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Devils coach DeBoer preaches composure against the Rangers

Pete DeBoer

New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer doesn’t want to be that guy who hangs around the office when he’s sick. Yesterday he went home following practice and spoke to reporters via conference call rather than in person.

“I just felt a little under the weather after practice,” DeBoer said. “Nothing serious. I stayed away out of concern for (the media’s) health and me spreading it to you. Last thing we need is you guys getting sick this time of year.”

Today, DeBoer was asked if any illness had spread through the team, since that would be almost as bad as if it spread through the media.

“No, I feel great,” he said. “Thanks for the concern. I know it’s genuine.”

When the personal health updates were finished, DeBoer spoke about the importance of the Devils keeping their composure in what should be an emotional series with the Rangers. (Remember this?)

“Playing for the Eastern Conference championship and playing your cross-town, cross-river rival, emotions will be something to have to manage,” he said. “You want [emotions]. It’s a big part of hockey, and big part of hockey this time of year. And you have to make sure you channel it the right way.”

In the second round, the Devils kept their cool against a frustrated Flyers squad and were able to cash in with four power-play goals in five games. Philadelphia also lost its best player, Claude Giroux, for Game 5 due to an undisciplined play.

“A lot of guys took a beating and turned the other cheek,” New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur said after eliminating the Flyers. “We didn’t want to get into a special-team match. No retaliation penalties in the whole series, and that was key.”