It Was A Long Time Ago
Joe Nieuwendyk's first major decision as GM of the Dallas Star was, to put it mildly, a bit curious.
Tabbing Marc Crawford to be the club's new head coach just one day after officially firing Dave Tippett - hmmm, any possibility Crawford was talking to the Stars while Tippett still had the job? - doesn't exactly put a progressive new face on the Dallas franchise.
While young still at 48, Crawford has that odour of "yesterday's man" about him.
Yes, he won a Stanley Cup with Colorado, but that was 13 years ago. His one shot at Olympic glory in 1998 did not exactly leave him bathed in brilliance, whether it was making sure his own goalie, Patrick Roy, played all the games or leaving Wayne Gretzky on the bench for the decisive shootout against the Czechs.
In Vancouver, Crawford's teams were talented but terribly undisciplined, good in the regular season but flops in the playoffs. His role in the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore affair has yet to be uncovered completely, but he was there on the bench when the dirty deed was done.
As head coach in L.A., Crawford was a failure, winning 59 of 164 games. Interestingly, Terry Murray took over this season and immediately the Kings were an improved, more structured and more competitive team.
This season, Crawford was a crime against television as a Hockey Night in Canada analyst, holding his punches at every turn as he tried to keep himself a candidate for another NHL coaching position.
Frankly, Dave Tippett is a better coach, and he'll find another job soon. Minnesota and New Jersey should take a hard look at him.
Crawford clearly sold Nieuwendyk on something. Maybe it was grainy old tapes of how successful he was when given a loaded roster with which to work.