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DeBoer will return as New Jersey Devils coach

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- Peter DeBoer will return to coach the New Jersey Devils next season, general manager Lou Lamoriello said Sunday.

Lamoriello spoke with reporters after the first period of the season finale against the Boston Bruins, a 3-2 victory at Prudential Center. It was an attempt to put to rest any confusion about the immediate future of the coach following multiple reports that said the Devils were working on a contract extension with DeBoer.

"There's a lot of rumors going on, a lot of misinformation about our coach, so I thought I'd get really out of character a little and put this to rest," Lamoriello said. "Pete DeBoer is under contract for next year, has been under contract for next year, and will be coaching next year. That's all I have to say. I don't want to get into any other discussions."

Lamoriello would not comment about reports the Devils and DeBoer are closing in on an extension. The GM typically does not divulge contract information, length or term. DeBoer also would not comment on the specifics of his contract situation.

"Lou told me the first day I took this job that one person talks about contract details, and it's not me," DeBoer said. "So, unfortunately I can't talk about that."

DeBoer has been New Jersey's coach since July 19, 2011. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, but they will miss the postseason for a second straight year. DeBoer has a 102-75-34 record with the Devils.

"I'm obviously excited to be back," DeBoer said. "I think we definitely have some unfinished business. I really felt if a few things had gone differently for us during the year we'd still be playing right now. I'm sure there are a lot of teams saying the same thing, but I really believe that. I wish we were starting again next week and we could get back at it."

Prior to the game, DeBoer was asked specifically if he'll be back. He answered, "I don't know."

"I don't think you ever know until it's either publicly announced or your boss comes in and says, 'Hey, you're back next year,'" DeBoer said.

He later said Lamoriello told him he will be back, a conversation that likely occurred after the coach conducted his pregame press conference.

Center Travis Zajac was happy to hear that DeBoer will return, saying it's a positive for the team.

"He's a good coach," Zajac said. "He's a great communicator. He's got a presence in the dressing room, behind the bench, and he's got a good feel for this team. I think he's a smart coach. He'll adjust and he'll come back with new ideas next year and try to get this team in the playoffs. I think it's a great move by Lou. He's a really good coach.

"I know for a fact if he wouldn't be back here he'd be somewhere else. When you have a good coach you don't want to let him go."

Forward Dainius Zubrus echoed Zajac's thoughts about DeBoer.

"I think he's done a good job," Zubrus said. "The last couple of years it hasn't been easy for us. Obviously a day like this is a tough day, but I think he's done a good job. If he's here I'm definitely going to welcome that. There's a bunch of guys I feel comfortable with on the coaching staff and I think it only makes things better."


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