Marc Crawford has spent the past four seasons coaching the Swiss NLA’s Zurich Lions, but the veteran coach said he would be willing to take on any opportunity if it meant he could eventually get back behind an NHL bench. That opportunity may be coming in the form of an associate coaching position in Ottawa.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it’s expected that Crawford, 55, will be named an associate coach on new Senators coach Guy Boucher’s staff as early as Monday. The reported hiring will come only one day after Boucher was hired by the Senators, and scooping up Crawford for the coaching staff means Ottawa’s two foremost bench bosses will have both coached in Switzerland’s top league this past season — Crawford with Zurich and Boucher with SC Bern.
In March, following his announcement that he’d be pursuing an NHL job, Crawford acknowledged his route back to an NHL bench might not be by jumping right back into a head coaching gig. “Maybe I have to come back and coach in the (AHL), maybe I have to be an assistant coach,” Crawford told TSN 1040 in March. “I do want to be a coach in the NHL again because it’s the best thing in the world.”
Breaking back into the league as an associate coach gives Crawford the opportunity to once again get used to what it’s like to coach in the NHL. During the same March interview with TSN 1040, Crawford said coaching in Switzerland allowed him to “really coach again,” meaning he was involved in all aspects of his team’s preparation and really understood the strengths and weakness of the club.
“To tell you the truth, as an NHL coach, you have to delegate a lot of responsibilities because there’s not enough time in a day,” Crawford told TSN 1040. “Over here, I got back to the roots of coaching, watching the video and knowing intently what my team was about.”
For the Senators, bringing in Crawford to compliment Boucher could bolster the staff and give Ottawa direction in a hurry. It also gives the Senators a combined 18 years NHL head coaching experience behind the bench. Experience doesn’t necessarily mean the coaching staff will be able to make an immediate impact in Ottawa, but their past three coaches — Cory Clouston, Paul MacLean and Dave Cameron — have all been first-time NHL head coaches. Crawford and Boucher together should be able to instantly command the respect of the dressing room.
Crawford has a career 549-421-103-78 record as an NHL coach, and won a Stanley Cup in 1995-96 as coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Crawford won the Jack Adams Award in 1994-95 during his first season as an NHL coach, leading the Quebec Nordiques to a 30-13-5 record in 48 games.
It was announced Senators GM Pierre Dorion and Boucher will meet with media Monday to formally introduce Boucher as Ottawa’s new coach, and if Crawford signs on by that time, the Senators could make his hiring official at the same time.