Blues fire coach Yeo after 7-9-3 start to season

NHL

After the nadir of their disappointing season, the St. Louis Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo late Monday night, replacing him with interim coach Craig Berube.

The firing came a few hours after the Blues were shut out by the Los Angeles Kings, who have the worst record in the NHL this season, and goaltender Cal Peterson, making just his third NHL start. It was the second straight game in which the Blues were held without a goal, and the third time in four games they had been shut out.

“Everything bothers me right now,” said Yeo after the Kings’ loss, in what turned out to be his final press conference. “The work ethic was there. The execution was lacking.”

St. Louis had lost four of five games for a 7-9-3 (17 points) record on the season. Their points percentage (.472) was tied for fourth lowest in the NHL.

Yeo was in the third year of a four-year deal that started with him as an associate coach under Ken Hitchcock in 2016. He took over for Hitchcock midway through the 2016-17 season, leading the Blues to the playoffs. They missed the postseason the following season. Yeo went 73-48-11 with the Blues, following a 173-132-44 record with the Minnesota Wild from 2011-16.

The bar for the Blues had been raised dramatically in the offseason after a series of high-profile additions to the roster: Ryan O’Reilly, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in a multiplayer deal, as well as free-agent additions in Tyler Bozak, Pat Maroon and David Perron. In total, the Blues had the fourth-highest salary cap figure in the NHL at over $79.9 million.

Berube, 52, joined the Blues as associate coach in June 2017. He was previously the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2013-15, following years as an assistant, posting a 75-58-28 record overall and making the playoffs in one of two seasons. He then coached the AHL Chicago Wolves. As a player, Berube appeared in 17 NHL seasons, including stints with Philadelphia, Toronto, Calgary, Washington and the New York Islanders. He amassed 3,149 penalty minutes in 1,054 career games.

Interestingly, the team released this news only a few minutes after the completion of the Monday Night Football classic between the Los Angeles Rams, formerly of St. Louis, and the Kansas City Chiefs, a popular market for the Blues, in a game that dominated the sports conversation.

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