Marc Crawford's positivity in the face of panic

The Marc Crawford that is currently coaching the Dallas Stars is not
the Marc Crawford  we all know and love. This is not the fiery, angry
and explosive coach that won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche
and helped turn the Vancouver Canucks into a respectable team. This
isn’t even the same Marc Crawford that stumbled mightily in Los Angeles.

Instead,
we have a Marc Crawford who seems oblivious to his team’s issues and is
focused on positivity, consistently driving fans mad as he spins each
loss towards the positive instead of blowing up and going nuts in front
of the press like so many seemingly want him to be. After yesterday’s
practice, as the Stars prepare for what should be an entertaining
thrashing at the hands of the Washington Capitals, he
maintained his positive outlook.

“I’ve been
through this before, and I know that you can’t panic, that’s
not the right response,” Crawford said after his team went through an
optional practice and some film work Sunday. “This was a good time for
us to get some rest, to refocus and reenergize, and I think that will
show going forward.”

“I believe we do have the talent and I
believe we can beat these
teams,” Crawford said. “It’s just a matter of making the right plays
at the right time. If you go back and look at the film of these games,
we are right there and we have great scoring chances, and we can’t get
the puck in the net. Then, we play great defense, or play great on the
penalty kill like we did against Pittsburgh,
and we make one mistake and we pay for it.”

Can we
get one outburst? Something? Some form of emotion that speaks to the
inner turmoil he is working through as his team falls to pieces at the
most important part of the season?

For those that follow the Stars
on a daily basis, it’s been painfully obvious that Crawford is not
doing any of these things anytime soon. After every loss, he spins it as
it’s just a “matter of time” and working on some “issues and
improving”, like he expects these issues to magically repair themselves
just by talking about them. It certainly doesn’t appear that he’s
coaching the team to correct the “issues”.

Crawford was supposed
to make this a harder, more focused and much more exciting team to
watch. Perhaps its the actual players on the ice that are causing the
team to falter — the success Dave Tippett is having in Phoenix could
point in that direction — but the coach is supposed to be able adjust
to his players and put them in the right position to succeed.

Is
he doing the best he can with the players he has? Perhaps, but you’d
like to at least hear his frustration every now and then.

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    Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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    The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

    “Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

    “That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

    More on the statue from the Devils:

    The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

    Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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    The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

    Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

    The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

    Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

    “It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

    “You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

    “We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

    The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

    Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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    In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

    After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

    The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

    — He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

    — From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

    — Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

    He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

    Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

    The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

    The Islanders also have a game in hand.

    Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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    The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

    As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

    Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

    In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.