Yet another coach has been fired this month, with the St. Louis Blues relieving Mike Yeo of his duties on Monday night.
The move comes after the Blues dropped a 2-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings, coincidentally another team that’s been trying to adjust to coaching changes this year. The Kings fired John Stevens in early November, hiring former Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins as his replacement.
Also, the Chicago Blackhawks fired Joel Quenneville and substituted him with Jeremy Colliton.
The inclination is seemingly this: coaches of once powerful Western Conference teams are being cut loose.
The Blues have installed Craig Berube as interim head coach. The 52-year-old was an assistant with St. Louis, joining the franchise in June of 2017 after spending a year coaching the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.
Berube went 44-19-13 at the helm, leading them to the Central Division roof and to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
And prior to that, Berube was in the middle of the Flyers’ organization for nearly a dozen years. For two years, he coached the hockey club and went 75-58-28 overall.
The Blues are now 7-9-3 to start the season, putting them 14th in the Western Conference and seventh in the Central Division.
Ryan O’Reilly leads the team in scoring, with Vladimir Tarasenko, David Perron, Tyler Bozak, and Alex Steen rounding out the top five.
Back in October, Yeo accepted liability for St. Louis’ poor play and seemed to know the clock was ticking after a 7-4 loss to Columbus.
But there are holes all over this Blues roster, with goalie Jake Allen surely bearing a lot of the blame. His play hasn’t improved since the Blue Jackets loss, which has been a big part of why St. Louis has been so absorbent.
A lack of overall defensive effort underwrites the problem, which is where a coach like Berube will start. His Flyers were run through a scope of uncompromising hockey, with Berube favouring a coarser edge. He’s also not afraid to call out his team.
“Chief is full of piss and vinegar and I love it,” said former Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. “He was an aggressive player, a tough player and a tough coach; I think that’s what some guys needed.”