As expected, there are more stories.
On the heels of Bill Peters’ resignation as head coach of the Calgary Flames and in the midst of more Mike Babcock stories from players and former players, the Chicago Blackhawks are “conducting a thorough review” of assistant coach Marc Crawford.
“Marc Crawford will be away from the team during this time and the organization will have no further comment until completion of the review,” said the team in a statement.
This is the result of an allegation from former NHLers Sean Avery, who stated that Crawford physically assaulted him in the 2006-2007 season.
Avery was a member of the Los Angeles Kings during the alleged incident, while Crawford was the coach.
Avery did go on to say that Crawford “had every right in the world” to kick him.
Avery isn’t the only one to level accusations at Crawford, with former Vancouver Canuck Brent Sopel stating in November of last year that he was “kicked” and “choked” by the bench boss. Sopel also noted, via the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast, that Crawford “attacked guys personally.”
Patrick O’Sullivan has also had his run-ins with Crawford, so it’s likely he will participate in the investigation in some fashion.
It’s clear to see that the Flames set the template with regard to how these internal investigations will happen, as Chicago is essentially following their lead. The individual under investigation “will be away from the team,” like Peters was in Calgary, and the investigation will be noted for being “thorough.”
The issue of Crawford is an interesting one because Avery does not appear to be bringing it up as a means of complaint. And Sopel did not register his issues with his coach as a complaint but rather as banter for a podcast.
Regardless, the league has to take these incidents very seriously. Hockey is under the microscope – and rightly so – and abusive relationships between coaches and players and others in the game cannot be tolerated. There is a line between motivating players and abusing players.
Earlier Monday, former Detroit Red Wing Johan Franzen stated his former coach Babcock was “a bully” and a “terrible person.” Former Red Wing Chris Chelios also chimed in, stating that Babcock’s behaviour is “coming back to haunt him” now.
Photo credit: Victor Hilitski/Sun-Times