Maple Leafs President Recalls Fighting New Head Coach Craig Berube During Playing Career

The Toronto Maple Leafs officially announced the hiring of Craig Berube as their new head coach on May 21.

Berube played for the Maple Leafs among other teams in his 17-year NHL career. During his career, he played against now Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, a member of the New Jersey Devils at the time.

During a game, Berube and Shanahan fought each other, and the video has since gone viral because Shanahan is part of the Maple Leafs front office that hired Berube as their new head coach.

Throwback to when Craig Berube dropped the gloves against Brendan Shanahan on February 24, 1989…💙😅#leafsforever pic.twitter.com/ss4refjB0P

— Leafslatest (@Leafslatest) May 18, 2024

During Berube’s introductory press conference, Shanahan spoke about the time they fought each other, and he had a funny recollection of it.

“I probably had hundreds of fights in the NHL, Craig probably had more than 200 fights in the NHL, I remember that one in particular. When I came in as an 18-year-old, I was playing in the bottom-six and playing a lot against Craig, and then about halfway through my second year I got put on the first line and was doing really well,” Shanahan said to the media on May 21.

“At the end of the game he said, ‘Well, I guess you’re not going to fight us guys anymore,’ I said ‘Let’s go’ and he might have had it right, I should stop doing that. But, he was a competitor, he was a guy that you always knew when he was on the ice and he’s translated that to his career in coaching. We had more than that run-in itself, we had a Stanley Cup final against each other in the 90s. He’s just a guy who played for a long time and played the same way a long time,” Shanahan continued.

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Although Shanahan and Berube had their differences during their playing career, the two are now on the same side as they look to lead the Maple Leafs to their first Stanley Cup since 1967.

Berube Says ‘Communication is Huge’ for him as a Coach

Berube will coach his third NHL team, as he has been the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues.

Berube won a Stanley Cup in 2019 as the head coach of the Blues and the new Maple Leafs head coach says communication is crucial for him to have success.

“Communication is huge. I think one of my strengths is I’m a great communicator with my players,” Berube told reporters (via theScore). “They know where they stand. I’m gonna tell them when they’re playing well; I’m gonna tell them when they’re not playing well. I’m gonna tell them things that need to be improved upon. All types of things.”

Although communication is key for Berube, the new head coach also says he doesn’t want the Maple Leafs to get outworked.

“Competitive. We don’t want to get outworked ever,” Berube said. “We want to be highly competitive every night. And it’s all about the team for me. That’s one of the things I really focus on and that’s part of building the team. Everybody’s important on the team; everybody’s gotta be used on the team. They all have jobs and roles on the team. That’s a real important aspect for me.”

Berube signed a four-year contract with the Maple Leafs, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

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Shanahan Says Everything is on the Table

The next order of business for the Maple Leafs is their roster.

Toronto was eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Boston Bruins. After another early playoff exit, Shanahan says everything is on the table in terms of trading players.

“When you see patterns persist and the results don’t change, you have to adjust the way that you think about things. We will look at everything this summer, and we will consider everything this summer. All with the intention of the one thing we are here for, which is to make the Maple Leafs better and to win,” Shanahan said at a press conference on May 10.

Shanahan has been the Maple Leafs president since April 2014.

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