Craig Berube is officially out as head coach for the St. Louis Blues, effective after the team's 6-4 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings. The move from GM Doug Armstrong, who may also have a hot seat of his own, caps a disappointing start to the 2023/24 NHL season.
The Blues currently sit at 6th in the Central Division with a 3-7-0 record in their last 10 games. The Detroit result was also St. Louis' 4th straight defeat, adding to the reasoning as to why Berube was ousted. The day before was the latest in a line of disconcerting losses for the Blues.
They lost Wednesday last week when they allowed 49 shots to the Golden Knights. They lost last Friday in Columbus with the lowly Blue Jackets playing the second game of a back-to-back. They lost the next day in Chicago to the rebuilding Blackhawks. Then came the Red Wings defeat.
Berube coached 382 games behind the Blues bench and won the 2019 Stanley Cup, as the club's interim coach after Mike Yeo was fired. His 206 wins are the third-most in franchise history, as are his 51 postseason games coached and 24 playoff wins while guiding the Blues to a 38-19-6 record in 2018-19 after taking over and pulling the right strings as St. Louis won their first Cup in franchise history. He coached parts of six seasons in St. Louis and finished with a 206-132-44 record with the Blues.
Now his replacement, Drew Bannister, who's served as the Blues' AHL affiliate in Springfield's leader for the past 3 seasons, takes his first top-tier professional-level job. The 49-year-old native of Belleville, Ontario is also a former NHL player, having a 6-year career with the likes of the Lightning, Oilers, Ducks, and Rangers.
Bannister already proved he has a winning record. Just last year, he took the Thunderbirds to a Calder Cup finals appearance in the club's 6th season of play. Previously, Bannister was a head coach in the AHL for the now defunct San Antonio Rampage from 2018-20 and an associate head coach for the Utica Comets for one season (2020-21).
With 54 games remaining in the 2023/24 NHL season, Bannister has big shoes to fill for a team that's hit a rough patch very recently. But with a track record like his, things could be soon looking up for the Blues.