Marc Crawford is back in the NHL as head coach of the Dallas Stars, likely with an assist from Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager Brian Burke.
Crawford was announced today as Dave Tippett's replacement in Dallas by the Stars' new GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Tippett was fired yesterday after six years as coach. He failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs this season for the first time in his Dallas tenure.
Nieuwendyk, who was hired earlier this month, had previously been an assistant to Burke in Toronto. While with the Maple Leafs, Nieuwendyk heard Burke speak of Crawford's abilities and, according to a source, may have talked to Burke again before meeting with Crawford.
The Stars had to receive permission from the Los Angeles Kings to negotiate with the 48-year-old Crawford, since he was still under contract to them despite being fired last June.
"I am very excited that we have been able to secure Marc Crawford as head coach of the Dallas Stars," Nieuwendyk said in a news release. "Marc is a winner with extensive experience in this league, and I am confident he will get the most out of our hockey club. I look forward to working with him as we prepare for the 2009-10 season and beyond. Dave Tippett did a very good job in his six seasons here with the Stars, however it was my feeling that our team needed a new direction moving forward."
Nieuwendyk played briefly for Crawford when the two were members of the Canadian Olympic hockey team at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. Crawford has 470 career wins in the NHL and won the 1996 Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. He also holds the Vancouver Canucks' record for most coaching wins (246). He worked in Vancouver under Burke.
"I'm very excited and honored to have been selected as head coach of the Dallas Stars," said Crawford. "This is a winning organization and I look forward to building upon the success that it has earned over the years. This club has a great deal of potential, and I'm eager to get to work in restoring the franchise to among the league's elite."
Mark Lamb was relieved of his duties after six seasons as an assistant coach with the club. The remainder of the coaching staff will continue to be evaluated, said a statement from the club.