Craig Berube’s Unusual NHL Journey: A Brief Spell with the Islanders

Craig Berube, New York Islanders, NHL career

Craig Berube, the freshly minted head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has a surprising chapter in his hockey journey: a stint with the New York Islanders. The announcement came last Friday, with the Maple Leafs appointing Berube as their new head coach following the departure of Sheldon Keefe post their first-round exit at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

Before Berube made his mark as a coach, he carved out a notable 17-year career as an NHL player, spanning 1,054 games. While he wasn’t known for his scoring prowess, tallying just 61 goals and 98 assists for a total of 159 points, Berube made his presence felt in another aspect of the game: accumulating penalty minutes. With a whopping 3,149 penalty minutes to his name, averaging 2.98 per game, Berube ranked seventh in NHL history for career penalty minutes.

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Berube’s journey through the NHL featured some unexpected twists and turns. He started with the Philadelphia Flyers for seven seasons before brief stops in Toronto and Calgary, followed by a stint in Washington, D.C. After returning to Philadelphia for a couple of years, Berube made another return to Washington before wrapping up his playing career with the Calgary Flames in 2003.

However, one lesser-known stop in Berube’s career was with the New York Islanders. In January 2001, with Eric Cairns sidelined due to injury, the Islanders sought an enforcer and acquired the 35-year-old Berube in exchange for the Canucks’ 2021 ninth-round pick. During his time with the Islanders, Berube played under the coaching of Butch Goring. Across 38 games with the team, he notched two assists and racked up 54 penalty minutes while wearing the blue and orange jersey.

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