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Q&A with Brad McCrimmon

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – A new addition to the Red Wings’ coaching staff is a familiar face, who spent three seasons of his 18-year NHL playing career in Hockeytown.

Brad McCrimmon replaces former assistant coach Todd McLellan on Mike Babcock’s staff. McLellan left Detroit to become the new head coach of the San Jose Sharks in June.

A defenseman, McCrimmon, now 49, played for the Red Wings from 1990-93, where he scored eight goals with 49 assists in 203 games. He was acquired by the Wings in a trade with the Calgary Flames.

Last season, McCrimmon finished his fourth season behind the bench as an assistant to Atlanta coach Bob Hartley. Prior to his stint with the Thrashers, McCrimmon was an assistant in Calgary and with the New York Islanders.

On Monday, McCrimmon took time to speak to reporters at Joe Louis Arena. He spoke about coaching the Red Wings’ big off-season acquisition -- Marian Hossa in Atlanta, as well as his memories of playing in Detroit in the early 90s.

What impresses you the most about Hossa?

“His work ethic is unbelievable. He’s an every day player. He’s no maintenance and he’s a great teammate. He’s a great asset in all areas."

As a former player, where you shocked at the amount of money that he left on the table?

“If you know Marian, then you know his personality and his background and where he comes from, I wasn’t totally surprised at all to tell you the truth. He’s a man of principal, and he had in his head what he wanted to do and he stuck with it. I’ll never second-guess a guy for doing that.”

What can that whole package bring to this dressing room?

“I know what he brings and what he brings is excellence.”

For a guy who said that he came here to win the Cup, is that something that can rally other players?

“I think the culture here speaks for itself. That culture has been here for a long time now. He wants to be a part of that and he wants to strife for the ultimate goal.”

Getting an opportunity to work with this Red Wings’ defense, can you please comment on the talent that you have to work with?

“Well, there’s great depth with obviously starts with Nick (Lidstrom). Six Norris trophies, I think that speaks fairly well to what he has brought to the game. I’ve known Nick for a long time and played with him for a few years way back when the earth was flat. He’s been a great player since he got here.”

How excited are you to be back in Detroit where you once played?

“I spent three years here as a player and I loved it. They were kind of the turn-around years, and the history of the Red Wings over the last couple of years as been the envy of the league, really. They’ve been very successful, won Cups and continue to strive to do that. They’ve been able to develop young players and have supported their team with the signings of some free agents. Mr. Ilitch is obviously always interested in having a winning team and Kenny Holland and their whole staff have been focused on maintaining that.”

Do you have a fond memory of playing here?

“I can say that the three years that we were here, the first year, I think we were .500 right on the button. And the next two years we had over 100-points when 100-points was different than 100-points today. So I was here for the turn-around years that is something to always look back on and makes me feel good about coming back here for sure.”

Did you play with Nicklas Lidstrom here?

“I roomed with him the first whole year."

Do you have the passion to be a head coach down the road?

“That would be a goal, but right now I’m worried about being an assistant coach with Babs and Paul.”

When a team has won a championship and they seem to be better positioned to defend that title, how does the coaching staff keep the team's interest?

“Well, from a coaching perspective you watch for, but you look through this locker room and there are a number of guys who have defended Cups a number of times, so they understand the pitfalls of those things. And then added a player like Marian, who can be pretty driven this year to win. You put all those things together with the culture here, I think things will be focused as they always are.”

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