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Berube only candidate to coach Blues next season

St. Louis in Western Conference Final after replacing Yeo in November

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- Craig Berube is the only candidate to coach the St. Louis Blues next season, general manager Doug Armstrong said Friday.

The Blues, who were last in the NHL standings on Jan. 3, played Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

"When we asked Craig to take over the team (in November), we were in flux at that point," Armstrong said. "I said to Craig: 'You take over on the interim basis and we'll go from there.'

"We were going to support Craig and we were looking outside at potential candidates, whether it be major junior, Europe, the NHL, the American Hockey League. And as I started to work with Craig, whatever names were on the (candidate) list started to get crossed off and crossed off.

"Then I found the synergy that Craig and I have had. Now we're at a list of one."

The Blues were 7-9-3 when Berube replaced Mike Yeo on Nov. 20. By Dec. 31, they were 15-18-4. St. Louis closed the season 30-10-5 to finish third in the Central Division (45-28-9).

They defeated the Winnipeg Jets in six games in the Western Conference First Round, then eliminated the Dallas Stars in a seven-game, second-round series.

Armstrong said he and Berube, 53, will negotiate a contract in the offseason. The focus now for the Blues is defeating the Sharks and trying to win the Stanley Cup for the first time.

"[San Jose] is an experienced hockey team," Berube said. "They have guys who have played together for a long time and have had success."

Berube joined the Blues as an associate on June 15, 2017, after coaching Chicago of the AHL in 2016-17.

Berube was 75-58-28 coaching the Philadelphia Flyers from 2013-15. He was an assistant for the Flyers prior to that and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

Berube played 17 NHL seasons for Philadelphia, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals and New York Islanders. He had 159 points (61 goals, 98 assists) and 3,149 penalty minutes in 1,054 regular-season games.


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