Off Wing Opinion: Exit Marc Crawford

Kuklas Korner: pointing at the refs
Ongoing: Scott

Off Wing Opinion: Exit Marc Crawford:

With Crawford’s track record in Vancouver and Colorado, I’m not sure he’ll be waiting long to find a new job. But what I couldn’t help but wonder was how different things might look had Todd Bertuzzi not gone after Steve Moore in March 2004. Something tells me that playoff would have looked a lot different with him in the Vancouver lineup.

This is very true, but… who’s ultimately responsible when it comes to defining what is and isn’t acceptable player behavior on a team?

The coach. Marc Crawford may (or may not have) encourage Bertuzzi to go after Moore; Marc Crawford did, however, clearly coach a team where that kind of action (and it’s justification under The Code) was not only acceptable, but expected.

So don’t cry many tears for Crawford over this; his team did what he demanded of them; in this case, it turned out badly.

I keep thinking about Crawford and Bertuzzi, and the environment of, well, goonism that Crawford and coaches like him create (like him, off the top of my head: Cherry, Quinn, Keenan, Sutter to some degree). And then I look at New Jersey and Lamoriello, and Scott Stevens (and a whole bunch more guys, too). How would Scott Stevens have handled returning the favor to Moore? Do you honestly believe Bertuzzi would have been encouraged to do it in the way that led to Moore’s injury?

Which is not to say Steven’s didn’t cause injuries. Ask Eric Lindros. But — what we’re talking here is fair battle vs. goonery. Some teams and coaches demand their players live up to the ideals of the game (without compromise); other coaches crawl behind The Code, and use it as an excuse for their “just win, baby” mentality, and then whine when it goes too far and people call them for what they are: honorless goons with no respect for the game and their fellow players.

because if they did — they wouldn’t do that. The Code is, ultimately, a rationalization of the “win at any cost” manifesto, of street thuggery instead of athleticism. And teams that live by The Code will also die by it — usually whining to the press afterward.

And how much The Code lives in the mindset of a team is defined by, and only by, the coach.

So don’t shed a tear for Crawford here. He demanded a certain mindset out of his team in name of victory. It’s that mindset that convinced Bertuzzi what he did was acceptable behavior. With or without explicit words about Moore, Crawford created the environment that allowed and encouraged Bertuzzi to act.

And I dare you to tell me that if the team was the Devils that the same thing would have happened. Because we all know that on that team it would have been handled, but very differently, and with class.

This entry was posted in Sports - Hockey.
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