Marc Crawford (Faerjestad BK/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)
Marc Crawford’s four-year coaching stint in Switzerland is officially over, and now he’s looking to get back to the NHL. Crawford, 55, said he wants to give himself “every opportunity to try and get back into the NHL,” and is open to coming back as an assistant or even an AHL coach.
It has been nearly half a decade since Marc Crawford last coached an NHL game, but the veteran bench boss is eying up a return to the big league following a four-year stint with the Swiss NLA’s Zurich Lions.
It was announced Friday that the Lions and Crawford, 55, have decided to go their separate ways with Zurich not renewing the coach’s contract following a shocking upset in the first round of the Swiss league’s playoffs. There’s no telling if Crawford could have stayed had he wished to, but his intention was to try to return to the NHL regardless. According to TSN’s Gary Lawless, Crawford told the Lions in December that he wanted to pursue any potential NHL opportunities.
“I want to give myself every opportunity to try and get back into the NHL,” Crawford told TSN 1040 Friday. “I know that that’s where I want to be. It might mean that I have to do a lot of different things. Maybe I have to come back and coach in the (AHL), maybe I have to be an assistant coach. I do want to be a coach in the NHL again because it’s the best thing in the world.”
Crawford’s last turn as an NHL bench boss came in 2010-11 with the Dallas Stars. Crawford spent two seasons in Dallas and missed the post-season both years. Before his time with the Stars, Crawford spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, seven campaigns as coach of the Vancouver Canucks and four years with the Avalanche organization, where he was coach during their transition from Quebec to Colorado.
Crawford coached the Avalanche to a Stanley Cup in 1995-96, with his lone Cup victory coming the season after he won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach. However, in the 13 seasons Crawford coached in the NHL following the Cup win, his teams missed the post-season seven times and only advanced past the second round of the playoffs once.
That said, Crawford believes he’s coming back having developed as a coach and he said he’s confident about his abilities.
“The best thing about being [in Switzerland] is that I had to really coach again,” Crawford told TSN 1040. “To tell you the truth, as an NHL coach, you have to delegate a lot of responsibilities because there’s not enough time in a day…Over here, I got back to the roots of coaching, watching the video and knowing intently what my team was about.”
During his time with Zurich, Crawford led the Lions to one championship and first place league finishes in each of the past three seasons. And while he said he hasn’t yet heard from any NHL clubs, the off-season could lead to a few openings around the league. If that’s the case, Crawford’s name will almost certainly come up.