Friday, April 28, 2006


Marc Crawford doesn't burn bridges

Marc Crawford is definitely not a stupid man. He may be stubborn and annoying at times, but he isn't dumb.

Crow gave a post-firing press conference (How would you love to have to go public after you've been canned?) and had nothing but good things to say about his ex-employer. Instead of lashing out in anger, Crawford almost broke down in tears as he seemed genuinely sad to see his tenure end.

Crawford is young and talented, and he has a bright future ahead of him as a coach or colour commentator. He was smart to take the high road and not take down people with him. Unlike Ted Nolan, Crawford knows that burning bridges would hurt his chances at future employment.

On Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison:

"I really feel Todd has been so unfairly treated here, especially lately, when it's very, very sexy for the media to try and portray that there's a problem between one side and the other side," said Crawford, who held a news conference in the same room at GM Place where he talked to reporters during the season.

"Todd wasn't the reason I'm sitting here today, neither is Brendan Morrison," said Crawford, a reference to the coach's occasional rebukes aimed at forward Morrison but never at Bertuzzi or star winger Markus Naslund.

"I think Todd Bertuzzi has shown himself to be a first all-star team right winger," said Crawford. "He's shown himself to be an all-star. There were times this year when he played like an all-star and I believe he'll return to being an NHL all-star."

On being 'tuned out':

"I believe that players are so much wanting to perform at the right level all the time," he said. "Sometimes you get confused about how to get to that optimum level and a coach's job is to clear that confusion and to try to eliminate distractions."
I hope Crawford does learn something from this firing, since he does have a stubborn streak that has hurt his clubs.

1. Learn to trust your backup goaltender. Crawford rides his #1 goalies hard, and it was a major cause of Dan Cloutier's breaking down and constant injuries and Alex Auld's late-season fatigue. I know Martin Brochu was teh suck, but Crawford's other backup goaltenders weren't exactly chopped liver. Getting your backup into a few more games will keep your #1 goalie's heathier and fresher and will likely lead to better performance overall.

2. Learn not to alienate players completely. Crawford's lack of trust in certain players is very obvious (Steve McCarthy, Jiri Slegr, the backups) and very detrimental to their games. Look at how well McCarthy did after he landed in Atlanta? Crawford basically shuts out certain players in the doghouse, giving them little or no ice time. The play of these players suffers as they get rusty and lose self-esteem. Crawford does play favourites and he needs to learn how to treat his marginal players a lot better. Even if a Steve McCarthy is not a big part of your team, he still has a role to play and he won't/can't play it well if you are making a hostile environment for him.

Oh, and if you going to colour your hair, don't stop half way! You make enough money, so spring for a second box of Just for Men if you need it.

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