This is what I was waiting for, folks. The LA Kings announced, officially, that Marc Crawford is the new head coach of their franchise. Of course, we all remember Crawford getting canned by the Canucks earlier in the off-season, and like predicted, it didn't take long for him to land back on his feet once again.
The one thing that will be interesting is who will be on the team for Crow to coach?? The first line of Pavol Demitra, Alexander Frolov, and Craig Conroy will be back in the fold, as will defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky, Brent Sopel, and Captain Mattias Norstrom. Jason Labarbera is the only goaltender under contract and it remains to be seen if GM Dean Lombardi will re-sign Mathieu Garon dispite his streaky season or if he'll give the reigns to Labarbera and bring up someone like Adam Hauser, Barry Brust, or even Yutaka Fukufuji from down on the farm.
I don't know what the expectations will be for Crawford, but he's a guy who can get results. He not only has a Stanley Cup ring on his finger, but he's also the youngest coach of the year and has 411 wins under his belt. If he can convince the Kings they have to play all 82 games of the season, then he should be in business to get the purple, silver, and black back into the playoff.
Luckily for Lombardi, Crawford, and the Kings, they only have $20.3M tied up in 12 players for the '06-'07 season, which could make them a big player in the free agent markets. Don't forget, also, they have some pretty good talent in the Manchester that they could bring up as well to fit into the system.
Of course, now the question is who will pick up Crawford's predecessor, Andy Murray. Murray has been moonlighting as an analyst for TSN and did color commentary for CBC when the Flames took on the Ducks in the first round. There are ample places for Murray to land, and we'll be sure to bring you some analysis when that happens.