Blackhawks round out coaching staff with hiring of veteran Marc Crawford

Blackhawks round out coaching staff with hiring of veteran Marc Crawford

The Blackhawks completed their coaching staff for the 2019-20 season on Tuesday by announcing the hiring of Marc Crawford, who most notably won a Stanley Cup as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in 1995-96.

"I am just really thrilled to be coming to Chicago," Crawford said on a conference call. "It's my first opportunity to work for an Original 6 franchise. ... I think my experience and knowledge of the league will be beneficial to the coaching staff that's led by Jeremy [Colliton]. I'm looking forward to working with all the coaches on the Blackhawks. I'm really looking forward to just being in the organization.

"I've had the pleasure of playing in the old Chicago Stadium and coaching in the United Center for so many great games. It's such a wonderful experience. When that anthem starts to roar you can't help but have the hair on the back of your neck rise and I'm looking forward to doing it from the Blackhawks' bench now."

In 18 seasons as an NHL head coach, Crawford owns a 556-431-182 record in the regular season and 43-40 record in the playoffs. He most recently served as the interim head coach for the Ottawa Senators after they fired Guy Boucher with 18 games left in the season. 

As an assistant with the Senators, Crawford's primary responsibilities included running the penalty kill. But he also had his eye on the power play and believes in having a staff that works together in every facet.

"I don't want to pigeon-hole anybody on the staff and I certainly don't want to be pigeon-holed myself," Crawford said. "I've got extensive experience running the power play. I've got extensive experience running the PK. I've got extensive experience of being the head coach and kind of recognizing when the time to give input is. And I've done as an assistant coach the same thing.

"I do think that the best staffs are always the best collaborative staffs. You usually have to have a focal person that actually gives a lot of the meetings or maybe most of the meetings, and has a chance to be the person to have the last call. That's Jeremy. And Jeremy's very comfortable about making those calls, and we talked a lot about that. But I do think that collaboration is crucial in today's game. It's crucial with the coaching staff. It's very, very crucial with the players because in this day and age they want, they need, they desire input and you need to really be a great listener. So I hope that my best skills are that I'm collaborative and I'm a decent listener. But I think if it comes right down to it, those skills and the fact that I have tactically a good acumen for the game probably will be right at the top of the list as well."

The 58-year-old Crawford adds an experienced voice to a young Blackhawks bench that includes Colliton (34), Sheldon Brookbank (38) and Tomas Mitell (38). Goaltending coach Jimmy Waite, video coach Matt Meacham and assistant video coach Dylan Crawford, Marc's son, round out the staff.

Stylistically, Crawford said his coaching philosophically aligns perfectly with Colliton and it's one of the reasons why he felt Chicago was a good destination.

"I think we align very, very well," Crawford said. "As a matter of fact, it was pretty amazing to see how our thought process with how he utilizes people, how he wants to manage his staff. If I was the head coach I would do things almost exactly like he is doing them. From the standpoint of systems, I've been around to see systems work with one team and not work with another. I've been around long enough to recognize there's more than one way to be successful in the National Hockey League. And I've also been around enough to recognize when I see a young great coach and Jeremy is very, very bright. He's very innovative, he's got lots of different ideas of how you should forecheck, how you should play in the neutral zone, how you should defend.

"But I think what I like most about him is how he's communicating with not only his staff but his players because I think that is the number one factor in being a good coach almost in any era. Your players have to understand you, you have to understand them. I think that's become paramount in the game today and you've got to go the extra mile. I know he's going to do that and I'm going to be able to help him do that. So from that standpoint, we align very, very well."

An interesting tie-in is that Joel Quenneville served as an assistant coach under Crawford with Quebec/Colorado from 1994-97. Quenneville was relieved of his duties by the Blackhawks in November, and he didn't need to sell Crawford too much on Chicago and the organization.

