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Get to know Craig Berube

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

"I'm demanding but I'm fair."

That's how Craig Berube described himself during a press conference Tuesday at St. Louis Outlet Mall, where he was introduced to the media as the Blues' interim head coach for the first time. Berube accepted the job after Monday's 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings following the dismissal of Mike Yeo.

So what else do we know about Berube?

We know he played in 17 NHL seasons as a player, posting 159 points (61 goals, 98 assists) and 3,149 penalty minutes in stints with the Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders.

We know he served as a coach in various capacities with the Flyers organization for 11 seasons, including six as an assistant coach, where he helped the Flyers reach the postseason five times, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

We know he also served as the Flyers head coach from 2013-15, guiding the club to a 85-58-28 record.

Video: Berube, Armstrong hold press conference at Ice Zone

"His career speaks for itself as a player, he's put his time in as an NHL head coach before (and) he's worked in our organization with some of our younger players," Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said of Berube. "He's in tune with today's game, he's in tune with today's athlete. I'm excited to work with him on an interim basis."

Berube first joined the organization as the head coach of the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves, the Blues' minor-league affiliate at the time, for the 2016-17 season. Berube guided the Wolves to a 44-19-13 record and a Central Division title in the regular season before helping the club to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. His success with the Wolves led to a promotion as the Blues' associate coach in June 2017.

On Tuesday, the 52-year-old Berube ran his first practice with the Blues, a group that has exceptionally high expectations but has underachieved to start the season.

"It's a difficult time, for sure. Mike (Yeo) was a good friend of mine. I loved working with him, coaching with him, so it's tough," Berube said. "But we've got to move forward and we've got to get better. That's the plan.

"We're working on that. We've got ideas, we're working on it right now," Berube added. "We've definitely got to instill some confidence back into this hockey team. It's a good hockey team, and we've got good players, we've got to get moving in the right direction."

Video: Blues players react to news of coaching change

Berube describes himself as a good communicator, someone who has an open door for players who want to come in and talk with him. He also used the word "accountable" throughout Tuesday's press conference.

"We're going to demand. We're going to be a demanding coaching group and it starts in practice," Berube said. "Holding players accountable, it starts in practice again. It's being ready to practice and practicing hard and doing things right in practice, and demanding it in practice, then it carries over to the game."

Armstrong said Berube and his staff - which will include Larry Robinson for the foreseeable future to help with the transition - will have his full support. But Armstrong also said he would create a list of head coaches he could look to hire, which would include former NHL coaches, college coaches, junior coaches, European coaches and more, but that it wouldn't happen over the next several days. Armstrong said it's possible a permanent coach could be named later this season, but not probable.

"We've just got to get that confidence back, build them back up," Berube said of getting the Blues back on track. "…it starts with demands. That's what we've got to do."

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