Patrick O’Sullivan

Marc Crawford Suspension
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Marc Crawford will return to Blackhawks’ bench after suspension

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Assistant coach Marc Crawford has been away from the Chicago Blackhawks since Dec. 2 as the team investigated incidents of player abuse during his previous NHL coaching stops.

The team announced on Monday evening that Crawford will remain suspended through Jan. 2 following the investigation, and will then return to the team’s bench.

Crawford and the team both released statements. Those statements address the incidents, the investigation, the suspension, and the steps Crawford has taken.

The Blackhawks said they do not condone his previous behavior, and during their review confirmed that Crawford proactively sought counseling in an effort to improve.

He began the counseling in 2010 and has continued to go through on a regular basis.

Crawford’s statement

Crawford issued a few more in-depth statement. Here is an excerpt.

Recently, allegations have resurfaced about my conduct earlier in my coaching career. Players like Sean Avery, Harold Druken, Patrick O’Sullivan and Brent Sopel have had the strength to publicly come forward and I am deeply sorry for hurting them. I offer my sincere apologies for my past behavior.

I got into coaching to help people, and to think that my actions in any way caused harm to even one player fills me with tremendous regret and disappointment in myself. I used unacceptable language and conduct toward players in hopes of motivating them, and, sometimes went too far. As I deeply regret this behavior, I have worked hard over the last decade to improve both myself and my coaching style.

I have made sincere efforts to address my inappropriate conduct with the individuals involved as well as the team at large. I have regularly engaged in counseling over the last decade where I have faced how traumatic my behavior was towards others. I learned new ways of expressing and managing my emotions. I take full responsibility for my actions.

You can read the full statements via the Blackhawks’ website.

The incidents

Just before Crawford stepped away from the Blackhawks, former NHL player Sean Avery told the New York Post that Crawford had kicked him back in 2006 when they were with the Los Angeles Kings. Several other players that played under Crawford also came forward with stories, including Harold Druken, Patrick O’Sullivan, and Brent Sopel.

Druken called Crawford “hands down the worst human being I’ve ever met” for his verbal and physical abuse that included derogatory comments about Druken’s background.

O’Sullivan had also shared similar stories about Crawford’s coaching tactics.

Other incidents around the league

• The stories regarding Crawford started to resurface following Bill Peters’ exit from the Calgary Flames.

Peters resigned from the Flames after it was revealed he used a racial slur against former player Akim Aliu when he was head coach of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. That was followed by defenseman Michal Jordan detailing how Peters had punched and kicked players on the Hurricanes’ bench, a claim that was backed up by then-assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour.

•  Shortly after Mike Babcock was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, a story surfaced detailing how he made then-rookie Mitch Marner rank his teammates from hardest working to least hardest working, and then informed the players at the bottom of the list of Marner’s ranking.

• Former Red Wings forward Johan Franzen also shared his own personal experiences with Babcock, calling him the worst person he had ever met.

More: Crawford on leave from Blackhawks

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Edmonton columnist revisits Pronger trade, confirms Oilers made out well

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The Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones — a recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee — wrote an interesting piece revisiting Edmonton’s 2006 Chris Pronger-to-Anaheim deal.

Then-Oilers GM Kevin Lowe flipped Pronger to the Ducks for Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Anaheim’s first-round pick in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and a second-round pick in 2008.

Here’s how it all panned out:

Smid: “This year, the defenseman the Oilers believed would develop into a major-minutes, total-pro top-four defenseman who came out of that deal,” Jones writres. “Ladislav Smid appears to have finally become.”

Lupul: Edmonton traded Lupul to Philly (with Jason Smith) for Joni Pitkanen, Geoff Sanderson and a 2008 third-round pick. Sanderson retired, the third-round pick was Cameron Abney and Pitkanen was traded for Erik Cole. Cole was turned into Patrick O’Sullivan (and a second round pick). O’Sullivan was turned into Jim Vandermeer and the second-round pick was turned into Ales Kotalik, neither of whom are with the team.

In short, Lupul became Abney.

2007 first-round pick: Traded (along with a second-round pick) to the Coyotes for their 21st overall selection, where the Oilers took Riley Nash. Nash was later traded to Carolina for Martin Marincin.

2008 Conditional pick: Because the Ducks made and won the Cup Final in 2007, the pick became a first rounder. Edmonton used it to select Jordan Eberle 22nd overall.

2008 second-round pick: Traded to the Isles for Allan Rourke and a third-round pick that originally belonged to the Oilers. That third round pick allowed Edmonton to offer-sheet Dustin Penner (Oilers had to compensate Anaheim with first-, second- and third-round picks, all of which had to be originals.)

