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Some Panthers hoping to stick it to former coach DeBoer tonight

Peter DeBoer, Rod Pelley, David Clarkson

New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer shouts to his players behind Rod Pelley, left, and David Clarkson during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)


When Peter DeBoer was fired from coaching the Florida Panthers, it turns out that was a huge relief for more than a few Panthers players. DeBoer ruled the roost in Florida using fear as his motivator and that got a few Panthers players worn out. Now that the Panthers have turned things around early this season with Kevin Dineen, DeBoer rolling into town with the New Jersey Devils gives them the chance to show the old coach how fun and happy things are with the new guy.

Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel hears from Panthers how tough things were under the old boss DeBoer with Dmitry Kulikov having the most pointed words.

“You’ve got more freedom to do what you want on the ice. You feel if you make a mistake you can make up for it on the next shift. With Pete, it’s one mistake and you’re like shaking for the rest of the game.”

Forward Michael Repik didn’t have glowing words for DeBoer either saying that getting yelled at consistently for mistakes is no way to help a young team grow up.

So how does a team get back at a former coach that drove them nuts? Beating them obviously would do the trick, but getting that little bit extra? There’s the tricky part. It’s not as if they can body check the coach but you better believe it that the Panthers are going to treat this one like a playoff game to show the old coach that they’re just fine without him on their backs.