So who’s next to go in this National Hockey League public relations nightmare?
Don’t bet against Marc Crawford.
Crawford is currently a Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach.
And that’s all we know for now.
Crawford is a person with whom Canadian hockey fans are well acquainted.
He’s been a full-time head coach of four franchises, winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996, and lest we forget–and thousands of Canadians will never forget--Crawford was the guy who kept Wayne Gretzky on the bench during a semifinals shootout at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Right now, he’s more grist for the hockey mill, following departed TV broadcasting icon Don Cherry, former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, and former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters, all of them forced out into unwanted hockey spotlight.
The Blackhawks are supplying no details about what they are looking into, but former NHL forward Sean Avery recently told the New York Post that Crawford kicked him after he was whistled for a too-many-men-on-the ice penalty when Avery and Crawford were with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2006-07 season.
Another of Crawford’s former players, Brent Sopel, said last year that Crawford “kicked me, he choked me, he grabbed the back of my jersey and just pulling it back.”
Where all this is headed is anyone’s guess, but questions abound.
Is this the way it’s always been and where does hockey, a rough-and-tumble sport marked by periods of flowing grace, go from here?
For some perspective, I spoke with Stu Cowan, a sports columnist at the Montreal Gazette.Listen
With files from CBC, CP, AP, CTV, Global Sportsnet, TSN