Craig Berube has had quite the coaching career in the NHL. After taking over for Peter Laviolette, who was fired just three games into the 2013-14 season, Berube led the Flyers to a 42-27-10 record and a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division and a first-round postseason exit as the Flyers were eliminated following seven games against the New York Rangers. The following off-season saw minimal roster improvement as Ron Hextall was hired in May 2014 and began a rebuilding effort that saw some excellent drafting and development in the minor league ranks, but he never got to see the fruits of his labor come to fruition at the NHL level. The lack of roster improvement ultimately played a large role in the Flyers’ 33-31-18 record in 2014-15, which cost Berube his job as head coach.
During the 2018-19 season, the St. Louis Blues fired Mike Yeo after a disappointing 7-9-3 start to the season and named Berube the head coach. All he did was guide the Blues to their first Stanley Cup victory in four attempts. He’s followed that improbable title run with an even more impressive regular season, guiding the Blues to the best record in Western Conference.
In an interview with Snow The Goalie, Berube had plenty to say about his coaching career to this point, but it was his response to a question about his thoughts on the NHL’s return to play, including plans to forego the rest of the regular season in favor of heading straight to the playoffs:
Stanley Cup winning @StLouisBlues coach Craig Berube joined @SnowTheGoalie and revealed to @AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad his thoughts on the @NHL's return to play. Plus, thoughts on his time with and dismissal from the @NHLFlyers.
Audio: https://t.co/LA4FYt8j8l pic.twitter.com/vG0NJ8duiu
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) May 13, 2020
No Regular Season?
“I do believe that they are going to come back with some sort of format,” he said. “You know, personally I just think it’s playoffs. I don’t think you play out that rest of the regular season. I know there are… that’s something that’s got to be debated a little bit because you have some teams right on the bubble there. But they will figure it out and I do believe that we will come back this year and finish it out.”
Determining Playoff Seeding
There have been a number of potential playoff-seeding ideas thrown around in the past few weeks, shining a bright spotlight on the inequity that exists for teams on the bubble that have played fewer games and sit on the outside looking in or are jockeying for a higher seed.
Crossing Broad: I just wanted to ask really quick, So assuming that you’re right and assuming that it’s just playoffs, where you guys are right now in the standings, I guess it’s not the most impactful on you, but for a team that might be a fringe team, like I look at like Nashville and Vancouver have played 2 fewer games than your team has, do you think that the proposal of going to a points percentage as a way to rank the teams to make sure that it’s kind of level playing ground is fair? There have been ideas thrown out about going retroactive to the 69th game or the 68th game or whatever the minimum amount of games played were. Or do you think it’s just, “Hey, we lucked out and got a couple extra games in and let’s just do it.”
Berube: Well I think that they will come up with a format of adding more teams to the playoffs. That’s what I believe. You know there are some fringe teams that are right there like you said and points percentage comes into play so you can add some teams into the playoffs, they can have some sort of round robin, maybe, anything like that. They are going to have to change it up somehow to make it fair and I agree with you with that.
Crossing Broad: How would you feel about a 1st round bye if they do the round robin, would you be happy with that?
Berube: You know, yes and no. The reason I would say no is well, teams are going to be playing in games and you’re not. And teams that are going to play games are going to be more prepared than you are because we have been off a long time. You can practice all you want, you can scrimmage within yourselves as much as you want, but it’s not the same as playing a game, so that’s going to be tricky that one.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but a playoff-only format is one that makes sense for the league, players, and their TV partners, as it might be the only way to bring hockey back.
For more Flyers coverage, follow Snow The Goalie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also be sure to tune into The Press Row Show as Anthony SanFilippo and Russ Joy provide pregame and intermission coverage of every Flyers home game from press row of the Wells Fargo Center via the Crossing Broad Facebook page, YouTube Live, and Twitter, and their Twitter accounts Follow @SnowTheGoalie Follow @AntSanPhilly Follow @JoyOnBroad