The latest rumored coaches surrounding the Vegas Golden Knights are well known names around the NHL. The Hockey News reported Former Flyers coach Craig Berube and Canadiens associate coach Kirk Muller are considered Vegas candidates. The other name being whispered around is former Panthers coach Gerard Gallant. None of these names should surprise you and there’s a good chance one of them could be on the Golden Knights bench next October.
Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported George McPhee created a list of potential coaching candidates. Apparently, Berube and Muller are on that list. Other rumored possibilities are Kevin Dineen, Paul McLean, Davis Payne and Gallant. Most names being rumored are offensive style coaches. Berube however, was a coach that struggled to get offense from Philadelphia, which is why I believe hiring him would be the wrong move for the Golden Knights.
Berube took over the Flyers bench in 2013, three games into the season. He led Philadelphia to the playoffs, but the Flyers were dispatched in seven games by the Rangers The following season the Flyers finished with 84 points, 14 shy of a playoff berth. He was let go shorty after that second season.
Critics argued he couldn’t get enough offense out of his team, wore down his goalie, and didn’t adjust to today’s NHL. To me, those are red-flags you just can’t look past when considering the inaugural coach for the Golden Knights.
NHL players today are much different from the league Berube played in. He was the type of player that gave his body up every night for his team. However, a nightly discussion happening in all locker rooms is work-to-rest ratio. Something Berube could never get his head around. The Flyers were worn out late in the season, losing 15 out of their last 22 games in ’14-’15. Berube’s team went from clear in late February to missing the playoffs by a wide margin.
Work-to-rest is a relatively new concept NHL teams have adopted from other sports. Trainers believe resting periods are just as important as practice throughout a lengthy 82 game season. Teams strive to take better care of their players in anticipation for an extensive run. Berube didn’t prepare his team for the bigger picture and they faded majorly down the stretch.
Another slam on Berube’s coaching tenure was his horrendous record in shootouts. During his two season tenure, the Flyers went 6-19 in shootout. Love it or hate it, shootouts are a big part of the NHL regular season. Apparently another part of the game Berube couldn’t adjust to.
If you put too much pressure on these guys in the shootout they’re not going to perform anyhow. Basically it comes down to a mental thing. Claude Giroux is one of the guys who was so reliable in the shootout years ago. He could go down and he always made a nice move, a nice play, and scored. And this year it got to him mentally that every time he went down, he kind of just wanted to get it over with it seemed like. He lost his confidence. It’s a confidence thing. Shootouts are a skill. It’s nothing more than a skill and I think that we didn’t have enough guys that could perform in that area. -Craig Berube
It’s clear Berube doesn’t care for the shootout and didn’t pay enough attention to it. If he realized his best player lost his confidence, then why put him out there? Why not focus some time in practice? Why not bring up a younger player specifically for shootout impact? In today’s NHL, a team cannot go into the extra frame knowing they won’t win in a shootout.
Of course, many coaches learn from past results, and Berube could be one of them. But when the constant knock on a guy is his inability to adjust, I highly doubt learning from mistakes is a strong suit. If Berube continues to coach like he played, it’ll be tough for his teams to succeed.
His name might be on McPhee’s list, but for our sake let’s hope it’s written in pencil.