Assessing Marc Crawford's 500 win career

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Marc Crawford’s coaching career has been a lot like his hair: memorable (though not coated in grease). It seems like a reasonable time to take stock of the often-emotional coach’s career since he hit the 500 coaching wins mark last night thanks to the Stars’ astonishing 8-2 beating of the San Jose Sharks.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News lists the elite company that Crawford found himself in today.

1. Scotty Bowman, 1,244
2. Al Arbour, 782
3. Dick Irvin, Sr., 692
4. Mike Keenan, 672
5. Pat Quinn, 678 (Editor’s note: did Heika mean 658?)
6. Bryan Murray, 620
7. Jacques Lemaire, 581
8. Ron Wilson, 575
9. Jacques Martin, 552
10. Billy Reay, 542
11. Ken Hitchcock, 534
12. Joel Quenneville, 527
13. Pat Burns, 501
14. Toe Blake, 500
15. Marc Crawford, 500

That’s pretty impressive company, regardless of my feelings on “Iron” Mike Keenan.

Admittedly, I’ve been a bit critical of Crawford over the years, but his coaching record is quite substantial. In fact, let’s take a little timeline look at his coaching stops. I’ll include some noteworthy moments in each stop. Keep in mind with coaching records we’re going a crazy four columns here: wins, losses, ties and overtime losses. You so crazy, NHL Standings.


The Quebec/Colorado Era Years: 1994-98 Record: 165-88-41-0

  • Coached during Nordiques’ final season. Probably felt sad for a half minute until the Avalanche traded for Patrick Roy and they immediately won the Cup the first year of their existence. Ouch.
  • Entertained the hockey world with his bombastic arguments with opposing coaches.
  • Noteworthy for nerds like me: was a consultant of some sort for NHL ’98 (I loved that game). I know this only because it was on the back of the game box.
  • Coached Team Canada in ’98.
  • Jack Adams award winner in ’95.
Vancouver Era Years: 1998-2006; Record: 246-189-62-32
  • Helped the moribund Canucks build themselves into a contender (albeit an ultimately disappointing one) with the help of castoff talents Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi.
  • Also may have had a large part in running the organization through the mud by allegedly provoking the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident. Some think that he was actually laughing while Moore was injured on the ice.
  • Still, he was the longest tenured and won the most games as a Canucks coach in franchise history. Then again, this is the Canucks we’re talking about.
Los Angeles Era Years: 2006-08; Record: 59-84-0-21
  • His coaching tenure was – more or less – a disaster. On the bright side, snarky hockey bloggers had the chance to Photoshop beach balls behind Dan Cloutier in a brand new uniform.
Dallas Era Year: 2009-10; Record: 30-26-13
  • The Stars are almost certain to miss the playoffs this season and the franchise has plenty of questions. How long will Crawford last in Dallas?
Overall, Crawford is 500-387-103-66 in 1,056 career games coached. He’s won a Cup, a coach of the year award and lead two different franchises to the playoffs. Still, this could be his third straight year missing the playoffs. Looking over his career, I guess it’s true that I might be a little hard on the gel loving coach, but it’s fair to question his relevance these days.

 

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    Holtby ‘wasn’t as sharp as he can be,’ says Trotz

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    Presidents’ Trophy winners once again in the regular season, the Capitals once again face an uphill climb if they are to advance beyond the rival Penguins and the second round of the playoffs.

    What began with a strong first period for the Capitals in Game 2, albeit without a reward on the score board, faded into a frustrating 6-2 rout, as the Penguins took a commanding 2-0 series lead as it shifts back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 3 on Monday.

    Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. He gave up three goals on 14 shots, while his opponent at the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant with 34 saves.

    “He’ll tell you that he can be better. He’s a straight up guy and he will be. I was just trying to change the mojo,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz of his decision to sit Holtby.

    “I thought some of the goals, he wasn’t as sharp as he can be for us. He’s a game-changer for us. So when he didn’t change the game, I just looked to change the mojo a little bit there. That’s all. Braden’s our backbone. He has been all year. We’ve got to find some goals for him, too. We can’t just put it on Braden Holtby.”

    Now in a deep but not insurmountable hole against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals reportedly held a players’ only meeting following this latest defeat.

    After failing to open the scoring in an otherwise dominant first period, Washington surrendered three goals in the second, as the Penguins broke it wide open with their transition game, led by two great plays from Sidney Crosby.

    “We can’t get frustrated. I think that would be our biggest mistake is to get frustrated right now,” said T.J. Oshie, before expanding on the meeting between the players.

    “It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear. We were very together with what we said. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes in our game … you need to hear from your teammates more than your coach. And tonight was one of those nights.

    “It was the players in here and what was said is what needed to be said.”

    We’ll find out Monday if what was said actually has any impact on the ice.

    Penguins rout Capitals to take commanding series lead

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    The Washington Capitals are in trouble. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Again.

    Despite a dominant first period, at least in terms of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and puck possession, the Capitals saw this game go sideways in a hurry during the second period, on the way to a 6-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2.

    Washington is now in quite a hole, trailing its nemesis 2-0 in this second-round series.

    Last year, Matt Murray stymied the Capitals. Though it’s only been two games this year, Fleury has stepped up in the absence of the injured Murray and given the Penguins solid goaltending and frustrated a dangerous Capitals lineup.

    After withstanding the storm of pressure from the Capitals in the first period, the Penguins broke this game open with a trio of second-period goals. It started with a shorthanded goal from Matt Cullen, and later continued with a beautiful goal from Phil Kessel and then Jake Guentzel‘s sixth goal of these playoffs.

    That led Barry Trotz to take Braden Holtby out of the game, after he gave up three goals on 14 shots, putting in Phillip Grubauer to begin the third period. The Penguins continued the onslaught.

    For the Penguins, there are some injury concerns to keep an eye on.

    Patric Hornqvist left the game in the first period after blocking a shot around his foot or ankle. He didn’t return. Ron Hainsey had to go to the locker room late in the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin shot up around the head.

    Game 3 goes Monday in Pittsburgh.

    ‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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    The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

    The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

    The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

    They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

    “I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

    On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

    That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

    With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

    “We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”

    Capitals’ Holtby begins third period on the bench, Grubauer takes over in net

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    Braden Holtby began the third period of Saturday’s Game 2 on the bench, giving way to Philipp Grubauer.

    The Washington Capitals fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 after two periods, with Holtby allowing three goals on just 14 shots. It will be interesting to hear the reason for this decision from coach Barry Trotz following the game.

    The Capitals had dominated on the shot clock, but gave up a pair of quick goals to fall further behind Pittsburgh in this game, while trailing in the series 1-0.

    Phil Kessel — on a great play from Sidney Crosby — and Jake Guentzel scored 3:10 apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead.