VANCOUVER – Here on the west coast, where the seasons typically blend in shades of gray, the different "summer crows" and "winter crows" were born.
The change in mood that Marc Crawford experienced from summer to the hockey season – from an amiable and self-deprecating guy to the volcanic trainer who exuded tension and always tended to burst – was unmistakable. Even Crawford got to know "Summer Crow" and "Winter Crow". The labels were funny for a while, but never for his players.
Given the NHL and Chicago Blackhawks' chances of saving his career, Crawford's future as a coach depends on the 58-year-old being just a single, respectful and respectable version of himself. No more summer and winter. Just "crow".
When Crawford returned to the ice at Rogers Arena on Thursday morning, the proactive Blackhawks broke him out almost a NHL generation earlier at the end of a month-long suspension for abusive and sometimes violent behavior when Chicago players spontaneously broke into a rhythm of cocks before their game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Crawford says he said goodbye to the unpredictable coach who kicked Sean Avery and Brent Sopel when he headed the Los Angeles Kings over a decade ago. Not many people outside of Crawford's family can attest to this. But it's clear that the Blackhawks love him.
They probably have no reason not to do this.
"It was just what happened," said 22-year-old striker Alex DeBrincat of the morning skate blows. "We didn't talk about it. One started it, so everyone did it. It felt good. I don't know all the old stories, but obviously some weren't too good. But here he was nothing but great. He was one positive voice behind the bench during games and training. I know that he helped me personally and many others a lot. "
In response to abuse stories by ex-players Avery, Sopel, Patrick O’Sullivan and Harold Druken, the Blackhawks suspended Crawford on December 2 and hired a law firm to investigate.
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When the team announced two weeks later that Crawford would be reinstated on January 2, he made a statement that he was "deeply sorry" for hurting players and revealed that he was years away had previously undergone counseling to understand and change his behavior.
When Crawford spoke to reporters on Thursday for the first time since allegations surfaced, he praised the courage of the players who made the abuse suffered public, but declined to say whether or not he had spoken to them Talks he had had with other players last month.
"It's really about me and some of the things I've done wrong with some of the teams and some of the players I've had during my career," he said. "I am very sorry. I wish these things had not happened, but they did. I hope again that I can try to keep improving."
Later he said: "I have reached many, many players and heard from many players, but I will leave it at that." This is an ongoing process. As I said in my statement, I am concerned with ensuring that I am doing the right thing, that I am listening, and that I understand. I really hope this is the reason I understand. , , how one of these players feels. Hopefully when that happens I can get better, they will get better and hopefully the game will get better in the long run. "
Crawford said he started counseling after the kings fired him in 2008 after only two seasons because "I just felt like I was apologizing too much (for things he did). I didn't like that feeling. I still don't like it. It is very uncomfortable for me to feel that way. You have to think a lot to find out why I am the way I am. "
Without Crawford creating psychiatric bills, it's easy to see his advice cynically.
Finally he was hired by the Dallas Stars in 2009 and also thrown off the pitch two years later after a 95-point season. Obviously, there must have been factors in their Crawford assessment that went beyond the team's performance.
However, anyone who believes Crawford's only "punishment" for his behavior was a month-long paid vacation in Chicago over Christmas should take a look at his professional career.
After the stars fired Crawford, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 1996 before reviving the Vancouver Canucks for six and a half seasons, the coach was 50 in 2011, still in its prime, but suspended for the next five Seasons from the NHL.
He went to Switzerland to train before getting an apparent last chance in the NHL in 2016 as an assistant to the Ottawa Senators. Crawford was a model coach in any case during his three seasons there. The Blackhawks thought so.
"I'm not sure I'm the role model," said Crawford when asked if he wanted to change with the NHL culture. “I want this situation to become something good. My mother always said, "Things happen for a reason." I never really understood why she felt that way, but I've always been that way. Perhaps the reason is that something good can come of it.
"Hopefully you can look up and say that there is a right way to do things even if you screw it up." Hopefully I'm doing the right thing. Again, it's not just about me. It's about me and all these other guys who made their statements. As long as you are sensitive to people's feelings and you are sensitive to the process, I think it will be a good thing. And my mother will be right. "