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Former Canucks captain Markus Naslund chimes in on the abuse allegations against Crawford

3 décembre 2019
The landscape for coaches in hockey is very much about to change. We are in the early stages of what looks to be a mass exodus of sorts for coaches who play it a little too close to the edge. You see, the problem with skirting the line is that every now and again, you're bound to cross it. That's exactly what we saw with former Calgary Flames coach, Bill Peters. Maybe not so much during his time in Calgary, but definitely during his stints in Rockford and Carolina, Peters had occasionally stumbled across that line of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, which is what led to his eventual demise as a hockey coach.


Similarly, we are hearing more and more stories about former Maple Leafs bench boss, Mike Babcock. While Babcock may not have physically abused his players (that we know of), his penchant for playing psychological mind games and verbally assaulting members of his roster is well documented.

Former NHLers Chris Chelios and Johan Franzen have recently expressed their distaste for Babcock, bringing to light some of the heinous acts they had witnessed that they had witnessed under the 56-year old's tutelage in Detroit. Chelios sounded off on Babs, during an interview with Spittin' Chiclets, stating that his treatment of Johan Franzen was "probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Quite the sentiment from Chelios, who probably witnessed a lot over his 26 seasons in the NHL.

The latest target of abuse allegations is none other than Chicago Blackhawks Assistant Coach, Marc Crawford. The accusations Crawford is facing stem from his time as Head Coach of the Los Angeles Kings in 2006, when Crawford delivered a violent kick to, then NHLer, Sean Avery after Avery took a too many men penalty, which resulted in a goal against.

Following this development, another of Crawford's former players, Brent Sopel, came forward to speak on his experience during Crawford's "reign of terror", claiming that the former Canucks coach routinely harassed players.

Expressen is a nationwide evening newspaper in Sweden. They recently caught up with former Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund to discuss his experience with Crawford during his tenure with the team and supporting some of Sopel's claims.

"I understand Brent feels that way, Crawford was very tough on him in certain situations. I understand that he experienced it as a reign of terror and I have had that feeling myself. For example, when I played under Mike Keenan, who also had that kind of leadership style."

Naslund continued, "He was very hot-tempered, with everything that entails. We are all different, some may analyze a situation before doing or saying something. Others go straight on emotions. I would say Crawford is the second one."

The former Canucks captain did not completely throw Crawford under the bus, however. When asked if he, himself had experienced anything like what Sean Avery had experienced at the hands of Crawford, Naslund had this to say; "No. Not like that. But it's not uncommon for a coach to slap a player, but more for the purpose of "come on now". But I have never seen any physical violence."

Naslund does believe, though, that there is a problem about the power the coach has in hockey.

"Even if you make a lot of money as a hockey player, and very few actually succeed in doing that, you are still very dependent on the coach. If they don't like the way you play, you get no ice time. And if you don't get any ice time, your career will go down, and you may be sent down to the farm team," says Naslund, also noting that management has a large responsibility.

"It is important to have a general manager who is in control of that, someone who does not just let the coaches loose. Because if they do that it can be dangerous. I'm not a person who believes in management by fear, I don't think it's the way to get the most out of a player."

With the war-cries of many players wounded by coaches - current and former- reverberating across leagues at all levels, there is sure to be a changing of the guard sooner rather than later. The coaching styles that were once acceptable, are no longer that. Nobody deserves to be abused, no matter how large their salary is.

Crawford is currently suspended indefinitely by the Blackhawks organization, pending the completion of an investigation based on the allegations.

Source: expressen.se
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