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Sports & Recreation

Staff Pick

Best Coach 

Craig Berube

On November 19, 2018, Craig Berube became the interim head coach of the struggling St. Louis Blues. It wasn't his first stint behind the bench; he led the Philadelphia Flyers for almost two full seasons from 2013 to 2015. He guided the Flyers to the playoffs that first year but got bounced in the first round, and then missed the cut the next year. Not even the most optimistic fan could have predicted what Berube would accomplish in his second opportunity to lead an NHL team: from the bottom of the standings all the way to the last team standing at the end of the year. No one doubted Berube had the grit and mental toughness to do the job — you don't earn 3,000 penalty minutes as a player, as Berube did, by backing down from a challenge — but the in-game responsibilities of coaching (line changes, motivating and critiquing players, exploiting the other coach's mistakes) are something else. Berube's former teammates knew him as a guy who studied the game in the hotel room and knew how to keep players on task. His forthrightness and honesty with his players was another plus. Now Berube is a known quantity as a coach. He's seen the bottom of the standings, and he's reached the top with a team that could never quite get over the hump under any number of highly successful coaches. Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock — they all won Cups, but never in St. Louis. Only one man can say that he's done it, and he did as an interim head coach. It turned out that's the only thing Craig Berube lost while leading the Blues: that "interim" tag.

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