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Boucher-Crawford team has deep roots

Senators coaches have discussed working together for some time

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA - The plan for Marc Crawford to join Guy Boucher's coaching staff was hatched more than two years ago and an ocean away.

It all came together when Boucher, named coach of the Senators on Sunday, named Crawford his associate coach Monday.

Boucher and Crawford spent the past couple of years coaching in Switzerland's National League A; Boucher with SC Bern and Crawford with Zurich, where Crawford planted the seed for a return to the NHL with Boucher.

"I had floated the idea with Guy two and a half years ago when he first came to search out jobs in Switzerland," Crawford said. "I remember him going home and saying, 'Listen, if you get a job, think about me.' This year we talked about it a number of times."

Video: Guys discuss Boucher hiring for Senators

When Senators general manager Pierre Dorion fired coach Dave Cameron at the end of the regular season, Boucher and Crawford became candidates in Ottawa.

"Guy's last day in Switzerland and my last day in Switzerland was the day Pierre called us both and told us we were having interviews," Crawford said. '[Boucher] called me, I called him and said, 'Good luck, if I don't get it, I hope you do.'

"Even that time we talked about me assisting him if I didn't get the job. I'm happy it's come to fruition."

Crawford said he offered Boucher a position on his coaching staff if Crawford got the job, but Boucher told Crawford he was focused on becoming a head coach again.

Crawford, 55, coached 1,151 games over 15 seasons with the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche (where he won the Stanley Cup in 1996), Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars. He has a 549-421-100-77 record.

Video: Senators GM Pierre Dorion on hiring of Guy Boucher

Crawford said he is at a point in his career where he's happy to play a support role to Boucher, 44.

"I'm at a different maturity level and in a different place in my life," Crawford said. "[The Senators] are anxious to take the next step. They're ready to take the next step. I hope I can assist in any way I possible can to help Guy be the best coach he can be to help the team get to the next level and help the Senators eventually become a Stanley Cup champion."

Crawford said he has become a better coach after his experience in Switzerland, where he had one assistant and got back to the basics of coaching again.

"I don't think you reinvent yourself. You just mature," he said. "I got so much into coaching again. It's really helped me tactically and I think in my communication skills with players, because you're interacting so much more with the individual players. You get into the roots of coaching and the development side of it.

"You have to communicate, communicate and communicate again. The NHL has changed. It was 'Do as I say,' and that was it. If you didn't talk to the coach, it was probably a good thing. It's not that way anymore. Everybody wants information, needs structure, needs guidance and needs affirmation."

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