Just 10 days after being let go by the Philadelphia Flyers, Craig Berube has given his first interview as a former Flyers coach. Berube spoke with Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show this morning about Ron Hextall, Vincent Lecavalier, and various other topics. Let’s take a look at some of what he had to say:
ON HIS FIRING:
“Yeah, you’re always surprised to be let go. I expected to come back and coach again, but decisions are made, Ron has to do what’s best for the hockey team, and that’s what he did.”
“Ron and I… It was quick. He just wanted to let me know, and there’s no reason to sit down and discuss all the stuff. I’ll go in at some point and sit down with him and talk about things.”
“I just think that, like he said, I didn’t get enough out of the team. He believed it was a playoff team and I believe it was a playoff team to, but you know there are injuries and different situations that came up and cost us the playoffs, and a lot of times it comes down to the coach.”
ON VINCENT LECAVALIER:
“I did what was best for the team with Vinny. I think that I gave him ample opportunity to produce and perform, and I pulled him out of the middle of the ice because I didn’t feel that he could perform at the level that I needed him to to perform that position.”
“Vinny has had a great career and produced, and he did a lot of great things in his career. He still feels that he is a higher level player and he should, but like I said my job is to do what’s best for the hockey team, and that’s what I do. I don’t put a player ahead of the team and I won’t do that. The team is the most important thing and that’s exactly how I played that card.”
IF HE HAD TO DO IT OVER AGAIN:
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot I would do differently to be honest with you. Again, when I’m coaching I’m also building a team and building a foundation and trying to put in a philosophy that’s gonna win us cups. Every year, you know, being the same team and not going up and down and you know what kind of game your gonna get from them when another team comes in.
Defense wins and I believe that and I thought that we improved defensively this year quite a bit. Our penalty kill obviously let us down, but other than that defensively we were pretty solid. There are a lot of guys that need to learn how to play both ends of the ice, 200 foot hockey to score goals. It takes a lot of work.”
ON HIS MEETING WITH HEXTALL:
“I don’t expect anything to be honest with you [On a job in the organization]. I think I’ll just sit down with him (Hextall) and get his thoughts, and what he saw, what he thinks, and also for me to improve. I’m going to ask him his opinion on what he thought the problem was.”
ON COACHING IN ANOTHER CITY:
“I want to coach, and that means you’ve gotta move on and coach in another city.”
“In the right situation I might (coach as an assistant). It would have to be the right situation under the right head coach.”
“Well the thing is if you put too much pressure on these guys in the shootouts, they aren’t going to perform anyhow. Basically it comes down to a mental thing. Claude Giroux was one of the guys that was so reliable in a shootout years ago. He used to go down and he always made a nice move, a nice play and scored, and this year it got to him. It got to him mentally.”
“Shootouts are a skill and we didn’t have enough guys that could perform in that area.”
ON HIS HANDLING OF STEVE MASON:
“I didn’t have a problem with the way I handled him. If you look at his numbers, he’s gotten better every year under me, and that’s the whole object here is to get the best performance out of him. His numbers were outstanding this year. The wins, nope, because a little bit of goal production that we didn’t give him.
“I have a great relationship with him, there was no problem at all. That game in Toronto was overblown… nobody knows anything, they just speculate and write things that aren’t true.”
ON JEFF REESE:
“Nope not at all [On personal issues with Reese]… That was a mutual agreement that he had with the hockey team, and he left. It was a private thing.”
Full audio of the WIP’s interview with Craig Berube can be found right here.