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Craig Berube
Photo credit: RDS

Ex-NHLer pinpoints exactly why Berube is the best coach for the Leafs

Published May 15, 2024 at 4:00
BY MIKE ARMENTI
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Former Leaf Kelly Chase is a big believer in Craig Berube as the next head coach of the Maple Leafs and believes that Berube's impact in Toronto would be immediate.

Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun recently had a chat with Chase, who ironically enough was born in 1967, AKA the last year the Leafs won a Cup. Chase played just 2 games for the Leafs back in 1996-97, but played 8 seasons with the Blues before retiring in 2000.

Following his playing days, Chase became a broadcaster, providing analysis for the Blues in St. Louis, so he was able to keep a close eye on Berube over the years - particularly during their Stanley Cup run in 2019.

Why is Craig Berube the right choice to be the Maple Leafs' next head coach?




There are a lot of reasons why Berube would make for a solid option behind the bench in Toronto. As Chase pointed out, the fact that he's so direct gives him a leg up on almost anyone else.

"Chief (Berube) will be perfect for Toronto, direct as hell with players and the media."


What does that mean? Well, Chase elaborated on that, stating that he's a "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" kind of guy, so when the media asks a dumb question, he'll make them pay for it. When it comes to the players, Berube is all about real accountability - something that the team has lacked in recent years.

"He'll be direct with the media and might fire back and ask what you think of a certain situation. You'd better have a good answer or risk looking stupid. And he'll put it on the players to be (waiting in the dressing room and be accountable)."

How can Berube get more out of the Maple Leafs than Sheldon Keefe before him?



Chase believes that Berube would see to it that players understand the assignment and know what's expected of them each and every night. The ones who fall short of expectations will be made an example of.

"Don't mistake his 3,000 NHL penalty minutes for being dumb. He's going to ask you to play hard or you won't play. And that (controversy) only has to happen a couple of times in the winter for it to be understood by every player come spring.

He's brutally honest. He went to Alex Steen in our Cup year and said I want you to take a lesser role, but it's going to be important.' He played him with Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist. People were calling it the third or fourth line, but they were huge. So he might go to Mitch Marner and say I'm moving you down because this other player is doing better. You want to play more? Play harder.'

You have a guy like (Auston) Matthews who can score around 70, but so did we years ago with Brett Hull. You saw what kind of a leader he could be in his playing days when pushed."

Berube will bring a bit of an old school mentality to Toronto, which will really help come playoff time.



Chase believes that Berube's old school mentality is the missing link in Toronto. Keefe may have coached a lot differently than he played during his career, but Berube coaches the way he played. He wants everyone to empty the tank on every shift and leave nothing on the table. He wants his team to win and if they don't win (no team goes 82-0), he wants the opposing team to know that they were in a battle. This is something Chase alluded to as well.

«Some people won't like to hear this, but we won the Cup because we got punched a lot less and bullied [less than] other teams. It's hard to do that to a team like Boston, but we won three games in their building.

Once we showed we could kill off penalties, it meant we could take liberties and, if you listen to the audio, there's Pat Maroon skating past their bench shouting you guys are f**ked.'"

Berube interviewed with the Maple Leafs over the weekend and was also believed to have met with the team again on Monday, so by the looks of things, he's the lead candidate for the job, which, by the sounds of things, should excite Maple Leafs fans.

This is a winning coach who has gotten it done in the postseason. For a team who desperately needs to win when it matters and a fanbase who is craving that type of success, Berube makes a lot of sense and will make a lot of individuals very happy if it all works out the way everyone is hoping it will.

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May 15   |   711 answers
Ex-NHLer pinpoints exactly why Berube is the best coach for the Leafs

If Craig Berube lands the coaching job in Toronto, will the Leafs win a Cup in the next 5 seasons?

Yes41057.7 %
No30142.3 %
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