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Pete DeBoer, Keith Ballard: Trade Wasn't Because of Tirades ... Allen, Booth Defend DeBoer's Coaching Style

Deboer Panthers coach Pete DeBoer refuted a report out of Vancouver that suggested that defenseman Keith Ballard was traded over the summer because the two had heated arguments during the course of last season.

Ballard, traded to Vancouver in June, told The (Vancouver) Province that he and DeBoer had a number of “screaming matches.’’

DeBoer acknowledged the arguments happened, but said they stemmed from the team’s lack of success as well as Ballard’s admitted disappointing season.

 “I don’t expect anyone to be happy with the season we had last year,’’ DeBoer said Thursday. “I would have more concern if players were saying I was fine with how things went and didn’t get in anyone’s face. It is what it is. The environment was the same for Keith the year before when he had one of his best years. It was a tough year on everyone but I make no apologies for my motivation tactics or for getting on top of people. That’s my job.’’

Ballard said Thursday he does not believe the trade stemmed from those arguments because both he and DeBoer are competitors who just wanted to win. Both DeBoer and Ballard said they were fine with each other after each cooled off.

The main factor in Ballard’s trade was likely the $21 million he had remaining over the final five years on a contract he signed upon arriving in South Florida in 2008. General manager Dale Tallon traded Ballard and Victor Oreskovich to Vancouver for the 25th overall pick as well as forwards Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner.

Ballard “He was trying to push me, get more out of me and I’m the first guy to say he should have done so,’’ Ballard said from Vancouver. “We raised our voices behind closed doors. We’re competitive people. I’m not the first player to get into a shouting match with a coach and I sure won’t be the last. This happens on every team. I enjoyed my two years in Florida. I had good teammates and the organization treated me and my family very well.

“Aside from us not making the playoffs, I have no complaints about my time with the Florida Panthers.’’

Added DeBoer: “We were both disappointed in how the year went in general. It wasn’t just about his play. I was excited about having the opportunity to getting him back to where he was the previous season. I admire a lot of qualities Keith has. He works hard, he’s a good teammate. He did a lot of things well. I never had an issue with him.

DeBoer has had his share of run-ins with players over the course of his two seasons (re: Nick Boynton, Scott Clemmensen and Ville Koistinen) as coach of the Panthers, but current players backed DeBoer in saying that such disagreements are common during a lengthy season.

The Province report – not offering any sources or quoting Ballard – said that DeBoer is “extremely unpopular with most of the Florida players because he largely treats them like juniors.’’

A number of Florida players stood up for DeBoer and his coaching style on Thursday, with forward David Booth saying “he’s the right coach for this team. He pushes us. Maybe some guys don’t like that, I don’t know. I personally love playing for him.’’

As far as players hating playing for DeBoer as The Province suggested, defenseman Bryan Allen said that was not the case.

“Did we all get along last year? No. The way things were going, we shouldn’t have, truthfully,’’ said Allen, Ballard’s roommate last season. “No one had a good year last year. It was frustrating for everyone, including the coaches, players and fans. Pete wasn’t happy and hates to lose. That shows. He has passion for the game and tried to get the best out of us.’’


Highly touted goalie Jacob Markstrom made his first start of the preseason on Thursday and played throughout Florida’s 5-1 loss to Nashville in a rookie game held in Coral Springs. Markstrom faced 37 shots in the loss.

“I didn’t want to lose the game and I let in five goals. Of course I’m not happy with that,’’ the 20-year-old said. “I wanted to win this game and play my best. I didn’t. I just have to go home, have a good meal, a good sleep. Tomorrow is a new day.’’

(*) Panthers alternate governor Bill Torrey said the Panthers will likely host a four-team rookie tournament at their training facility next year.

Former Florida winger Martin Gelinas – now Nashville’s director of player development – confirmed the Predators will likely return. Atlanta and Tampa Bay have been mentioned as other teams that may be interested.

Torrey also said the Panthers would hold a weeklong rookie development camp next summer as well.

(*) THURSDAY’S ROOKIE GAME – Nashville 5, Panthers 1: Florida’s Corey Durocher kept the Panthers from getting shutout for a second straight day when he scored with 3:35 left. The Predators, who outscored Florida 10-1 over the two-day period, got two goals from Chris Mueller. 


