Late Monday night, it was reported that the head coach of the St. Louis Blues, Mike Yeo was relieved of his coaching duties. St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong made the announcement and NHL.com verified it, the termination serving as the final chapter in Yeo’s story that was seemingly a long time coming.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) November 20, 2018
Perhaps not surprisingly, St. Louis quickly made the move after the Blues suffered another loss, this time to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday by a score of 2-0. It was the second straight game the Blues failed to score a goal on their opposition and the third time in four games.
Knowing he was on the hot seat, Yeo said he wasn’t about to change his style of coaching. “Heck, my job should be in question right now,” Yeo said. Explaining that his team not winning meant he knew his time might be limited. “That comes with the trade, but I’m not going to coach to save my job. I’m going to coach to try and win a Stanley Cup,” he added.
Unfortunately, despite saying he’s tried to motivate his team in a number of different ways, he wasn’t able to get the most out of what looks to be a talented group on paper. It was time for another voice to give it a shot.
With that, the Blues have named Craig Berube as interim head coach.
What’s Next For St. Louis?
The Blues will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, which will be streamed live on the Blues’ Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts. It is likely at that conference the team will share the typical showing of appreciation and many thanks for what Yeo offered the Blues during his tenure but that with the lack of success by the Blues organization — they are 30th out of 31 teams in the NHL — a change was necessary.
The man who will be taking the helm, Berube, is a 52-year-old coach who first joined the Blues coaching staff on June 15, 2017. Prior to joining the Blues NHL organization, he was the head coach of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Chicago Wolves where he led the team to a 44-19-13 regular-season record and a first-place finish in the Central Division. He also spent time servicing many different roles in the Philadelphia Flyers organization over the course of 11 seasons. From 2013 to 2015, he served as the team’s head coach posting a 75-58-28 record overall.
Berube is also former NHL player who played over the course of 17 seasons with Philadelphia, Toronto, Calgary, Washington, and the New York Islanders.
What Went Wrong in St. Louis?
Considering the series of moves the franchise made this season to improve, it’s difficult to understand why the Blues have gotten off to such a poor start. After adding names like Ryan O’Reilly, Patrick Maroon, Tyler Bozak and David Perron in the offseason, they are now just 7-9-3 on the season and looking nothing like the playoff contender people expected them to be.
The Blues should be a better team than they have been to date and with the sheer number of changes the team made to the roster, the only change left to make was with the man directing that roster. The problem for Berube is that he’s now in statistical trouble when it comes to making the postseason. The Blues are well back of a playoff spot and few teams have made it from this position and at this point in the season. Is it impossible? No. Is it unlikely? The record books seem to suggest as much.
There was saying that went, “Lose to the Kings, collect your things.” Perhaps, there’s more truth to that than people realize and Yeo was the third coach fired in this young NHL season.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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