NHL Notebook: St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong self-critical after Berube firing, and a first look at the Canadian World Junior squad

Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
After the decision to fire his head coach Craig Berube, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong was highly critical of himself during a press conference on Wednesday.
Armstrong, who made the move Tuesday night following a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, said he doesn’t feel he’s put the team in a good position.
“If I get fired in the next hour, or I get hit by a bus in the next hour, I don’t feel today I’ve left it any better than where I found it,” he said. “That’s an awful feeling.”
Berube was replaced by ex-Edmonton Oilers defenceman Drew Bannister, who has spent the last three years as the head coach of the Blues AHL affiliate Springfield Thunderbirds.
Armstrong’s critique comes as St. Louis thudded to a 13-14-1 record, but no matter the struggles this team is undergoing, the GM was the man behind the 2019 Stanley Cup-winning squad, which Berube manned. Armstrong dismissed the head coach they had entering that season, Mike Yeo, after a 7-9-3 start.
As noted by Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell, there is some truth to Armstrong’s comments.
Armstrong is technically correct in his analysis, as the Blues were coming off a 33-36-13 season in 2007-08 with a .482% points percentage when he was brought into the organization in the 2008 offseason as the director of player personnel, and this current Blues team is on pace for a 38-41-3 with a… .482% points percentage.
However, that doesn’t tell the whole story, as Armstrong had turned the Blues into a consistent contender for a majority of his tenure with the team. They made the postseason in 10 of the 13 seasons that Armstrong has been the GM, and won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2019. Since becoming the GM in 2010, only the Boston Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning have a higher points percentage than the Blues .610%.


World Juniors roster announced

Canada announced their 22-man roster ahead of the 2024 World Juniors on Wednesday, with a few notable names both making, and being left off the squad.
The lineup projects as so, as noted by Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis:
Conor Geekie – Macklin Celebrini – Matthew Savoie
Brayden Yager – Fraser Minten – Jordan Dumais
Carson Rehkopf – Owen Beck – Matthew Wood
Owen Allard – Nate Danielson – Easton Cowan
Denton Mateychuk – Tristan Luneau
Tanner Molendyk – Maveric Lamoureux
Oliver Bonk – Noah Warren
Jake Furlong
Mathis Rousseau
Scott Ratzlaff
Samuel St-Hilaire
Here’s a look at two standouts Ellis mentioned:
Macklin Celebrini, F (2024 NHL Draft): Can you really be surprised? Celebrini brought incredible energy to every shift and looked physically stronger than the last time he repped the Canadian colors at the U-18 World Championship. He did a good job of catching defenders off guard and never stopped moving. Expect him to be Canada’s No. 1 center.
Noah Warren, D (Anaheim Ducks): Warren was the most consistent defender in both games. He hit, blocked shots, got in the way and just played strong defense. That’s what he does best – pair him up with a puck-moving defenseman and Warren will make you proud.
And here’s two of the cuts he opined about, too:
Jagger Firkus, F (Seattle Kraken): Firkus entered as one of the top scorers in CHL, but he leaves having had too quiet of a showing. And it’s too bad because we know what he’s capable of. But with Dumais already holding the mantle as the “small winger” archetype for this team, it didn’t make sense to keep Firkus around based on his performance.
Domenic DiVincentiisG (Winnipeg Jets): It wasn’t that long ago that the OHL’s top goaltender last year was projected to be the starter. Instead, a bad showing in the second game didn’t help his case, while the other three looked great.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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