Skip to content

Leafs' Berube: My players 'know where they stand' with me

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Newly hired Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Craig Berube spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday alongside president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Brad Treliving.

Berube, who was courted by multiple teams, mentioned the Maple Leafs' roster and the lure of coaching for the franchise as reasons he opted to come to Toronto.

The 2019 Stanley Cup-winning coach described the importance of communication between himself and his players.

"Communication is huge. I think one of my strengths is I'm a great communicator with my players," Berube told reporters. "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."

Treliving reiterated the vital nature of a player's relationship with their coach.

"To have success at this time of the year is very difficult, and you've gotta be able to push people into uncomfortable positions and into uncomfortable things," Treliving said. "Well, to me, you have to connect with people first. There has to be a partnership, a relationship, and a trust."

Treliving lauded former coach Sheldon Keefe but said, "It was time we needed something different. We needed a different delivery. A different voice giving the delivery. ... Craig comes at it in a different way."

The Maple Leafs talked to nine candidates during the interview process, Treliving said.

As part of that process, Shanahan noted the team spoke with a range of players who had played for Berube.

"They all came back to us with the same message: That he's a great coach, a great person, and ... 'I'd go through a wall for the guy.' So, it was impressive as we went through the interview process."

Berube described the style he's going to bring to the Maple Leafs.

"Competitive. We don't want to get outworked ever," he 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."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox