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Chicago Blackhawks to investigate assistant coach Marc Crawford after allegation of physical abuse

Sporting News — customerservice@sportingnews.com (Sporting News)

The recent onslaught of NHL coaches under the limelight for physical or verbal abuse of players continues to accumulate. Most recently, Marc Crawford has been put on the spot, with former NHLer Sean Avery alleging that Crawford kicked him while the two were in Los Angeles with the Kings.

"He kicked me after a too-many-men-on-the-ice call I took,” Avery told the New York Post. “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 an ass kick that left a mark.”

MORE: Hockey Canada releases statement in wake of Bill Peters scandal

Crawford, now an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, allegedly conducted the physical abuse toward Avery during the 2006-07 season. Chicago announced in a press release Monday that they will be conducting an investigation on the matter.

"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. Marc Crawford will be away from the team during this time and the organization will have no further comment until completion of the review," the statement read.

Patrick O'Sullivan, who was also on the 2006-07 Kings team, echoed the allegations on Twitter following the Blackhawks announcement by saying, "I talked about his physical abuse in my book 4 years ago kicking me and others on the bench. Verbal abuse included homophobic slurs on a regular basis. I look forward to participating in your investigation."

Another former player, Brent Sopel, stated his appearance on "Spittin' Chiclets" about a year ago has been misinterpreted as a statement against Crawford. "The stories I shared on 'Spittin' Chiclets' have recently been cited alongside accusations made by other players against Coach Marc Crawford," Sopel said.

"I recognize and respect that different coaching tactics affect people in different ways," he continued. Sopel played three seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2007-10.

Coming off the heels of Bill Peters' resignation due to reports of using a racial slur and allegations of physical abuse from the former Calgary Flames head coach, Crawford's name has been added to the list of NHL coaches who have some ghosts in the closet.

RELATED: Johan Franzen calls Mike Babcock "the worst person I've ever met"

Mike Babcock, who was fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 20, has received his own share of negative media attention, with allegations coming out that he made Mitch Marner rank his teammates, was "verbally assaulting" Johan Franzen and more.