter and many others until they finally won a Cup. That’s one reason I question your PDB skepticism. History may prove you out that PDB is not good enough the win a Cup, but you’ll have to answer to us if he does!

        • Daryl

          If VGK wins a Cup I’ll be more than happy to eat my words 🙂

        • Daryl

          Most on here don’t know anything about PDB except from his time with SJS. I’ve seen him back when he was with the NJD. Although I was t very familiar with him, a lot of comments about him now where similar to comments I heard back then.

          As for some of the other guys, I’ve mostly heard positive things about them. At times I’ve heard they were a great coach but they just couldn’t win the big game. As you said, that is true of all coaches until they do win. PDB can always prove me wrong, so we’ll have to wait and see

          • Blitz

            PDB ran him self out of town in SJ and then got handed keys to a winner here. I don’t put alot of stock in his winning ways here. I am sure there are alot of other coaches out there who would thrive if given the keys to this team. I don’t like PDB. Some of it is his style of play (coaching) and some of it is him personally. Regardless, here I am rooting him on.

          • Daryl

            @Blitz
            Im here also rooting for the team, which means I’m also rooting for PDB. But I do agree with you, this was a very stacked and talented team and just about any coach VGK decided to hire would be winning as well.

    • Jordan

      True true me either but deboar also got a good team to come too so idk bro how much of that stat line is true lol

  2. knights fan in minny

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to all golden knights fans ready for hockey

  3. Tim

    Surprise surprise more games cancelled. Did anyone really think we’d play before New Years? It’s kind of like the airlines when they have a plane crash they’ll tell you first 32 confirmed deaths but we all know all 120 passengers and crew are dead but they ease it in on us. The NHL playing the same game although we know it’s all bullshit. All players have had two shots and the booster and this hasn’t stopped anything so you have to assume the shots weren’t that effective. They’ll spin the story if you didn’t get the shots you’d be worse off is that true or not we really don’t know. The way there playing games and every sniffle or cough puts you in Covid protocol then you might as well cancel the season. I guess the days of having the flu and a cold are over now everything is Covid related. My two favorite sports first baseball my first love is done because millionaires are fighting with billionaires and now hockey has cowed done to the Covid on the side of caution. The way I feel I don’t like living on pins and needles never knowing what the next day will bring so shut the whole goddam thing down and we’ll find something else to do.

  4. sb

    Never understood the hatred heaped on DeBoer by some at this site. In his first 82 games with VGK’s, his win average was .731. In the history of the NHL, only Scotty Bowman, with the Wings and Montreal, had 82 game seasons with a higher win percentage. Commentors to this site have said absolutely horrible things about this man including repeatedly calling him an idiot. Finally some truth is written about this coach. Long overdue.

    • Daryl

      I’m sure you will have something to say about this, but the Pacific was a joke last year, and most years. Yes winning that many games is impressive but part of it was solidified by an HoF goalie who had a great year and playing against the weakest teams in the NHL over and over again.

    • Galdom

      SB, I concur. Some healthy constructive criticism is never a bad thing. At times it appeared that Travis Green who is unemployed now may have gotten the better of DeBoer at times in the playoffs. The lack of success on the power-play has been frustrating. But to call DeBoer an idiot is just ridiculous. He’s been coaching for 30 years. 14 years in junior with a couple of championship seasons and 16 years in the NHL. 16 consecutive years. He is never unemployed. When he does become available he is immediately hired. HE IS NOT AN IDIOT

  5. My opinion: Vegas fans had negative feelings about Deboer not just because he coached the Sharks, a major rival…it was HOW the Sharks played the game. They played a dirty game. I recall a playoff game, when Reaves was attacked with the butt end of Joe Thornton’s hockey stick. With the ref’s back turned, Thornton repeatedly hit Reaves’ head with his stick, knowing the refs would miss it. It was a signature move by a dirty team. Note Thornton was traded…
    And: as a footnote: when we hired Deboer, at his first presser he described the Knights as playing an “honest” game…a covert comparison to his former Sharks. My opinion, no more.

