Craig Berube was fired by the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, severing ties with the coach who led the organization to its lone Stanley Cup championship.
Berube was fired by the Blues hours after a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, according to General Manager Doug Armstrong. The Blues’ fourth straight loss was their season-worst, bringing their record to 13-14-1.
St. Louis currently sits sixth in the Central Division, nine points down of division leader Colorado. The Blues are tenth out of sixteen clubs in the Western Conference.
In terms of goals per game (2.82), the Blues are ranked 26th in the NHL and have the league’s second-worst power play (7 for 83) at 8.4%.
Berube, 57, led the Blues to the Stanley Cup victory in 2019. He took over as temporary coach for Mike Yeo on November 20, 2018, and led an incredible turnaround. In 2018-19, he led St. Louis to a 38-19-6 record.
Berube finished his sixth season with the Blues with a 206-131-44 record. His win total is the third-highest in franchise history. He won 24 playoff games in 51 postseason games.
St. Louis led Detroit 4-3 entering the third period on Tuesday night before giving up two goals and an empty-net goal late to lose for the fifth time in six games.
“You have to earn everything, right?” “It’s not going to happen by itself,” Berbue stated after the game. “You have to earn it. To earn it, you must play the right way. You must pay attention to the details. We accomplished a lot tonight. We scored enough goals to win the game, but we didn’t take care of our net front very well tonight.”
Drew Bannister, head coach of the American Hockey League’s Springfield Thunderbirds, was chosen interim coach by the Blues.
Bannister, 49, has been Springfield’s coach for three seasons. He led the squad to a regular-season record of 93-58-19. The Belleville, Ontario, native also led the Thunderbirds to successive playoff berths, including winning the Eastern Conference and reaching the Calder Cup final in 2021-22.
Bannister will be on the bench against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Bannister appeared in 164 NHL regular-season games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, and New York Rangers, among other teams.
The Blues’ coaching departure marks Armstrong’s fourth firing during the season. Davis Payne was sacked in 2011, Hitchcock in 2017, and Yeo in 2018.
The Blues are the third team to change coaches this season. Jay Woodcroft was sacked by the Edmonton Oilers in mid-November and was replaced by Kris Knoblauch. After sacking Dean Evason, the Minnesota Wild hired John Hynes as coach just over two weeks ago.