Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Canucks fire Marc Crawford

A week removed from Vancouver Canucks GM Dave Nonis saying he wouldn't make any knee-jerk moves in response to a lost season, the Canucks have fired head coach Marc Crawford.

Crawford has lasted six seasons in Vancouver, making him a veritable greybeard by Canucks coaching staff standards, but this last year was as tumultuous as he's ever had. Vancouver always struggled in its own end in the Crawford years, but that was something that became even more pronounced as injuries piled up on the blueline.

Was Vancouver's collapse Crawford's fault? Probably not. As Tom Benjamin has been saying all season, this was a team built with so little depth that even minor injury issues were hard to cover up. Still, when everything went wrong, Crawford couldn't get his team to win more than two of its final eight games. Three more points in those games, this team would have made the playoffs and 'Crow' would have stayed.

To a certain extent, it's a similar scenario to what happened here in Toronto: A GM didn't provide a winning team for a coach who was in place before he was, that team didn't win and the coach took the fall.

Who could Nonis peg to replace Crawford? Off the top of my head, I'd say recently canned Los Angeles Kings coach Andy Murray would be a good candidate, although he never really had much postseason success in California. (Not that Crawford's Stanley Cup winning tenure ever helped this team much).

Current Vancouver assistant coach Mike Johnston should also be in the running, but reports of Pat Quinn making a return to the West Coast seem unlikely given the team's ownership situation hasn't changed since Quinn's first tenure.

The real shame is that Vancouver was unable to lock up current Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who was in the Canucks organization as bench boss of the Manitoba Moose and is doing a fantastic job in Anaheim. That former Canucks GM Brian Burke chose to airlift Carlyle directly from the AHL tells you all you need to know about his potential.

What Vancouver truly needs is a strong-willed coach who can impose a much better brand of defensive hockey on this team and also keep tabs on a group of often flighty Canucks. Given that Nonis isn't likely to make widespread changes, my guess is that Todd Bertuzzi may, unfathomably, stay with this team, and any new coach will have to deal with the big winger's various mood disorders and lackluster play.

Good luck with that.

From TSN: The Vancouver Canucks have called a news conference for 6:30pm at/3:30pm pt.
No word on what this is about yet, but my guess is that coach Marc Crawford has been let go. I'll post here when I find out.

The strange thing is that general manager Dave Nonis is in Europe on a scouting mission, which makes it unlikely the team would hold a press conference of that magnitude. Stay tuned.


At 6:13 p.m., April 25, 2006, Anonymous jon said...

Psst. Two wins.

At 6:49 p.m., April 25, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Good. Speaking as a Red Wings fan, I can't stand Marc Crawford. Once he and Claude Lemieux were both gone, I think that Detroit/Colorado has turned in to a really good rivalry. I don't hate Colorado anymore. In fact, I want them to beat Dallas, so that we can be the ones to knock them out of the playoffs.

Assuming that we beat the Oilers, of course.

At 11:23 a.m., April 26, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

I dunno, I think the Detroit/Colorado exists pretty much in the heads of fans now. I mean, all those players have been traded or retired. What was the rivalry about? Lemieux shattered Draper's jaw, McCarty and Lemieux fighting, Crawford talking smack about Bowman, Vernon/Roy... They're all gone. There's not much reason to have a rivalry without them. Of course I still don't care for the Avalanche, but the games aren't as exciting as they were for that year or two.

At 11:24 a.m., April 26, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

Crawford's a bum, btw. Maybe I can go back to liking the Canucks again.


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