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Revenge Match? DeBoer Punts Question About Golden Knights



Vegas Golden Knights, Pete DeBoer, Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars head coach Pete DeBoer was too smart to take the bait. Not long ago, DeBoer was the coach of the Vegas Golden Knights but became the only Golden Knights coach to miss the playoffs in the organization’s then-five-year existence. His three-year tenure ended with a thud last May.

He was dismissed and shortly after landed in Dallas, but getting the heave-ho last May from the GM Kelly McCrimmon admittedly rattled him.

“Every time you lose a job, you have different reactions,” DeBoer said during his introductory press conference with Dallas. “The Vegas one rattled me because I thought, as a coaching staff, we worked as hard as we could with the situation handed to us this year.”

The 2021-22 Vegas Golden Knights were decimated by injuries.

“I thought getting 94 points out of a team that lost 500-plus man games in injuries – I thought our coaching staff really worked hard to get that. I’m not going to lie to you, it rattled me for a little bit,” DeBoer said last summer.

Now, DeBoer’s Dallas Stars are in the Western Conference Final after defeating the Seattle Kraken in Game 7, 2-1. It will be a battle with the Golden Knights and new head coach Bruce Cassidy for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

DeBoer laughed through the question of a grudge match but didn’t dismiss it, either.

“There’s a lot to unpack there,” DeBoer said as he laughed Monday. “I think we’ll just enjoy tonight and talk about that as we go forward.”

DeBoer laughed again as he finished his answer.

The coach was summarily dismissed after a 160-98-50 record with the Golden Knights but was 43-31-8 in his final season. Their 94 points were a few behind the Nashville Predators.

“We deliberated on this long and hard. We did not make this decision quickly,” GM Kelly McCrimmon told media then. “And once George (McPhee) and I were aligned in terms of what we thought the best course of action would be, we met with our owner Bill Foley … Bill offered his support for the decision.”

Dallas is DeBoer’s fifth stop on the NHL coaching carousel after stops in Florida (three seasons), New Jersey (four seasons), San Jose (five seasons), and Golden Knights (three seasons). He has been to two Stanley Cup Finals but never won. In 2012, his New Jersey Devils lost to the dynastic Chicago Blackhawks. In 2016, his San Jose Sharks were roasted by another dynasty, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Cassidy has one conference championship to his credit. Cassidy won the 2019 Eastern Conference Final as the Boston Bruins bench boss.

The Golden Knights finished with 111 points this season, a 17-point increase.

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