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DeBoer Starting To Implement Changes Sooner Than Even He Expected

(Photo Credit: Ron Futrell, 8 News Now)

When Pete DeBoer took over as head coach of the Golden Knights we knew there would be changes. He mentioned his “non-negotiables” which included shorter shifts, something Vegas implemented in their very first game with DeBoer behind the bench.

But DeBoer said he was hesitant to adopt too many changes too quickly fearing information overload.

My biggest fear coming in was to overwhelm them with information, which slows you down, you’re thinking too much. So when I initially came in and got the job I said I’m not going to do that. –DeBoer on SLGND Podcast

DeBoer has been a head coach in the NHL, for a long time, 12 years to be exact, but he’s never taken over a team in the middle of the season. So, he’s leaned on the advice of his friends who have, one of which being Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice.

In doing so, DeBoer decided it would be best to use the first three games to observe. After one game and one practice, there’s already by a shift.

I’ve given them a little bit more than maybe I’d planned a couple days ago because the group has impressed me with their intelligence and their ability to pick up on some things, so that’s something that’s moving on the fly. –DeBoer on VGK Insider Show

Over the course of the first three years, the Golden Knights systems have remained essentially the same. Under Gerard Gallant, line changes were common, but the style of play never changed.

Save for one key moment earlier this season when the Golden Knights introduced their new zone defensive scheme (VGKD 2.0). According to all accounts, that system change was implemented in a single day and without ever even practicing it on the ice. It wasn’t perfect but they were able to put it into action and ended up winning the first game using it in Nashville.

We threw a bunch of different stuff at them. They were dialed in. They executed. (They asked) a lot of good questions. -DeBoer after practice on 1/17

DeBoer credits most of the 180 in philosophy change to the intelligence of the players in the room, but also believes the schedule dictated it.

Part of the reason too is we have some real practice time here on this trip. Today and in Boston (on Monday). Coming out of the break that trip doesn’t set up as well after 10 days off and I wanted to get them thinking about some of these things before they went on a 10-day break.- DeBoer on SLGND Podcast

He didn’t hint at anything specific but that won’t stop us from reading into what he did say. (He’ll get used to it eventually too.)

They are built differently. In San Jose, I had a team built around elite skilled defensemen in Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. We tried to play our systems to maximize their puck touches and their ability to get them the puck in the right places on the ice. Vegas is built a little differently. They are more top-heavy with their skill up front. So, we’re going to have to try and maximize that a little bit more. -DeBoer on VGK Insider Show

To borrow from the great Bob Dylan, I feel a change comin’ on.

And you’ll start to see it as soon as tonight in Montreal.

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8 Comments

  1. Tim

    It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. One thing I found out from Pete DeBoer’s few interviews is he does have a sense of humor. Hopefully he can put more passion into the players and we see a better product. Gallant will always be revered by the players and fans but we were in a rut and something had to be done.Bill Foley wants to win a cup and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

  2. Mike F

    I am giving DeBoer a fair shake to show that he is the man for the job. He didn’t fire Gallant, he just took a damn good job that was offered to him. The only thing is is that I just can’t help but dry heave when I see him talk to the press in VGK gear. Hopefully it will pass soon.

  3. DOC Williams

    I agree … I like his attitude, sense of humor and overall the way he is handling things. I am ready to give him a fair chance!

  4. Rosalie

    Even though I will always have a sentimental affection for Gerard Gallant and hold him in the highest regard, I’m feeling better about the changes made in personnel quicker than I thought. Looking forward to Pete DeBoer’s success with VGK.

  5. We are Golden Knight supporters and love what they have accomplished. We will miss Galliant no question – he did a great job with a bunch who had no home until they arrived here. Unfortunately some went by the way side which many of you have so well stated which is a shame no question. They didn’t realize they weren’t suppose to win and played accordingly. That said I frankly don’t care who’s at the helm as long as the players step up and do what they are capable of – play sound fast hockey and win. If Pete D is the catalyst to make that happen so be it.

  6. DOC Williams

    Coach Gallant will ALWAYS have a spot in the hearts of the fans that were all-in with the Knights from the beginning. If we learn to respect DeBoer, that will not diminish at all our feelings for Gallant.

  7. Mike Thomson

    Deja vu. DeBoer is going to coach these players better than Gallant? Seriously? On what metric would you support that anticipatory view? A spectacularly stupid move.

  8. D

    Bad move in DeBoer. He has said some nasty things about our team over the years. I particularly can not stand him. The Knights have some really bad goaltending for the last year. All round defense men need to be replaced. It was not the coach, it was the players. I say DeBoer will make one too many smart comments for Foley to stomach. Short term coach.

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