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Berube eyes opportunity to build, push Maple Leafs over the hump

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Craig Berube says the opportunity to help a team with a wealth of talent get over the hump in the playoffs was a driving force in becoming head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Berube was introduced at a press conference as the NHL team’s newest coach on Tuesday. He takes over the job from Sheldon Keefe, who was fired on May 9 after Toronto was eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Boston.

Keefe put up a combined 212-97-40 record over parts of five campaigns in Toronto, but was just 16-21 in the post-season, including a 1-5 series mark.

The Leafs failed to achieve sustained success after finally breaking out of the first round for the first time since 2004, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in 2022-23.

The 58-year-old Berube was hired on Friday after five-plus seasons in St. Louis. He was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2019, when he led the Blues to a Stanley Cup title.

Berube, from Calahoo, Alta., said the Leafs’ playoff failures are in the past and he is looking forward to the job ahead of him.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2024.

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