Stanley Cup winning coach Craig Berube would welcome the opportunity to coach in Toronto
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Stanley Cup winning head coach expresses an interest in coaching the Leafs

Published January 5, 2024 at 9:30
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY

After being ousted by the Florida Panthers in the second round of the playoffs last year, it felt like it was almost a foregone conclusion that Sheldon Keefe was going to get the boot from the upper management for another failed season.

Then the Kyle Dubas drama clouded the organization, they quickly hired Brad Treliving as the new general manager, and Keefe slipped through the cracks and remained behind the bench heading into another pivotal season.

Although the Maple Leafs are 19-10-7 to start the 2023-24 season, sometimes it feels like they're playing a lot worse. Keefe has made several puzzling decisions throughout the season and if he were relieved of his duties today there would be a handful of viable options to target, including Craig Berube.

The Calahoo, Alberta native was recently relieved of his duties as head coach of the St. Louis Blues but not before delivering the organization's first ever Stanley Cup championship back in 2018. He coached the Philadelphia Phantoms for a couple seasons before becoming an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008-09. He took over the Flyers mid-season in 2013-14 but was fired at the end of the 2014-15 season.


In his first season as the bench boss with the Blues he delivered a championship season. The Blues then lost in the first round in consecutive seasons before a second round defeat in 2021-22. They failed to qualify last season and struggled mightily to begin the 2023-24 campaign which ended up costing him his job.

Berube joined Jay Rosehill and Nick Alberga on Leafs Nation on Thursday to discuss a myriad of topics including the Maple Leafs in their current position, William Nylander, and potentially coaching in Toronto.

"They have a ton of good talent, that's for sure. With Matthews, Marner, and Nylander up front and Rielly on the backend, those guys are great players for sure."

"They got through the first round last year and ended up getting beat but they made good strides in getting past that first round. Again, it's hard for me to comment on the Toronto Maple Leafs, I'm not in that locker room, I'm only watching from afar but a lot of good players there, a lot of good talent, a lot of good upside. When you get into the playoffs, it's about getting on a good roll and it's a grind that you got to move on from losses and move on from wins, and you got to focus for the next game. It's a battle, it's a 2-month grind and more, it's hard but the Leafs have some great players for sure, they have a really good team, it's really hard for me to comment too much on it with me not there."

Alberga then approached the former head coach about what it's like as a head coach when you have a player like Nylander who needs a new contract and whether or not there are discussions happening between coach and GM:

"You focus on what you have to do as a coach and that's coaching the team and make sure you're doing your job there and if the general manager wants to talk to you about that then you're obviously in those conversations but the general manager, that's their job to take care of the contracts and sign people, whereas the coach, you do your job coaching the guys you have there."

"But there's obviously conversations between a general manager and a coach at times about players and where are we at with this guy or do you want to sign him... but that's the general manager's job."

Before signing off, Rosehill mentioned that it would be great to see Berube behind the bench in Toronto should the Maple Leafs go down that route with Keefe, to which Berube responded:

"I appreciate it guys, it would be an honour to obviously coach there for the Toronto Maple Leafs if that ever happened. Like I said, it's the best hockey market in the world and a great organization that does everything they can to try to win."

Berube has all the makings of a tough and hard-nosed head coach that will get the best out of his players through accountability and tough love - something the Maple Leafs could benefit from.

POLL
January 5   |   770 answers
Stanley Cup winning head coach expresses an interest in coaching the Leafs

Should the Leafs replace Sheldon Keefe with Craig Berube?

Yes34444.7 %
No27235.3 %
If they replace Keefe, there are better options15420 %
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