Craig Berube is being hailed as the type of NHL coach with the Philadelphia Flyers who is a tough guy who logged plenty of penalty minutes during his playing days. He was basically an enforcer who would never back down.
That’s fine, for those who like that style, but the man he replaced, Peter Laviolette, wasn’t exactly Mr. Clean himself since the Flyers led the NHL in penalties during his leadership.
Many fans will like Berube’s style if they enjoy watching fisticuffs and hard hitting. That’s fine, but will it result in victories?
So far this season, with poor start it didn’t work for Laviolette. The backers of rough play said it was this style that paves the way to the Flyers’ glory days back in the 1970s. That’s possible. But that’s also ancient history now.
So far in just a game or two, Berube is showing signs that he realizes the tough-guy aspect of hockey can go only so far. Yes, the Flyers need to be better on defense and Berube will make a point of that. He demonstrated where he won’t tolerate players taking dumb penalties that puts them on the penalty kill too much. That’s a positive sign from a guy who enjoyed taking several shots after the whistle during his playing days. He’s also talking about getting better offensively and on the power play, which is typical for any coach.
One sports writer called a recent Flyers win ugly, but noted that the W is all that counts. That’s true. Berube needs to win whichever way he can. But hopefully, he realizes by now that being an overly-aggressiveness team won’t always get the job done.