  6. My opinion: Vegas fans had a negative opinion of Coach Deboer, NOT just because he had coached a major rival in the Sharks. It was HOW the Sharks played. They played a dirty game. I recall a playoff game when Reaves was attacked by the Butt End of Joe Thornton’s stick. Thornton repeatedly hit Reaves in the head, with ref’ s back turned. He knew the refs would miss it. Dirty hockey. Note Thornton was traded.
    A footnote: when we hired PDB, at his 1st presser he noted that Vegas plays an ” HONEST GAME”… a covert reference to the Sharks game, I believe. Just my opinion, no more…

  7. My opinion: Vegas fans were negative toward PDB not only because he coached a major rival in the Sharks, but it was HOW the Sharks played…they played a “dirty” game. I recall a playoff game against them, when Reaves was attacked by the BUTT END of Thornton’s stick. Thornton repeatedly struck the back of Reave’s head, with the ref’s back turned. Thornton KNEW how to get away with it. Dirty hockey. Note Thornton has been traded.
    Footnote: at PDB’S 1ST Presser after being named Vegas’ coach, he commented that Vegas plaed an “honest game”, a covert reference to his old team’s style if play, I believe. My opinion, no more…

  8. My opinion: Vegas fans were negative toward PDB not just because Sharks were a major rival, but because of HOW the Sharks played– a dirty game.
    I recall a playoff game against Sharks, when Reaves got attacked by the Butt End of Thornton’s stick. Thornton repeatedly struck the back of Reaves’ head, behind the ref’s back. He knew how to get away with it. Dirty Hockey. Note that Thornton has been traded.
    Footnote: at PDB’S 1st presser after being named Vegas’ coach, he commented that Vegas plays an ” honest game”. ..a covert reference to the Sharks style of play, I believe. Just my opinion, no more…

    • Alex

      Displaying total hockey ignorance in multiples of 4 only makes you even dumber than even I thought…

  9. Galdom

    I’m not sure what it is that you guys want from Pete DeBoer. It’s difficult to quantify exactly where the coaches strengths and weaknesses are when you are not in the actual room. The New Jersey Devils team that he coached to the finals was very average. They were the sixth seed in the east and they knocked out the number one seed in the Rangers to get to the finals. They lost to an extremely hot Kings team in the Stanley Cup finals four games to two, a kings team that only lost three total games in the first three rounds.

    I thought he did well with the Sharks as well. Coached them to the finals in 2016 when they didn’t even rank in the top 10 in the league in points. Is he a bad coach because they didn’t beat the Pittsburgh penguins in the finals???

    To say he was run out of town and San Jose is a bit harsh. Every coach has a shelf life. Wasn’t the great Gerard Gallant run out of town in Vegas. every coach that is fired is technically run out of town I guess.

    His win loss record is ridiculously good with Vegas. I don’t see where he would be the problem. he’s probably got about two years left in Vegas unless they win the cup. And then they will move on to someone else. I don’t think he’s going to lose them a series. He’s been far too successful and experienced to actually negatively impact the team. A hockey analyst I used to listen to when I was a kid, Harry Neale, used to say show me a good goalie and I will show you a good coach. If Vasilevskiy isn’t Vezina calibre for the past two seasons Tampa doesn’t win a cup and we continue to look at Jon Cooper as the guy that couldn’t get it done. DeBoer looks like a phenomenal coach last year because Fleury was lights out. If Lehner is average this year DeBoer won’t look so good.

    Maybe I’m trying to simplify too much. There is more to coaching than just your goaltending performance obviously. But…… in my opinion he has done an extraordinary coaching job this year as the team not only stayed afloat but persevered through an injury situation that I don’t ever remember seeing. How many of us on this forum we’re praying that they were just tread water and be within a few points of the playoff spot by the Olympic break?

    • Daryl

      Sorry, but I disagree with most of what you said. The NJD team was stacked, not even close to average. That team should have done so much better during the regular season and just about every one of their fans would tell you that.

      Yes he did well with the Sharks, but they too very n extremely talented team playing in a very weak conference.

      And no, Gallant wasn’t run out of VGK. Most fans didn’t want him to leave, it was the FO who made that decision. That’s the difference, there were a lot of Sharks fans who wanted PDB gone.

      The last part I do completely agree with you on. A great goalie can make a coach look great. Sometimes a coach and overwork a goalie, especially as they get older so at times, a goalie slipping has a little to do with bad decisions on the coach

  10. Galdom

    And Pete DeBoer was going to go to the Olympics and be part of the coaching staff for Team Canada. Why would Team Canada want to bring an idiot to be part of their coaching staff???

    • Daryl

      These coaches are usually picked on the success of a team, not always based on the cirre t year but also the previous year.

      For the record, I don’t think PDB is an idiot or not a good coach… I do think he is a good coach, just not good enough to take this team further than they should go. The comment that he made a couple years ago about not changing game plans says it all to me. It’s been a criticism of his since his time with the NJD. I also have an issue with his special teams coach, a close friend of his. If he wasn’t a friend, he would be gone by now

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