And sometimes he can make wrong things more wrong. Today we're going to take a look at Marc Crawford who fits a lot of the criteria that Steve Tambellini outlined yesterday for what he's looking for out of a new head coach (people that (1) have some NHL experience, (2) are still coaching a playoff team somewhere, (3) are outside of the organization and (4) have some rapport with Tambellini already). He has NHL experience, he's from outside the organization, he's worked with Tambellini in the past and he even has the ever seductive Stanley Cup on his resume. He also strikes me as a bit of an idiot. He calls Ales Hemsky Alex. Steve Moore. A man who saw value in Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu. A man who believed in Dan Cloutier. That voice. I'll make no bones about the fact that I start this investigation with some bias against The Crow.
First we'll take a look at how Crawford has done compared to his near contemporaries. I'm going to compare Crawford's performance at the NHL level with the coaches that immediately preceded him and the coaches that immediately followed him. The idea here is that the situation in terms of players is similar enough to give a reasonable gauge of the coach's performance. The idea comes from the Contrarian Goaltender who used a similar system in trying to determine the effect of Pat Burns' coaching style on goaltending. Marc Crawford has been hired and fired three times each which gives us six different situations to look at. If he was replaced midway through a year only that year's results are included. If he was replaced after completing a season, the next season's results are included:
The non-Crawford coaches are Pierre Page (1 time, 84 games), Bob Hartley (1 time 82 games), Alain Vigneault (1 time, 82 games), Terry Murray (1 time, 82 games), Mike Keenan (1 time, 45 games) and John Torchetti (1 time, 12 games). The only one that Crawford outperformed was Pierre Page back in 1994-95, although he wasn't completely trounced by anyone. These results aren't decisive by any means, but they do represent one piece of evidence that Marc Crawford is not a particularly good coach. The man clearly has NHL experience, but the quality of that experience is not particularly impressive. My concern is that the Stanley Cup he won in Colorado makes him look more attractive than he actually is.
Since he runs a blog at CBC, I thought that it would be interesting to throw around some of his comments on the Oilers in a post from February 26, 2009:
"When teams venture into Rexall Place in Edmonton, they match up against a team filled with players who compete at a different level than almost any other franchise in the NHL. Their standard in the key area of toughness and team play remain uncommonly high."
"It is this standard that amazes me and it is born out of the fact that the Oilers have remained a team that rarely leaves its family when hiring coaching and managing personalities."
"Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Jason Strudwick, Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, along with Dwayne Roloson, have played inspired hockey and they are the players that the coaching staff uses as the benchmark when analyzing the competitive level of players like Dustin Penner. No wonder he is constantly in the doghouse."
Is this a man you want as your head coach? No! I say it again: No! Yet the fact is, he measures up with many of the other things that Tambellini mentioned in his presser. Crawford and Tambellini spent time together in Vancouver with Crawford arriving close to the time Tambellini began to move up the food chain. Crawford began as coach in Vancouver in 1998, the same year that Tambellini became Vice President of Player Personnel. That team was pretty successful, somethign not easily forgotten for a man who saw his share of failure. Crawford also likes to play an offensive and physical style of game which seems like the direction Tambellini wants to go. Crawford has been named Coach of the Year in the AHL and in the NHL. Five division titles. A Stanley Cup. A winner. Oh no.