Blues fire coach Craig Berube after 13-14-1 start, Drew Bannister to take over as interim

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ST. LOUIS — Craig Berube, who coached the St. Louis Blues to their first Stanley Cup in 2019, was fired after six seasons Tuesday night. Drew Bannister, who was coaching the organization’s AHL affiliate in Springfield, Mass., will take over as the interim coach.

BREAKING NEWS: Craig Berube has been relieved of his coaching duties and a new interim coach has been named. #stlblues

DETAILS ➡️ https://t.co/NHh9g2JTnt https://t.co/NHh9g2JTnt

— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) December 13, 2023

Berube signed a three-year extension on Feb. 9, 2022, and his contract runs through the 2024-25 season.

The move happened after a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, which continued a season-high, four-game losing streak.

In 381 regular-season games with the Blues, Berube was 206-131-44, and his .598 points percentage was tied for second in franchise history with Joel Quenneville behind only Ken Hitchcock (.650).

St. Louis is in a re-tool this season, and despite lowered expectations, the club fell to 13-14-1 (27 points) after Tuesday’s loss. They are currently one point out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Rutherford: Doug Armstrong's roster, not Craig Berube's coaching, is root of Blues' issues

“I’m not (as) concerned about where we fit in the standings, quite honestly, as, ‘Do we build that foundation back to where it was in the past and can we start building something to put us in the same spot where I view Colorado and Dallas now, with experienced players that have the pedigree and the perception that they should be winning championships?’” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in October. “We have been there for the better part of a decade. We’re not there today, and my goal was to build this foundation to get back there as quick as possible.”

Evidently, Armstrong did not see that shaping up in St. Louis.

Bannister, 49, will be behind the Blues’ bench for Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. He has spent the past three seasons with the club’s AHL affiliate, leading the team to a 93-58-19 regular-season record and consecutive playoff appearances, including 2021-22, when they won the Eastern Conference and reached the Calder Cup Final.

Bannister played 164 games in the NHL as a defenseman with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and New York Rangers.

Required reading

  • Rutherford: Doug Armstrong’s roster, not Craig Berube’s coaching, is root of Blues’ issues
  • Jakub Vrana in limbo after being told by Blues he’d be placed on waivers
  • A game day in the life of an NHL coach: 19 hours, 5 coffees and a 6-5 barnburner with Blues’ Craig Berube

(Photo: Robert Edwards / USA Today)

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