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Maple Leafs name 2019 Stanley Cup winner Craig Berube as head coach | CBC Sports

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Craig Berube has been handed the keys to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It will be up to the 58-year-old to deliver something the Original Six franchise hasn’t experienced in more than a generation — sustained playoff success.

The Leafs named Berube their new head coach Friday after another post-season flop that cost predecessor Sheldon Keefe his job last week.

He will be tasked with getting the Leafs’ offensively gifted — and playoff-challenged — core led by Auston Matthews to the next level with Toronto having lost eight of nine series dating back to 2017.

Berube, who won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, takes over a team that lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games this spring despite trailing the first-round matchup 3-1.

Sent packing by St. Louis in December after missing the playoffs last spring, the Calahoo, Alta., product owns a 281-190-72 coaching record over parts of eight NHL seasons with the Blues and Philadelphia Flyers.

He was promoted from an assistant’s role to the top job in St. Louis on an interim basis in November 2018 before leading the Blues to the franchise’s first title some seven months later.

A finalist for that season’s Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year, the Leafs said Berube will be formerly introduced at a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET at Ford Performance Centre.

The bruising forward put up 60 goals, 159 points and 3,149 penalty minutes in 1,054 games across 17 NHL campaigns with the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and Leafs from 1987 through 2003.

He added three goals, an assist and 211 penalty minutes in 89 playoff appearances.

Berube also had a supporting role in one of Toronto’s franchise-altering moments.

Traded three times in quick succession following the 1990-91 season, the second brought him to the Leafs for a 40-game stint before he was included in the blockbuster 10-player deal with Calgary that saw Toronto acquire Doug Gilmour.

The gritty centre and fan favourite would lead the Leafs on memorable back-to-back runs to the conference final in 1993 and 1994.

Berube, who had been doing some TV work with TNT in the United States, spent his final professional season in the American Hockey League as a player/coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2003-04 before becoming a full-time assistant.

He eventually joined the Flyers’ bench and was promoted to head coach three games into the 2013-14 campaign. Berube made the playoffs that first season, but missed out the following April and was fired.

After a year away from the pro game, he signed up to coach the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in 2016-17 and joined the Blues as an associate the next season before taking the reins when Mike Yeo was dismissed 19 games into 2018-19.

Hoping to turn playoff fortune around

The Leafs advanced in the post-season for the first time in nearly two decades last spring, but lost five of six series under Keefe, including four winner-take-all contests.

Berube, meanwhile, won two Game 7s during the Blues’ run to the Cup, including a title-clinching victory on the road in Boston.

He enters a locker room in Toronto — an organization with a title drought stretching back to 1967 — featuring an ultra-talented group led by Matthews that has been unable to truly break through in the playoffs.

It will be Berube’s task to finish the job.

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