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Again AG thanks for flushing this out. Excellent job by you!!!

Clearly we will never know. Present players wont trash the coach publicly and Ballard has too much class. The issue is does PD treat the veterans like juniors, ie putting boynton in a 5 game time out; or can he mature to be able to handle all type of players? We havent been right since the boynton incident; and im confident Tallon will not sit back and wait too long for the answer.

I also talked to guys off the record who said there isn't a problem...and they havent been right since the boynton thing, but he had a little bit to do with that himself...

Thanks for that update GR. The off the record summation does mean alot.

Great article GR!

Pete's coaching style will work for some, and not others. His job is to get players to perform, and he will ultimately be judged on that once Tallon has put some pieces together. When Boynton was benched he was not performing. Pete tried to press some buttons, it didn't work and Boyton was gone.

I for one like Pete, and believe that the type of players that Tallon is bringing in will respond to Pete's coaching style.

Also, while I could be wrong, I was under the impression that Ballarfd wanted to stay.

Don't forget on the Boynton deal, JM traded for Steve Eminger around the same time. Pete said then that it wasn't right to trade for Eminger then sit him; so Eminger played, Boynton didn't. After it was apparent Eminger was traded for a reason, Boynton was back in the lineup.

And yes, Ballard wanted to stay. He enjoyed it here, liked his teammates. He wanted to make sure I knew this story had nothing to do with him. A reporter came to his stall, asked him about the shouting matches (the reporter had heard about it from somewhere else) and he answered the questions...

"The last thing I would do would start something like this up when I'm not even there. If I had a problem with someone, I would say so to their face when I am there.''

GR- I like your article how it said that DeBoer is “extremely unpopular with most of the Florida players because he largely treats them like juniors.’

Well, it's because most of the players, if they played on a different team, would still be playing in juniors or the AHL.

Thanks for all the coverage, GR!


I believe another reporter had that quote, and did not back it up with a source. GR's article appeared to discredit that reporter's remarks.

Ballard is a class act. I agree with Allen, it was frustrating and I am glad to hear tempers got hot because when a team is losing the coach needs to get on them and the players need to respond. I would be disappointed if after a loss DeBoer said don't worry about it boys, the beer is on me. That said there was no depth and when injuries came there was only mediocre AHL talent and that didn't cut it. When you took Booth & Stillman off the leftwing there was zero scoring ability. They call don't call Olesz "Rusty" for nothing, his scoring is about as rusty as it gets.... If some of the players think DeBoer can yell they should listen to John Tortorella some time...

Is there a major sport that fires coaches more than the NHL?? For whatever reason NHL players stop listening to their current coach(especially on losing teams) after 2-3 years. Anyone expecting Deboer to win or even be competitive with this roster has to be the eternal optomist!! If he makes the playoffs or comes close he should be coach of the year. My guess is that Deboer will be gone near the holiday season with Tallon bringing in someone he knows and can work with. Hey GR, doesn't it say something about the organization that Ballard was dumped over his so-called salary?? In the rest of the NHL thats what you pay for a decent defenseman. If your going to be lousy you might as well lose with a low payroll rather than lose even more money with a higher payroll. Nothing has changed this team does everything on the cheap.

The Panthers have spent near the cap before and still didn't make the playoffs. Tallon is building a new team, and is leaving himself cap space to do it. Next year when some veteran contarcts are up, he will clear some more and continue to mold the shape of this team.

It doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money this year when the team is not geared for a playoff run. If we're close near the deadline, we may add a little just so we can get the playoff monkey off our backs. If we're not, expect more dumping including the class act we call Vokun.


The moving had less to do with money(not to suggest the money owed to him for the next four years had absolutely NOTHING to do with the move) and more to do with Tallon trying to address the teams apparent lack of size at the forward position(got Bernier back along with Grabner and a draft pick that was used to select a big forward Howden). Ballard(after Horton was dealt for being a lazy a**) was one of the only "movable" assets Tallon had to work with, and Vancouver was offering a good return package in exchange(you can measure that by how upset folks in Vancouver were with The Canucks moving Grabner). You might retort that The Cats wouldn't have had to move Ballard if Tallon hadn't moved the only real size that they had in the line up, which was Horton, but Horton had overstayed his welcome here with his lack of work ethic and overall disappointing return on the investment. Horton had to go, and again, Tallon got decent value in return. This club is nowhere NEAR being a finished product, and Tallon knows this, he also knows that you have to pair-down the roster before it can be rebuilt. This past entry draft was a major step in the right direction in rebuilding was has been paired-down, and after 2-3 years(I'm realistic), and some good development, and strategic additions in FA, the club will be one to be reckoned with. I wish nothing but the best of luck to Horton and Ballard, I enjoyed and respected the way Ballard played and brought it every night, and I only hope that Horton realizes his emense potential.......Just not against The Cats.

