Craig Berube formally introduced as Maple Leafs’ head coach

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
25 days ago
Craig Berube was formally introduced as the next head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Berube was hired Friday afternoon and met with media Tuesday alongside Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, president Brendan Shanahan and MLSE CEO Keith Pelley.
Berube is tasked with leading a talented group to an elusive Stanley Cup, or at the very least, a prolonged playoff run. The 58-year-old repeatedly emphasized the Maple Leafs’ talent level as a key reason why he accepted the job.
“That’s one of the attractions. The core player group is great here,” Berube said. “That was definitely one of the attractions to come and coach this team. Watching the playoffs this year with them, there was already that change going on with how they want to be built and play. Talking with Brad and Brendan, we’re on the same page and that’s important. We’ve got some real great players here.”
Berube was Toronto’s preferred choice all along, although Treliving revealed that the team spoke to nine candidates before making the hire. Treliving was impressed with Berube’s body of work and Toronto’s new head coach led the St. Louis Blues to a Stanley Cup victory in 2019.
One of the major points of contention, at least under Sheldon Keefe’s regime, was to keep the Maple Leafs’ core — to say nothing of the roster overall — accountable, after eight consecutive early exits in the playoffs. Berube emphasized the importance of establishing strong relationships with his players, so they can accept and receive his messaging.
“To hold players accountable and for players to understand the accountability, you have to form a partnership throughout, I think it starts in the summertime. Get to know these players, then get to understand what I’m all about and how I’m going to coach each individual and the team.
“Then, when you have to hold the player accountable, it could be for ice time, it could be for whatever the situation is, they understand it more. Communication is huge. One of my strengths is that I’m a great communicator with my player, they know where they stand.  I’m going to tell them when they’re playing well, I’m going to tell them when they’re not playing well. I’m going to tell them things they need to improve upon, all types of things.”
On a tactical level, Berube emphasized playing a north-south game — which could be interpreted as a critique of Toronto’s overly complicated entries into the offensive third while heading east-west, and implementing structure in all three zones.
Berube’s resume across all levels of hockey clearly stood out to Treliving and Shanahan. The first major part of the summer of change has been completed and now the Maple Leafs’ fan base will have to anticipate what’s next under Berube’s stewardship.

Check out these posts...