To hear Craig Berube explain it, his dismissal in Philadelphia came as a bit of a shock.
“I think yeah, you’re always surprised when you get let go,” Berube told Philly’s 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday. “I expected to come back and coach again.
“Decisions are made, Ron [Hextall, Flyers GM] has to do what’s best for the hockey team and that’s what he did.”
Berube, who inherited the Flyers gig from Peter Laviolette three games into the 2013-14 campaign, went 75-58-28 over the course of two seasons, making the postseason in ’14 before falling short this year.
As both he and Hextall suggested, missing the dance led to his dismissal.
“Well I just think that, like he [Hextall] said, I didn’t get enough out of the team,” Berube said. “He believed it was a playoff team and I do believe it was a playoff team too, but there was some stuff.
“Injuries, different situations that came up that costs us the playoffs and a lot of times it comes down to the coach.”
As for the “stuff” Berube’s referring to? Well, his handling of starting goalie Steve Mason — and, to a lesser degree, dismissed goalie coach Jeff Reese — came under scrutiny this season, as did his relationship with veteran center Vinny Lecavalier. The Flyers also had a subpar penalty kill (77.1 percent, fourth-worst in the NHL) and took the 11th-most penalties in the league, though their disciplinary issues did improve from Berbube’s first year on the job to his second.
All those issues seemed to pale in comparison to underachieving, however. Hextall wasn’t alone in thinking the Flyers were a playoff team — owner Ed Snider was pretty outspoken about his belief Philly should’ve been in the postseason as well.
“It’s not like we don’t have pieces,” Snider said, per Philly.com. “Now the question is, do we want those pieces to just die on the vine? And go for a long-range plan? And eventually they’re gone? Who’s going to replace them?
“So there’s a question of potential trades, free-agent signings, draft picks surprising you. I don’t like to give the impression that, ‘Hey, we aren’t going to win.’ It’s Ron’s job to analyze why. Why did this same team that made the playoffs fall?”