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Stuck in a skid, the Blues move on from Stanley Cup coach Craig Berube

St. Louis Blues players watch as the Stanley Cup championship banner is raised to the rafters at Enterprise Center.
Alex Heuer
St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Blues watch in October 2019 as the Stanley Cup championship banner is raised to the rafters at Enterprise Center.

Seeking more consistency and passion from the players, St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong has made a decision that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago. He fired Craig Berube, the only coach to win the franchise a Stanley Cup.

"I feel personally responsible for the situation we are in," Armstrong told reporters Wednesday morning, stressing: "It's a new day. Now we move forward."

Berube was let go after parts of six seasons behind the National Hockey League team's bench. The Blues are only one point out of a playoff spot but have lost four games in a row and seven of their last 10, including Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Detroit on home ice.

Armstrong says the decision is not a reflection of Berube's coaching skills.

"That's by far not how I feel," he said after being asked if he considered overhauling the roster instead of firing the coach. "If we could move chairs on the Titanic, I guess we would. It's harder to do," Armstong responded.

Berube was promoted to interim head coach in November 2018, with the team at the bottom of the standings. He guided a massive turnaround, concluding with the championship in June 2019. Since then, the Blues have only won one playoff series, and they missed the postseason last year for just the second time in roughly a decade.

This season, the team has a 13-14-1 record, and Armstrong believes there have been too many times the players lacked passion and accountability.

He said he understands that many fans will be pointing fingers at him as the team he put together underachieves.

"My name is on everyone's contract," he said, "so this is my problem."

Even with that admission, Armstrong thinks the change could provide a spark, and he said he isn't concerned about his job security.

Drew Bannister is the Blues' interim coach, moving up from the American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass. His first game is Thursday night at home against Ottawa. The Senators include former Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko and captain Brady Tkachuk, the son of recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee Keith Tkachuk.

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.