Penner was then dealt for Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick (Oscar Klefbom) and a third-rounder in 2012 than will become a second-rounder if LA makes the playoffs.

So what does it all mean in the end?

“Kevin Lowe traded Chris Pronger for Jordan Eberle, Ladislav Smid, Colten Teubert, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom, Cameron Abney and a player to be determined,” Jones writes. “Helluva deal.”

In retrospect, maybe. But one wonders if Edmonton isn’t kicking itself for the questionable Nash selection (taken ahead of Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Blum and David Perron) and getting so little out of Lupul.

Last chance? Patrick O’Sullivan signs one-year, two-way contract with Phoenix

Back in 2007-2008, Patrick O’Sullivan scored 22 goals and had 31 assists for the L.A. Kings and at 22 years-old appeared to be headed to a great career. Since then, things haven’t gone well. Over three seasons with three different teams, O’Sullivan has just 29 goals and 56 assists total.

Fast forward to this summer, O’Sullivan is signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Phoenix Coyotes to hopefully carve his way back into a full-time NHL career.

Since that big year in 2008, O’Sullivan has played for three teams while being part of four of them. He’s suited up for Edmonton, Carolina, and Minnesota since then and was even once a part of the Coyotes organization. O’Sullivan never played for the Coyotes but he did get his contract bought out by the team, and it’s a deal they’re still paying off heading into this season. It must be nice to get to double-dip on a team owned by the NHL.

For O’Sullivan, with that kind of turnover in his career, this could be his last chance to get and keep a full-time NHL job. While his options to play in the AHL are always there, for a guy that showed so much promise when he was younger to fall on such hard times now is tough to see. His hard times remind us of Jonathan Cheechoo whose career fell off a cliff after being a 50-goal scorer for the San Jose Sharks.

If O’Sullivan can adhere to coach Dave Tippett’s system and find some of that offensive ability he’s capable of, he’s got a chance to get plenty of minutes in Phoenix. The Coyotes are hurting for depth up the middle and O’Sullivan is a natural playmaking center. With just really Martin Hanzal to rely on and Kyle Turris still an unknown (and an unsigned restricted free agent) the Coyotes need the help. It’s the right team and the right opportunity for O’Sullivan and now it’s up to him to see if he can make it work.

Patrick O’Sullivan claimed on waivers by Wild, is it his last chance?

It’s funny how life can work out sometimes for an NHL player. Patrick O’Sullivan was drafted in 2003 by the Minnesota Wild but never played a game for the team after being part of the package that went to the Los Angeles Kings for Pavol Demitra. Now, he’s back with the Wild after Minnesota claimed the talented yet enigmatic playmaker off of waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Sullivan will get the chance to jump right into the lineup thanks to the absence of Guillaume Latendresse who will miss quite a bit of time now thanks to going in for surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip and a sports hernia. I winced just writing that.

For O’Sullivan, this might be the last chance he gets to prove himself in the NHL. He’s gone from L.A., to Carolina, to Edmonton and has shown flashes of brilliance followed by a stunning inability to stick in a lineup. He’s seen the peak of his career come in Los Angeles in 2007-2008 where he looked like the kind of player Minnesota saw when they drafted him in the second round in 2003 scoring 22 goals and 31 assists. Since then, he’s gone to Edmonton where he saw his play bottom out last season finishing with 34  points and plus/minus rating of -35, a horrific number for anyone to have, even on a bad team.

For Minnesota, he’s not going to be able to do the kinds of things that Latendresse does on the ice, but he provides a setup man in the mold of Pierre-Marc Bouchard. A quick skating, slick passing center with the ability to help his wingers pick up points. With Bouchard continuing to struggle coming back from a concussion suffered last season, O’Sullivan at least helps fill that hole in the lineup at a cheap cost. If O’Sullivan doesn’t pan out, he can be sent down/waived easily at little cost to the Wild.

Carolina places Patrick O’Sullivan on waivers, Anaheim waives Ryan Carter

Here is some small waiver wire news from Bob MacKenzie of TSN.

In five tumultuous seasons in the NHL, O’Sullivan has already bounced to three different NHL teams. He started his career with the Los Angeles Kings after being traded there by the team who drafted him, the Minnesota Wild. After spending a season and change with the Edmonton Oilers, the Hurricanes took a chance on him this year.

It’s hard to blame the Canes for getting rid of the versatile forward, who only scored one goal in the 10 games he played this season.

Carter hasn’t been much more than a marginal forward for the Ducks, never scoring more than nine points or playing in more than 48 games in any season. He only has one goal and two assists for three points in 18 games this season, so it’s hard to argue with how replaceable he is.

Ryan never played a game with the Flyers, so there’s not much to say about him. To say that the forward position is crowded in Philadelphia is an understatement.