It was a dirty job, but it had to be done.
Dave Nonis did not waste much time in identifying one culprit from the sorry, underachieving team that was the 2005- 06 Vancouver Canucks.
It is never fair to single out one person when a collection of individuals canít develop a consistent level of synergy, but it is the nature of the beast in professional sports.
Thanks for everything Marc Crawford, drive carefully and good night.
First to the actual decision. I liked it. Not necessarily the actual move, but how quickly Nonis acted.
Scott Rintoul, my cohost on Team 1040, debated the idea Tuesday morning, just hours before the hammer fell.
It was Rintoulís misguided opinion that Nonis did not need to act quickly, that he should take the time necessary to assess what should be done.
Rintoulís more cerebral half argued otherwise, suggesting that it was time for Nonis to show some leadership, some decisiveness and make a commitment one way or the other.
How much more time did he need for an assessment? Fire Crawford or announce he would be back. Just make the call. Mission accomplished, and that reflects well on Nonis.
The question now pertains to the players themselves. Is Nonis done? The answer is no. The salary cap will limit him to a degree, but he canít rely on a new coach to change the culture in the dressing room.
If chemistry is as important as most hockey insiders seem to believe, then an overhaul is necessary.
This group played dead at times for Marc Crawford, which speaks volumes about their professionalism and their group dynamic. That canít go on. If Nonis embraces this same batch again next year, then he is embracing that lack of professionalism.
The winds of change are swirling and Crawfordís dismissal is just the start.
Which brings us to Mr. Bertuzzi, and what the hell should be done with him. My opinion hasnít changed. The man needs a new address. If Crawford could have that much of a negative influence on Bertuzziís ability to show up for work consistently, who out there is going to change that?
Nobody making $5 million a year should need to be coddled to play well. Donít like your coach? Play your ass off for your teammates and fans. You owe it to them in the very least and to the organization. I want to wretch every time I hear about somebody getting $60,000 per game who isnít motivated because he is at odds with the coach. Bertuzzi is well past his best-before date in this market.
When it comes to the replacement for Crawford, Nonis needs to consider the players who will make up his roster next year. It doesnít always boil down to hiring the best coach available, but rather the one who is the best fit for a particular time. If Crawford wasnít a playersí coach, does he go for one who is? Should the players have to like the new man, or merely respect him? What do any prospective coaches think about the existing talent pool?
So many questions, so few answers and so little time. September isnít that far away.
But take comfort in Nonis acting quickly on one major issue. And take even more knowing he isnít done.
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