Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
DeBoer will be in MSG spotlight
Until this week, most New York sports fans couldn't have picked Devils coach Peter DeBoer out of a lineup.
But four games into the Eastern Conference finals - and especially after his Game 4 shouting match with the Rangers' John Tortorella - DeBoer has become a suddenly familiar face.
Certainly, Rangers fans will know where to find him during Game 5 Wednesday night - behind the New Jersey bench and in easy range of their verbal attacks.
Fortunately, he's used to it. Asked after the pregame morning skate about the worst thing he has heard from fans at the Garden, he said this:
"No language that you can say on the record. But you know what, it's a great building, a great environment. That's what playoff hockey is all about, the fans screaming at you, the passion in the building. You try to tune that stuff out. I can't give you a specific insult, but there's lots of them."
DeBoer showed both during the regular season and in this series that he is unintimidated by Tortorella, and many of his players said after the two coaches went at it Monday night that it was another example of DeBoer backing his guys.
"We know how much of a competitor he is, and he cares about his players," captain Zach Parise said Tuesday. "And he cares about winning, and he's emotionally involved in the game just like we all are. And so I think it's great to see when your coach is involved in that and cares like that.
"And I think he's done a great job throughout the whole series keeping his cool. And when things have gone good or bad, he's always done a really good job of keeping everything even keel. And I don't know if something just happened to push him over the edge [Monday] night. And that's fine with us. We know that he cares about us and cares about the team."