"Joel and I are good friends," Crawford said. "I’ve talked to Joel on a regular basis over the past 25 years. ... Joel speaks very, very fondly of the Chicago Blackhawks, and you understand why. I see the quality in the organization, I see the quality of the management, and he didn’t have to do a lot of prodding for me. But I talked to him about some of the opportunities that I had and he spoke very, very highly of the opportunity that I had here in Chicago. He spoke very well of Jeremy, and he spoke very well of the management staff. I didn’t need Joel to tell me this was going to be a very good opportunity, but he offered that type of information to me."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the loss to the Hurricanes, possible changes to the power play, and how Charlie may be partially responsible for Erik Gustafsson's goal scoring streak.

01:30 Looking at the loss to the Hurricanes

05:00 On coming to Kane's defense after hard hit late in the game

06:30 Lehner's assessment of the team

08:30 Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

11:00 Should there be changes to the Blackhawks power play

13:30 Gustafsson and other defensemen generating offense

19:00 Is great goaltending masking some of the team's offensive problems

22:00 Adam's favorite moments from his honeymoon's travels

24:30 Charlie's gambling adventures in Las Vegas

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 


Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

USA Today

Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Winning streak comes to a halt

The Blackhawks had picked up at least a point in eight of their past nine games and had the second-most points out of any team in November going into Tuesday's matchup. But they laid an egg against the Hurricanes, at least for the first 40 minutes.

The Hurricanes dominated the Blackhawks in every offensive category through two periods, including shot attempts (48-33), shots on goal (27-12), even-strength scoring chances (24-13) and even-strength high-danger chances (9-3), according to Natural Stat Trick. They also scored the first three goals of the game.

The Blackhawks made a big push in the third period by outshooting the Hurricanes 20-6 and scoring two goals in a span of 1:10, but they couldn't get that third one.

"Two bad periods, one good one," Lehner said. "We've been playing pretty good. Just gotta go win the next one. Don't lose two in a row. We're fine. We're fine. Everyone's just got to be a little bit better. I let in a bad goal and bad timing on the second one. Got a little bit unlucky. We've just got to try to get that push and we had a push. Unfortunately we couldn't tie it up."

2. A slow start

After scoring the first two goals in five of the past six games, the Blackhawks got off to a slow start and dug themselves too big of a hole to overcome. They registered only four shots on goal in the first period and allowed the Hurricanes to score three straight to open the game, with the second goal coming 53 seconds into the middle frame.

The first goal of the game came on a 2-on-0 in which Lehner had no chance of stopping. It could've been a much more lopsided first period on the scoresheet, with the Hurricanes generating 13 scoring chances to the Blackhawks' three.

"Obviously, disappointed in the first two periods, the result of the game of course, but we didn't have a good start and I thought we got worse in the second so that was disappointing," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I liked that we didn't quit, that was a positive, and I liked that we showed some fight in the third and we got going and put a scare into them.

"But it's frustrating because we showed that was a winnable game if we played, if we turned on a little bit earlier. We've had a good stretch and that was a setback and now we've got to respond on Thursday."

3. Too little, too late

Since the calendar flipped to November, no team had scored more goals than the Blackhawks (36) going into Tuesday. They had 21 goals in their previous four contests for an average of 5.25 goals per game.

It didn't look like the Blackhawks had much hope until the third period when they peppered the Hurricanes with 32 shot attempts, 19 scoring chances and 13 high-danger chances. Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy scored within a span of 1:10 to pull the Blackhawks within one, but it was too little, too late for the offense.

"We were just hungry," Murphy said of the third period. "We were embarrassed at home to give up the chances that we did and to get outplayed for a lot of it just as far as the races and seemed like a lot of those battles. We knew at home we wanted this year to be a prideful team and we have guys that want to push to make sure that we can come back. We know the power that we have, we can score three goals and we almost did."

4. Rough night for DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line

The Blackhawks' second line of Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome has been lights out since being reunited on Nov. 2 against Anaheim. But it had a tough night together vs. Carolina. 

When the three of them were on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks had three shot attempts for and 14 against, two shots on goal for and nine against, three scoring chances for and six against and one high-danger chance for and two against in 8:45 of ice time. 

They were separated in the third period with Kirby Dach taking Strome's place on the second line, and the line changes sparked the entire team. Kane recorded two primary assists in the third period to extend his season-long point streak to 10 games, marking his sixth career NHL point streak of at least 10 games. Only Denis Savard has more (13) in a Blackhawks sweater.

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