Ballard wasn't just traded because of the money, but that was a factor...was one of the big JM signed contracts that could be moved...And for those who think I wrote that the panthers have NO locker room issues, I did not...there are some players who don't like deboers style...it's nowhere as bad as the Vancouver story made it out to be tho...

Wow, i have nothing to say except how absolutely terrible that Vancouver article is written.

I don't know, i don't like to read "news" while links of justin bieber and other celebrities are on the same page.

Thanks for the article GR.

There isn't a team in existence that hasn't had an issue with the head coach at one time or another. Now, that being said, if the team had tuned DeBoer out, then that's a whole different issue, but that just doesn't seem to be the case here.

I have more confidence that there aren't any MAJOR locker room issues now that GR expanded.

We are truly blessed that we have access to the beat writer and have the give and take we do.

Try that with Larry Brooks lol

I agree with Mase, Panthers needed draft picks and new blood. The only way you get that back is to trade a player that teams want and teams wanted Ballard. Yes of course money figures in but more important was what you get back. Panthers had two extra first round picks plus added Wideman, Grabner and Bernier. As much as I like Ballard there was a need to bring prospects and picks and Grabner was key. Without sending Ballard to Vancouver you don't get the first round pick and Grabner. Horton wanted out all Tallon could get back with a pick was Wideman a defenseman which means one of the other D becomes available and the one teams were hot on was Ballard. It is more about which player gives you the most back that you have enough depth at that position to do the deal. Teams wanted Ballard because he is good.

I'm glad Ballard left, he was getting paid to much for his poor and stupid play last year. Luongo better look out for Ballard right swing.

I too agree with Mase. I wasn't too surprised Ballard was dealt. I think he was wore down physically (size he get's pounded, slowed down a lot in second half, injuries, etc.) and mentally (DB encounters, his buddy Boynton fiasco, losing hurts, Vokoun head slam), his salary, and, we got good assets for him in the trade. It's good to know GR got the inside poop from the players that DB isn't a critical issue. Like Mase said I think Tallon will eventually get his own head coach, sooner or later. Getting Tallon, his trades and all the new picks, salary cap savings; it's going to be a real building of this organization this time, who jells and who smells,........I think ....I hope!

anyone on this team that doesn't like being pushed by the head coach needs to be shown the door.

I have no problems with any of the moves Tallon has made to date knowing that it will be a few years before this team can compete for the cup if ownership/Yormark continue to allow the time and money needed to do this right.

You can only trade assets that someone else wants and thus Horton/Ballard were traded, if Tallon could of received value from others he would of traded them as well.

Tallon is trying to change the attitude here from the country club no pressure to win only play to a team that will be tough to play against.

This takes time, the quick fix in Atlanta and Tampa might work but they might not.

We have a lot of contracts coming off the roster next year, however, salary is not where this team wasn't spending the money they weren't spending money on scouting and developing players and Tallon insisted on a higher budget and has it and I hope he continues to have it.

Interesting that Mr. Torrey is back involved after being left out by Keenan/JM/Saxton, good to see as we try to go back to building the right way.

The Panthers don't have talented enough players that justify preferential treatment..
Booth is the most respected, and he likes and expects to be pushed by PDB... We need more like that... Any others have a problem with that--good riddance...

Boytnon is a chronic ego case, from what I understand... Ballard is a respectable player, but probably more of a $3mill Dman than a $4mill guy... Changes needed to be made, so it was the right move to make... A cash-strapped team like the Panthers need to save where they can... They have enough salary issues...

I think we want a coach with passion, fire, and intensity to push guys, and hold them accountable... Get the most out of them.. If I had any problem with PDB, it would be that he didn't jump on Horton earlier... Maybe he did somewhat and we don't know about it. Maybe it's why Horton's play was a little better than his previous years....

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