There has been chatter amongst Blues fans during the second half of the season about Craig Berube and the Jack Adams. Is taking over from the previous head coach a detriment? No, ask Ken Hitchcock, who won it for the Blues in 2012. Is taking until the second half of the season to start playing great guns a problem? Not particularly, because it takes a bit to build trust between a team and a coach.
What it takes to be nominated for the Jack Adams is usually either an unreal coaching experience with a rag-tag team of misfits or jerking a knot in a previously underachieving team’s ass - and I think we all know where Berube falls on that spectrum. So do hockey writers, because Berube was named a finalist for the Jack Adams today along with Jon Cooper and Barry Trotz.
From the NHL’s press release:
Craig Berube, St. Louis Blues
Named head coach on Nov. 19 with the Blues in 30th place in the NHL (7-9-3), Berube helped the club surge to a third-place finish in the Central Division by going 38-19-6 the rest of the way. The Blues went 30-10-5 (65 points) from Jan. 1 to the end of the regular season, accumulating the most points among all NHL teams in that span. Among the highlights: a franchise-record 11-game win streak from Jan. 23 – Feb. 19 and a 12-1-1 record in February, tying a franchise mark for wins in a calendar month. Berube, a first-time Jack Adams finalist, would become the fifth coach in Blues history to take home the trophy, joining Ken Hitchcock (2011-12), Joel Quenneville (1999-00), Brian Sutter (1990-91) and Red Berenson (1980-81). Hitchcock was the last Jack Adams winner who took the coaching reins midseason.
Believe it or not, Berube still has the “interim coach” label attached. That shouldn’t last long when the Blues’ season ends.