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Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford being investigated over allegation of physical abuse

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 12/3/2019 Mike Brehm and Kevin Allen, USA TODAY
Marc Crawford et al. standing in front of a crowd: Marc Crawford is being investigated by the Blackhawks for an allegation made by Sean Avery when both were with the Kings. © Victor Decolongon, Getty Images Marc Crawford is being investigated by the Blackhawks for an allegation made by Sean Avery when both were with the Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks said Monday that assistant coach Marc Crawford will stay away from the team while it investigates an allegation made by a former player.

"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," the team said.

Sean Avery had told the New York Post that Crawford had kicked him during an NHL game in the 2006-07 season while Crawford was head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.

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“He kicked me after a too-many-men-on-the-ice call I took,” Avery said. “He didn’t have me serve it, we got scored on, and he let me have it.

“You know how I stand at the end of the bench? He came down and gave me a kick (in the behind) that left a mark.”

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The Post reported that Avery found the incident more “bemusing” than upsetting.

But it's part of a trend of NHL players making accusations against coaches that already has cost Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters his job.

After Mike Babcock was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Akim Aliu, a former NHL player born in Nigeria, tweeted that Peters, a one-time assistant to Babcock on the Detroit Red Wings, used a racial slur in his presence in the American Hockey League a decade ago.

Michal Jordan later tweeted that Peters had kicked him in the back during a game while Peters was coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters resigned from the Flames on Friday.

Babcock also came under further scrutiny Monday when Hall of Famer Chris Chelios told the Spittin Chiclets podcast that Babcock's tirade against Johan Franzen in a 2012 playoff game led the then-Red Wings player to have a nervous breakdown.

In an interview with Expressen, a Swedish publication, Franzen confirmed that incident and called Babcock "a terrible person, the worst I ever met. He’s a bully who was attacking people. It could be a cleaner at the arena in Detroit or anybody. He would lay into people without any reason.”

Former NHL player Patrick O'Sullivan also had tweeted a criticism of Crawford, saying on Nov. 27, "Abuse of power has no place in hockey or in anything else. As someone who went through awful things with my first NHL coach who knew my abuse background as a child, I hope they all get what’s coming to them and I hope it happens fast."

O'Sullivan joined the NHL with the Kings while Crawford was there.

The Blackhawks said they would have no comment until their investigation is complete.

Contributing: Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford being investigated over allegation of physical abuse

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