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.

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.

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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    Tippett wins 500th game as ‘Yotes bury Flames in overtime

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    GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes grinded their way through the tough stretches, relied on great goaltending and won it on a big goal at the end.

    Call it a Dave Tippett special.

    Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in overtime, Mike Smith stopped 25 shots and the Arizona Coyotes beat the Calgary Flames 2-1 Friday night for coach Tippett’s 500th career victory.

    “I’ve been involved in a lot of ugly games in that 500, so it’s probably fitting that was an ugly game,” said Tippett, who has 229 wins with Arizona and the rest with Dallas.

    It certainly was right out of the Tippett playbook.

    The Coyotes played a solid first period and both teams scored goals in the second on caroms: Martin Hanzal early for Arizona, Mark Giordano late on a power play for Calgary.

    Arizona followed with a series of penalties, but Smith was sharp for the second straight game to send this one to overtime.

    The Flames had the edge early in the 3-on-3 overtime, leaving the Coyotes gasping for air. Arizona flipped the ice for the final stretch, leaving Calgary’s players winded and scrambling.

    Arizona won it with 39 seconds left on the clock when Brad Richardson sent a pass from behind the goal to Ekman-Larsson, and he one-timed it past Karri Ramos.

    After the game, the Coyotes handed their championship belt, awarded to the player of the game, to their low-key coach after his milestone victory.

    “Coaches don’t have many milestones, but that’s a big one,” Smith said. “Players have milestones all the time, but coaches only have winning, which is all that matters, really.”

    The Flames certainly had their chances to win.

    Calgary had a rare power-play goal when Giordano scored his fifth of the season, but the Flames failed on five other chances with the man advantage to lose to Arizona for the first time in six games.

    Ramos stopped 18 in his first loss in five career games against Arizona and the Flames lost for the first time in six 3-on-3 overtimes.

    “It was a good road game,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “We played smart, we played hard, it’s just the result, we wish we could change it.”

    The Flames were coming off one of their worst performances of a disappointing season, blowing an early two-goal lead and a one-goal lead in the third period for a 5-3 loss to Anaheim on Tuesday night.

    The Flames went straight to Arizona, where they watched the Coyotes beat Anaheim 4-2 on Wednesday night.

    They played well and so did the Coyotes in a crisp first period.

    Arizona needed 29 seconds of the second to take the lead, when a sharp-angle shot by Tobias Rieder hit the far post and caromed off Hanzal into the goal.

    Smith stopped 29 shots against the Ducks and was sharp again, turning away some tough chances when the Flames picked up the pressure after Hanzal’s goal.

    The Coyotes took a series of penalties, though, and Giordano scored late in the period by wristing a loose puck through Smith’s legs to tie the game at 1-all. That ended a 0 for 16 streak on the power play for Calgary.

    Arizona kept sending players to the penalty box in the third period. The Coyotes killed off one penalty early and were called for another 8 seconds later but killed off both to get the game to overtime.

    “Obviously, we’d like to score on those power plays and grab some momentum, but we did some good things,” Flames defenseman Kris Russell said. “I thought we played a good game throughout, but at the end of the day, on special teams, we get one there, that’s the difference in the game.”

    NOTES: Coyotes captain Shane Doan missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. … The Flames entered the game 29th on the power play with eight goals in 58 chances (13.3 percent). … Calgary C Jiri Hudler returned after missing two games with an illness.

    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.