Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The curious case of Terry Crisp

On Monday, Jacques Lemaire announced his retirement as an NHL coach, thus laying cement on his legacy as one of only 14 men in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup as a player and then as a head coach.

The list is awe-inspiring, containing some of the sport's most legendary and mythical names -- Jack Adams, Toe Blake, Hap Day, Lester Patrick, Al Arbour and Larry Robinson. In fact, of those 14, no less than 13 have a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Which leads us to the strange scenario involving Terry Crisp (above) -- the only man in NHL annals to win a Stanley Cup as a player -- twice with the "Broad Street Bully" Philadelphia Flyers in the 1970s -- and as a coach, with the 1988-89 Calgary Flames -- who is not a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Crisp played 11 seasons in the NHL with four teams, and never scored more than 13 goals in any campaign. He was an effective defensive forward, who was once second in the league in short-handed goals, and faded a bit into the background on a team known for the offensive firepower of Bobby Clarke, Rick MacLeish, Reggie Leach and Bill Barber, the pugilistic prowess of Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly and Andre "Moose" Dupont, and the stellar goaltending of Bernie Parent.

Crisp retired in 1977, coached in Canadian Juniors and the minor leagues, and was named head coach of the Calgary Flames in 1987. He led Calgary to three first-place finishes, including the Flames' hoisting of the Cup in 1989, a team bolstered by 51-goal-scorers Joe Mullen and Joe Nieuwendyk. Despite the team's success, Crisp bickered with some of his key players, and he was dismissed as coach in 1990. He was the first coach of the expansion Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992, and coached the team for six seasons, never finishing higher than fifth place. Crisp is now a color analyst for Nashville Predators games.

Crisp is the co-holder of another NHL playoff record that's a statistical oddity; until last year, he was the only player in league history to play in the most Game 7s without a loss -- six. Alex Kovalev of the Canadiens tied that mark last season.

Here's the complete list of those who won Stanley Cups as players and coaches:
Name / Cups as Player / Cups as Coach
Jack Adams* / 2 (Tor. Arenas, Ottawa / 3 (Detroit)
Al Arbour* / 3 (Chicago, Toronto) / 4 (NY Islanders)
Toe Blake* / 3 (Mtl. Maroons, Montreal) / 8 (Montreal)
Frank Boucher* / 2 (NY Rangers) / 1 (NY Rangers)
Terry Crisp / 2 (Philadelphia) / 1 (Calgary)
Hap Day* / 1 (Toronto) / 5 (Toronto)
Cy Denneny* / 4 (Ottawa, Boston) / 1 (Boston)
Eddie Gerrard* / 2 (Ottawa) / 1 (Mtl. Maroons)
Tom Johnson* / 6 (Montreal) / 1 (Boston)
Jacques Lemaire* / 8 (Montreal) / 1 (New Jersey)
Lester Patrick* / 1 (NY Rangers) / 2 (NY Rangers)
Joe Primeau* / 1 (Toronto) / 1 (Toronto)
Larry Robinson* / 6 (Montreal) / 1 (New Jersey)
Cooney Weiland* / 2 (Boston) / 1 (Boston)

* Hall of Fame

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