NHL.com’s Q&A feature called “Five Questions With …” runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
The latest edition features San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer:
Four years later, San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer is in the same place, his cottage in Bayfield, Ontario, contemplating the same “what ifs,” because he’s coming off the same type of wild ride that ended with an equal level of disappointment.
Except this summer, which came on the heels of San Jose’s six-game Stanley Cup Final loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, feels nothing like the one DeBoer experienced four years ago after steering the New Jersey Devils to the championship round, where they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.
This summer is all about optimism and the excitement to go for it again. In 2012, DeBoer was dealing with pessimism surrounding a pending lockout, the loss of his captain, Zach Parise, to free agency, and the impending loss of star forward Ilya Kovalchuk to the Kontinental Hockey League.
“It’s totally different,” DeBoer said by phone from Bayfield. “There were so many question marks and so much turmoil around the situation that we were in, in New Jersey coming back. There was a lot going on. I think probably the biggest difference is just my excitement level about getting back behind the bench with this group. We’ve got pretty much the same group intact, and we’ve added a couple pieces, which we think will help.”
The Sharks return their top 16 scorers from last season, from Joe Thornton and his 82 points to defenseman Brenden Dillon and his 11 points, as well as No. 1 goalie Martin Jones, coming off of a breakout season with 37 wins, a .918 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average. They added forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko via free agency.
Boedker, who signed a four-year contract worth a reported $16 million, played for DeBoer in Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League in the 2007-08 season. Schlemko comes to San Jose from New Jersey, where DeBoer still has enough friends to get a positive scouting report.
There is reason to believe Boedker and Schlemko can help the Sharks get the big prize in 2017.
“Any time you get that close, it leaves a taste in your mouth to want to get back there,” DeBoer said.
DeBoer spoke about the challenges the Sharks will face in trying to do that, as well as the mindset he has had this offseason and how he has dealt with another loss in the Stanley Cup Final, during a recent phone conversation with NHL.com.
Here are Five Questions …
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