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Marc Crawford Has Support from Minor League 'Bounty Hunter' Coach

Dec 6, 2007 – 3:05 PM
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Greg Wyshynski

Greg Wyshynski %BloggerTitle%

The news that coach Marc Crawford's locker room marching orders may have led to Todd Bertuzzi's infamous attack on Steve Moore is painful, damning, embarrassing ... really, pick any adjective with a negative connotation for what it means for hockey. Jim Kelley of SI.com calls it a "PR nightmare." Even FanHouse's MJD centered today's "Debriefing" on the story, and the only time hockey enters that level of his conversation is when he wants to pull down his jockeys and dump on it.

The story is so big that it inspired Steve Shannon to run to the phone and call in to "NHL Live" on XM Satellite Radio this afternoon about the controversy. Shannon is the former coach of the currently defunct Motor City Mechanics whom the United Hockey League suspended in 2005 for allegedly offering his players a $200 bounty to take out an opponent. (Shannon denies the bounty was ever offered, and claims two of his players have signed affidavits that back him up.) On the air with hosts Don La Greca and EJ Hradek, he defended Crawford, claiming that a coach simply saying Moore must "pay the price" wasn't enough to damn him in light of Bertuzzi's eventual actions. "There's plenty of activity that can take place that can get a guy's attention," he said. "There's no reason to go after a guy otherwise, outside the rules. To put blame on a coach, I just don't think that's necessary."

La Greca pressed him on the issue, asking if Crawford shouldn't receive some punishment for encouraging the hit. Shannon continued:
"It has to go back to what he actually said. To say that somebody should 'pay the price' and turn that around into 'something illegal should happen, outside the rules of the game?' I don't think the term 'pay the price' means 'hurt somebody outside the rules of the game.'"
It was an interesting, impromptu moment for a show that's been making its share of headlines lately. Later, Hradek ended the interview with some unsolicited advice for the unscheduled call-in guest: Next time, increase the bounty. "$200 isn't going to get it done, Steve," said Hradek. Tongue-in-cheek. I think.
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