Craig Berube, the only Stanley Cup-winning coach in St. Louis Blues history, is sticking around to lead a team he thinks can “do some damage.”
On Thursday, a day after the Blues announced a three-year contract extension to keep him on the bench through the 2024-25 season, Berube said he is excited about the future of his team. Led by young stars such as 23-year-old Jordan Kyrou and 22-year-old Robert Thomas, the Blues are in fourth place in the Western Conference’s Central Division.
“I think we’ve got a real good hockey team here going forward and we can do some damage, so I’m excited,” Berube said at a news conference.
Berube, 56, played 1,054 games for Philadelphia, Toronto, Calgary, Washington and the New York Islanders, with 61 goals, 98 assists — and 3,149 penalty minutes. He coached the Flyers for two seasons (2013-2015).
Berube was an assistant to Blues coach Mike Yeo when the team got off to a 7-9-3 start during the 2018-19 season. Yeo was fired in November and Berube took over as interim coach for a team that eventually dropped to last overall in January.
After that, the Blues went 30-10-5 and they beat Winnipeg, Dallas and San Jose to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 49 years. Once there, they stunned the favored Boston Bruins in seven games, culminating with a 4-1 Game 7 win in Boston.
The championship stirred strong emotions in St. Louis, coming just three years after the black eye left by the NFL’s Rams’ departure to Los Angeles. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for a beer-soaked victory parade and a massive rally on the grounds of the Gateway Arch.
General manager Doug Armstrong lifted the interim tag and Berube signed a three-year contract that would have ended after this season. Armstrong said talks on the new three-year deal began around Christmas.
“He’s able to deliver a firm but strong message,” Armstrong said of Berube, adding that the players “accept it. They understand the style of play he wants to incorporate. It’s a style of play I think we can win with.”
In St. Louis, Berube is 133-72-30 in the regular season. He is seventh in Blues history in games coached, and fourth in wins behind Joel Quenneville (307), Ken Hitchcock (248) and Brian Sutter (153). His career .632 winning percentage is second to Hitchcock’s .650.