NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs name Craig Berube coach

By Sports Desk May 17, 2024

The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Craig Berube as their new head coach on Friday, bringing a Stanley Cup champion to a franchise that holds the longest stretch without a title in NHL history.

Berube, who guided the St. Louis Blues to their lone Stanley Cup title in 2018-19, comes aboard just over a week after the Maple Leafs fired Sheldon Keefe following a first-round exit in this year's play-offs.

The 58-year-old Berube, a former Toronto player known for his hard-nosed and disciplined coaching approach, compiled a 206-132-44 record in six seasons with St. Louis. The Blues reached the play-offs in the first four of those seasons, but missed the post-season in 2022-23 and got off to a 13-14-1 start in 2023-24 before Berube was fired on Dec. 12.

Berube did enjoy instant success after replacing Mike Yeo behind the Blues' bench in November 2018. St. Louis was near the bottom of the Western Conference at the time of the switch, but rebounded to make the post-season before winning three play-off series prior to defeating the Boston Bruins in seven games in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

He'll now take over a Toronto team that has won just one play-off series since 2006 and last hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1968, a 56-year drought that stands as the longest in NHL history.

The Maple Leafs reached the play-offs in all five of their seasons under Keefe, but he won just one of six post-season series and was let go on May 9 after Toronto lost to the rival Bruins in seven games in this year's first round.

"We had gotten to a place where just a new voice was needed," Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said in announcing Keefe's dismissal. "And that's the unfortunate part of this business. I do not believe that you turn coaches and you keep turning coaches. I don't think that is the recipe for success at all. I just felt at the end of the day, when I look at the totality of his time here, a change was required."

Berube, who also spent two seasons as the Philadelphia Flyers' head coach from 2013-15, inherits a talented roster that produced the second-most goals in the NHL this season. Star centre Auston Matthews led the league with 69 goals, the highest individual total by any player in a season since Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux also had 69 for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.

A rugged forward who spent 17 seasons as an NHL player with five teams, Berube has assembled a 281-190-72 overall record as a head coach and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award honouring the league's top coach in 2018-19.

Berube's hire leaves four teams - the New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Kraken and Winnipeg Jets - still with coaching vacancies. The Buffalo Sabres (Lindy Ruff) and Ottawa Senators (Travis Green) previously hired new head coaches within the last month. 

 

 

 

 

 

Related items

  • NHL: Panthers hold on to move within win of Stanley Cup title NHL: Panthers hold on to move within win of Stanley Cup title

    Sam Reinhart and Aleksander Barkov each had a goal and an assist and the Florida Panthers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers to take a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.

    Vladimir Tarasenko and Sam Bennett also scored for the Panthers, who can wrap up the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title in Game 4 in Edmonton on Saturday night.

    Florida carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, but Philip Broberg scored at 6:02 and Ryan McLeod made it a one-goal game with 5:17 remaining.

    The Oilers, however, could not beat Sergei Bobrovsky again and now face the daunting task of trying to win four straight games to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993 – months before the Panthers’ inaugural season.

    Only four teams in league playoff history (1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings) have won a series after losing the first three games and only once in the final (1942 Toronto Maple Leafs).

    Bobrovsky finished with 32 saves to win his sixth straight start. He allowed more than two goals for the first time during that span.

    The Panthers showed no ill effects from waiting to fly from South Florida to Alberta, a decision that was questioned when their plane was delayed by storms and got in a few hours late Wednesday – less than 24 hours before puck drop.

  • Panthers take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final Panthers take 2-0 lead in Stanley Cup Final

    Evan Rodrigues had two of three Florida Panthers goals in the third period as the Eastern Conference champions took a 2-0 lead on the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final with Monday's 4-1 win.

    Niko Mikkola also scored and Aaron Ekblad had a game-sealing empty-net goal in the final minutes as the Panthers moved two wins away from the franchise's first Stanley Cup title.

    They did so by keeping Connor McDavid and Edmonton's high-powered offence in check for a second straight meeting. After being dealt a 3-0 loss in Saturday's opener of the best-of-seven series, the Oilers managed just seven shots on goal over the first two periods of Game 2 and 19 for the night.

    Florida did sustain a key injury in Game 2, however, as captain and top-line centre Aleksandar Barkov did not return after taking an elbow to the head from Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl midway through the third period. 

    Mattias Ekholm recorded the lone goal for the Oilers, who will attempt to reverse momentum on home ice when the series shifts to Edmonton for Thursday's Game 3.

    Despite Florida owning a 22-7 shot advantage through the first two periods, the teams were locked in a 1-1 tie until Rodrigues stole an attempted clearing pass from Edmonton's Evan Bouchard in the Oilers' end and whistled a shot past goaltender Stuart Skinner 3:11 into the third.

    Rodrigues struck again on the power play created by Draisaitl's roughing penalty on Barkov with 9:28 remaining, as he redirected a pass from Anton Lundell into the Edmonton net for a 3-1 Florida lead with 7:34 left.

    Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch pulled Skinner for an extra attacker with under seven minutes to go, and the move gave Edmonton essentially a two-man advantage when Florida defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson received a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck into the stands with less than five minutes remaining.

    The Panthers killed off the infraction, however, then ended any hopes of an Edmonton comeback when Ekblad scored into the vacant net with 2:28 left to play.

    Florida had the game's first prime scoring opportunity when Oilers forward Warren Foegele received a five-minute major penalty and an ejection for a knee-to-knee hit on the Panthers' Eetu Luostarinen midway through the first period.

    The Panthers couldn't capitalise, however, and the sides were soon 4-on-4 when Ekman-Larsson was called for tripping during the extended power play.

    Just 19 seconds after Ekman-Larsson was sent off, Ekholm's shot on a 2-on-1 rush evaded Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to put Edmonton up 1-0 with 8:43 remaining in the opening period.

    Florida drew even midway through the second period when Mikkola fired a drop pass from Lundell past Skinner.

    Bobrovsky finished with 18 saves, while Skinner stopped 25 of 28 shots.

  • NHL: Bobrovsky puts on masterclass in Panthers' Game 1 win of Stanley Cup Final NHL: Bobrovsky puts on masterclass in Panthers' Game 1 win of Stanley Cup Final

    Sergei Bobrovsky continued his red-hot play with 32 saves and Carter Verhaeghe and Evan Rodrigues scored to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

    Bobrovsky was the story as the Oilers outshot the Panthers 32-17. He turned in one of the most memorable playoff goaltending performances in recent history, denying multiple breakaways and even managed to make saves without his stick for 30 seconds.

    Over his last four playoff games, the 35-year-old Bobrovsky has stopped 101 of 106 shots for a .953 save percentage.

    Three-time MVP Connor McDavid, who leads all scorers in the postseason with 31 points, led all skaters with six shots but couldn’t beat the Russian goaltender.

    Thanks to him, the Panthers have a lead in the Cup final for the first time in franchise history and are three wins away from their first championship.

    Eetu Luostarinen scored into an empty net with five seconds remaining, but that insurance goal was hardly needed the way Bobrovsky played.

    Game 2 is Tuesday in Florida.

    The goals by Verhaeghe and Rodriguez came on the first five shots against Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner, who wasn't to blame for either one.  

    The Oilers were shut out in the playoffs for the first time since June 2, 2022, against Colorado.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.