Canucks send Crawford packin'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Marc Crawford has followed Pat Quinn on to the unemployment line but whether there is a chance he would follow Quinn behind the Maple Leafs bench is another question entirely.

As many were expecting, Crawford yesterday was fired by the Vancouver Canucks and will try to find a new job with a resume that does not contain much recent success.

Crawford, 45, coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup title in 1996 but never got close after he became the Canucks coach in 1999. In seven seasons under Crawford, the Canucks made the playoffs four times and won only one round.

Amid speculation Crawford lost his players, the Canucks spiralled out of playoff contention late this past season.

"(We felt) that we haven't played with the fire that we have been known to have had," Canucks general manager Dave Nonis said. "I felt that a change behind the bench was the first place to start."

Although there likely will be speculation that Crawford could wind up with the Leafs, the club is expected to name Paul Maurice coach once the Toronto Marlies season ends, which could be as early as Friday night.

A team source insisted yesterday that despite what some have accepted as fact, general manager John Ferguson Jr. did not tell Maurice upon hiring him to coach the Leafs' American Hockey League affiliate last June that Maurice one day would succeed Quinn.

There has been speculation Quinn, who owns a home in Vancouver, could wind up there as club president or coach. Quinn, who also has been linked to the Los Angeles Kings coaching vacancy, coached the Canucks in the early to mid-1990s.

Crawford holds the Canucks franchise record of 246 wins. After three winning seasons with the AHL's St. John's Maple Leafs, and with a probable promotion to Toronto apparently in the offing, Crawford left to take over the Quebec Nordiques in 1994-95. He won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year in 1995, becoming the youngest coach to do so at the age of 34.


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