There was much speculation regarding whether or not the Blues would make any personnel decisions over their extended ten day break. They extended Logan Brown and Robert Bortuzzo, and extended Alexei Toropchenko as well.
Those weren’t the moves Blues fans were interested in. Whither Craig Berube? The coach was in his last year of his deal, and let’s say that people wanting to see him head elsewhere are strictly in the minority. In an interview with the Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, when asked about extending Berube, Armstrong had this to say:
“I really enjoy working with Craig, and I expect that things will get done at the appropriate time,” Armstrong said. “I didn’t know Craig before we started working with him. So we had a very good working relationship and it’s flourished into a good personal relationship now.
“Again, these are things that our organization likes to do behind closed doors. But we’re really happy with Craig, and I’m not as concerned as maybe other people.”
That “I’m not as concerned as maybe other people” isn’t exactly “yes, he’ll be re-signed,” but for Armstrong it’s very close.
Today, the Blues announced that they had re-upped Berube to a three year extension. The team has lost other members of the Stanley Cup winning core go but the head coach? That would be unconscionable. Berube has a 133-72-30 run as coach since taking over the bench in November of 2018. Relieving Mike Yeo of his duties was a message to the Blues, one they didn’t fully receive for another month and a half after Berube’s appointment.
But when it clicked, it clicked, with Berube leading the Blues on a run that ended in the Blues’ first Stanley Cup.
The team has not had playoff success since then, but regular season success hasn’t been difficult to find. The last two seasons have been marred by interruptions and injuries, which has made the teams’ play a little difficult to judge, but it’s tough arguing with the numbers. After just three years, Berube is seventh in games coached, fourth in wins, and second in points percentage.
Berube, for his part, was direct in his reaction to the contract:
“I’ve enjoyed working with (General Manager) Doug Armstrong and (Chairman) Tom Stillman, working with the coaching staff and training staff and all the players we have here,” Berube told stlouisblues.com. “Why would I want to go anywhere else? I love it here.”