St. Louis Blues center Jordan Kyrou is one of the most intriguing young players in the modern NHL, and his recently fired coach Craig Berube was doing his damnedest to bring it out of him, often to a fault.
That led to friction between Berube and Kyrou, to the point where when the former was let go, Kyrou seemed to express more relief than anything at the prospect of interim coach Drew Bannister taking over.
Kyrou on relationship with Berube: "I've got no comment. He's not my coach anymore." #stlblues
Kyrou on Bannister taking over: "Yeah, it kind of feels like a little bit of a fresh start kind of thing. Yeah, we're all excited here. We want to turn the ship around right now and get our culture back a little bit and get back to how we know how to play hockey." #stlblues
Unfortunately, Blues fans felt a type of way about that.
So even though St. Louis beat the Senators 4-2 at home on Thursday night and Kyrou contributed an assist to the winning cause, he was booed throughout. To say he took it hard and not well would be an understatement.
Hard to blame the Blues faithful here. Was it a little over the top? Sure. On the other hand, Berube was the one who led St. Louis to the Stanley Cup back in 2019. That Blues team pulled off one of the most impressive feats in sports history. They were the NHL’s worst team at the beginning of that calendar year, and all of a sudden, got really hot at the perfect time. That momentum propelled them all the way to capturing Lord Stanley’s Cup. Truly stunning.
Local St. Louis news is doing coverage about how upset fans are that Berube was let go so suddenly, with a contract that was meant to run through the 2024-25 season.
Since then, the Blues have won only one playoff series and missed the postseason last year. They’re clinging to the final Wild Card berth in the Western Conference as of today.
Not to chuckle at somebody’s plight. It’s just…hockey is such a fast-paced sport that it’s damn near impossible to boo somebody every time they touch the puck. Like in the blink of an eye, they’ll have passed it or shot it.
High comedy seeing the fans try to keep up the booing enthusiasm every literal time Kyrou took control:
Thinking out loud here (typing it out, but you know what I mean): Maybe don’t boo the young man who led your team in scoring last season. I think this is a temporary storm that’ll pass. Some idiots who cling to grudges will never get over it, but that’s hopefully a small minority of the Blues’ fan base. Kyrou is still only 25, finding his way as a key pillar in a franchise with annual playoff aspirations and big expectations. He’ll be called soft by a lot of old heads. That comes with the territory. If you’re playing in the NHL at a high level, you have to be extremely tough to do so, physically and mentally.
Maybe it was a simple case of Kyrou not vibing with Berube’s personality or teaching style. With only five goals in 28 games at the time of Berube’s firing, and based on the remarks Kyrou made and the known tense relationship the coach and player had, it’s not hard to connect the dots with this theory.
To use a cross-sports analogy, we saw how Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins broke Tua Tagovailoa’s confidence and had him questioning whether or not he could be a good quarterback. Tua has spoken on this multiple times with few minced words. Mike McDaniel came aboard as the new coach, built Tua and some of the other players back up, and now the young QB has flourished the past couple seasons when healthy.
Goes to show you there’s more than one way to motivate players. In fact, a tailored, individual approach is often the best way to go. If you think you can talk to/coach every single person in your life the exact same way, you’re probably a little out of touch. Craig Berube was no longer getting buy-in, and St. Louis decided to go in a different direction. In this instance, I think a fresh start was best for Berube, Kyrou and the Blues as a whole. Time will tell whether fans will embrace Kyrou and if a new voice in the locker room will help him get back on track.
In case you want to hear a little more of Kyrou’s sound before the emotions began to pour out, here you go:
WATCH: Kyrou gets emotional after the #stlblues win tonight after backlash on the comment he made (or lack thereof) about Berube.