The Devils announced today that they have fired fourth-year head coach Pete DeBoer. GM Lou Lamoriello said no replacement will be named until after he speaks to the players tomorrow, upon their return from Christmas break.

New Jersey currently sits seventh in the Metropolitan under DeBoer, who took the team to the Stanley Cup finals in 2012 but hasn't been back to the playoffs. They haven't been good, but at times it's felt like they've been better than they have any right to be: these Devils are old, constantly injured, and have an uncanny knack for losing shootouts. The truly interesting subplot here is Lamoriello, who's been running things since 1987, and may actually have to worry about his own job before long. Firing DeBoer buys him time, anyway.

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DeBoer is the third NHL coach to be fired in what's been a bloody first half of the season, following Ottawa's Paul MacLean and Edmonton's Dallas Eakins.