It dawned on me as Bob Hartley signed a much-deserved contract extension with the Calgary Flames on Wednesday that his success in returning to the NHL after spending time coaching in the Swiss League could certainly be duplicated by another veteran coach.
Marc Crawford has had a successful time with the Zurich Lions and has enjoyed every bit of it, but there’s no question he’s eager to return to the NHL. He’s got a window after each season in his contract with Zurich that allows him to exit for an NHL job.
The success of Hartley in Calgary and Paul Maurice with the Winnipeg Jets, after the latter coached in the KHL, suggests that these so-called "retreads" return from these experiences with fresh ideas and a new approach.
Both Maurice and Hartley have said how their time overseas refreshed them and made them better coaches ahead of their next NHL opportunity.
I think the same is absolutely true for Crawford, a Stanley Cup-winning coach in Colorado in 1996.
But I have that feeling that just like with Maurice and Hartley, there’s something still there with Crawford.