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Assessing Marc Crawford's 500 win career

Mar 17, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

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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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