In a series of stories and allegations that get louder and louder, the details of what’s been happening in the NHL where coaches and authorities in power have been abusing it get worse and worse.
The latest are reports of abuse surrounding assitant coach Marc Crawford. Allegations by more than one player that Crawford not only verbally abused players but physically kicked and choked them have come to light and the Chicago Blackhawks are taking immediate action in an attempt to get to the bottom of the allegations.
The Blackhawks released two statements on Monday:
In the first statement the note that the organization will be conducting a thorough review of Crawford based on accounts of poor conduct as a coach with another organization. In the second statement, they note he will be away from the team during the review.
Crawford himself has made a statement based on the statement by the Blackhawks and rumors of his behavior:
“Marc would love to address these very old allegations, however out of respect for the Blackhawks process, we are going to refrain from comment at this time.”
This is not good news for Crawford as the actions of the Calgary Flames toward Bill Peters and the public flogging of former Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock does not set a precedent for Crawford that suggests this will turn out well for him.
Speaking of Babcock Allegations
The stories about Babcock’s behavior just get worse and worse. While on the “Spittin’ Chiclets” podcast former NHL player and guest Chris Chelios was recently asked if he’d ever seen the type of behavior from Babcock that people are making public, and he replied, “Oh, easy it was Johan Franzen.”
In discussing how he watched Babcock relentlessly abuse Franzen to the point where the former Red Wings forward had a nervous breakdown, the accusations are really bothersome when you consider what Franzen is going through post his NHL career. His stories of PTSD and concussion and depression issues are well documented and it appears Chelios is insinuating Babcock played a major role in where Franzen is at today.
After the story came out, Franzen spoke of his time under Babcock as coach and called Babcock the worst human being he’d ever met, citing stories of affairs, abuse and more. “I get the shivers when I think about it,” Franzen said. “That incident occurred against Nashville in the playoffs. It was coarse, nasty, and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.”
Franzen isn’t the only one coming forward either. Reporter Andy Strickland said he too was verbally attacked by the former Maple Leafs coach when he was pushed up against a wall and verbally attacked after a game in 2007.
The Trickle Down Effect Will Happen
With these reports, there will undoubtedly be a ton of trickle down towards other individuals. Ron Francis, who was the GM in Carolina at the time of Peters coaching controversy has already made a statement. He felt the need to address the issue and said he took “immediate action.”
There are also whispers that current GM of the Edmonton Oilers Ken Holland might come under fire for protecting Babcock while he had him as coach in Detroit. Stories of sweeping the concerns under the rug are starting to come out and it will be interesting to see if Holland chooses to make a statement or sees any backlash in respect to Babcock’s behavoir at that time. There is absolutely no proof yet that Holland did anything wrong, but by association alone, this stands to be a matter he might need to address.
Who Will Be Next?
As more and more players and reporters come forward, there is a sense this is not going away anytime soon. We can only hope these incidences are isolated, but it sure appears that this is not the case.
Who will come under fire next and where is the line between coaching, motivating and abuse? Sean Avery was a player who accused Crawford of poor behavior but also has a reputation for being unethical himself. Saying he understood why Crawford kicked him in the butt and that he deserved it, is there a grey area here? And, at what point do people start taking sides? — assuming that hasn’t already happened.