The Ottawa Senators have brought in some help for new head coach Guy Boucher, formally announcing the hiring of Marc Crawford as an assistant coach.
The hiring was confirmed at a press conference on Monday.
Boucher said the decision to bring Crawford in was entirely his and that he wanted to bring the 55-year-old from Belleville into the fold before he was snapped up by another NHL team.
Crawford, who has spent the last four seasons as a coach in the Swiss National League, has become a bit of a hot commodity among NHL clubs searching for a new bench boss. He’s never been hired as an assistant coach or held any sort of associate coaching position before, so this represents a unique opportunity.
Together with general manager Pierre Dorion, Boucher has his goals in mind for the Senators and Crawford’s experience level should be a nice fit.
Crawford’s NHL coaching career began with the Quebec Nordiques in 1994-1995, when he became the youngest coach in league history to win the Jack Adams Award. After the franchise relocated to Colorado, he won his first and only Stanley Cup to date after sweeping the Florida Panthers.
But Crawford resigned from the Avalanche in May of 1998, even after Pierre Lacroix offered a contract extension. He wound up in Vancouver, replacing Mike Keenan as the head coach of the Canucks and transforming the club into an offensively-minded force in the Western Conference.
Sadly, playoff success eluded the Canucks under Crawford and he was fired in April of 2006. He left as the winningest coach in franchise history and became the third youngest coach to secure 400 wins.
Crawford was next hired by the Los Angeles Kings, but he missed the playoffs in each of his two seasons in California and was fired with a year to go on his contract. The Dallas Stars were up next, but he missed the playoffs both seasons and was fired.
Crawford has a lifetime coaching record of 549-421-100-77, but for many people he’ll be forever associated as the dude who didn’t put Wayne Gretzky in the 1998 Olympic semi-final shootout or the dude who was sued along with Todd Bertuzzi for the infamous Steve Moore incident.
It was probably inevitable that Marc Crawford would return to the National Hockey League at some point and Ottawa is probably a nice fit. Boucher has his man and Crawford has his opportunity. Everybody wins – for now.