The St. Louis Blues and Craig Berube have made things official. While Berube was named the team’s interim head coach on Nov. 19, 2018 after an abysmal start to the season for the Blues, he has now officially been named the head coach of the team. The Blues would announce that Berube signed a three-year contract to take over the full-time job for the team without the interim tag through the 2021-22 season.
This extension was largely expected as Berube not only started the turn-around for St. Louis that got them into the postseason, but he was also instrumental throughout their playoff run that ultimately ended in the first Stanley Cup Championship in the history of the Blues’ franchise.
For many, the interim tag was largely forgotten. Berube immediately made an impact with the team and while many remembered the fact that the Blues were in last place prior to bringing Berube on board, the fact that he wasn’t brought on with a guarantee for longer than the 2018-19 season went mostly by the wayside.
Berube Turned the Blues’ Season Around
Since taking over the bench in St. Louis, Berube led the Blues to a 38-19-6 record. They’d finish in third place in the Central Division. More impressive than the turnaround was how dominant they were since the start of the new year, going 30-10-5 since Jan. 1, collecting the most points in the NHL over that span.
This was just the seventh team since the 1967-68 season to earn a playoff berth after being in last place in the NHL at any point after New Year’s Day. He’d also coach the team to a franchise-record 11-game win streak that took place between Jan. 23 and Feb. 19.
Berube’s efforts weren’t for not as he would not only win the Stanley Cup and get this new contract, he’d also be recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Jack Adams award (given to the NHL’s best coach). While Barry Trotz would win the award for the magic he pulled off with the New York Islanders this season, Berube proved that he was among the NHL’s elite this past season and he earned his spot as a finalist.
This isn’t Berube’s first stint as a head coach in the NHL as he’d also hold the role with the Philadelphia Flyers from 2013 to 2015. In the AHL, Berube also spent time as the head coach of the Philadelphia Phantoms (now Lehigh Valley Phantoms) from 2006 to 2008 and the Chicago Wolves from 2016 to 2017.
The Blues are still on cloud-nine after winning the Stanley Cup, but with the offseason already underway and the draft completed over the weekend, it’s time for management to turn their attention towards the 2019-20 season and beyond. That included getting a coach that they felt confident could lead them to Championship contention.
There was no better option for them than the coach who proved he could do so right before their eyes.