Marc Crawford was not behind the bench as an assistant for the Chicago Blackhawks against the St. Louis Blues on Monday because the Blackhawks are investigating "his conduct with another organization."
Sean Avery claims Crawford kicked him while he was playing for the Los Angeles Kings, during a 7-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Dec. 23, 2006, after the forward was responsible for a too many men on the ice penalty against the Kings.
"He didn't have me serve it, we got scored on, and he let me have it," Avery told the New York Post in comments published Nov. 30. "You know how I stand at the end of the bench? He came down and gave me [a butt] kick that left a mark."
Crawford was Los Angeles coach for two seasons, from 2006-08. He is in his first season as an assistant with Chicago.
The Blackhawks issued the following statement Monday:
"The Chicago Blackhawks will be conducting a thorough review of assistant coach Marc Crawford based on the recent allegations that have been made regarding his conduct with another organization. Marc Crawford will be away from the team during this time and the organization will have no further comment until completion of the review."
Avery, who played for four teams in 10 NHL seasons, said the kicking incident occurred shortly after he shot a puck during practice that hit Crawford in the head, leaving a cut that required stitches. He was traded by the Kings to the New York Rangers on Feb. 5, 2007.
Former NHL forward Patrick O'Sullivan posted to Twitter on Nov. 27 that he "went through awful things with my first NHL coach." Though he did not name Crawford in the tweet, he was a rookie with the Kings in 2006-07.
Following a 4-0 loss to the Blues on Monday, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said he's had no issues with Crawford in Chicago.
"It's an organizational decision and I know they put out a statement. I understand the reason for the review," Colliton said. "I can only speak for my time with Marc, he's been excellent and really enjoyed that. He's added a lot to our group and our staff and our players. So I'll leave it at that."