Thursday, June 14, 2007

Checking references

By now, the worst kept secret in the NHL seems to be that Calgary is thinking pretty hard about hiring Mike Keenan as their head coach. While he's one of the first coaches in the NHL I remember having a hate for, these days, I only have a mild dislike for the guy (my full take on this is on our blog), and obviously, I've never actually had to cope with his coaching before. And it can't be worse than "Nervous" Jimmy Playfair in charge of the boys for yet another year...

So who has a horrific Keenan story? Why should I be afraid? Or...should I be very very happy?


Shmee said...

I dont know enough on Keenan to give you a comment but here is what I have read (and LOL on nervous Jim)

He parted company with the Flyers in 1988 after four years as head coach despite twice guiding them to conference titles.

After coaching the Blackhawks to the Cup final, he resigned in the spring of 1992 after four years coaching and managing because the total control he craved wasn't forthcoming.

He won a title with the Rangers, but couldn't get along with GM Neil Smith well enough to stay for a second season.

One of the quirkier trivia tidbits from his nearly three years in St. Louis before he was fired was his refusal to allow the players to don newly designed alternate sweaters because he didn't like the way they looked.

He didn't mesh with GM Brian Burke in Vancouver and was fired, and there was a quick exit from Boston, too.

In his early days with the Panthers, he and then-GM Rick Dudley engaged in power struggles. Then he abruptly left the team just before the 2006-07 season got underway. Keenan never publicly addressed for his departure.

Shmee said...

You can read the full article here

Rinslet said...


LOL In all honesty, even though he had a great beginning to his career, the last half hasn't been so impressive. I don't know the last time he has led a team to the playoffs?

That and there's the matter of he being the one who put Huselius on waivers, etc... and the possibility that Flames will now be a turn-off for UFAs/RFAs just cause not a lot of players like him? I don't know. :|

leanne said...

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I worry about the free agent situation. That said, the Flames have a reputation for being a great organization in a city which is currently rolling in money and fans.

All in all I think it's an improvement (if you read all my peeps' blogs in the Flames blogosphere, you'll see very little respect for Playfair)... having had a restless sleep over it, I'm not sure just how big an improvement it'll be.

But I guess games against the 'Nucks AND Ducks will be awesomeness. Bring it!

kikeri said...

Regardless of whether or not Keenan can lead a team to the playoffs, and his previous success suggests he may still be able to do so, I would be wary about the mental health of the players.

While he was in Vancouver Iron Mike was reviled by many a Canuck fan. There's the irrational hatred for Keenan stemming from the fact that he coached the 1994 NYR to the Cup against the 'Nucks. And there's his early insistence on signing Messier to the team. This would have been understandable if he and Mess had led Vancouver to a championship, but no dice (The Messier deal is one of the biggest busts in Vancouver history).

What happened was Keenan drove a wedge through locker room, disrupting team morale. Nowhere was this more evident than in his treatment of Trevor Linden. It was "strongly suggested" that Linden give up the captaincy upon the arrival of Messier. Yeah I know Mess is one of the game's great leaders yada yada yada, but he wasn't OUR leader. And true, Linden wasn't producing at the levels he had earlier in his career. But Linden was Vancouver's heart and soul, the guy who snapped his sticks when he scored a hat trick, but the team still lost; the guy who scored both goals in game 7 of the SCF against a much better NYR team. He'll proably be remembered as one of the greatest Canucks, period. Under Keenan, Linden was constantly berated and humiliated in front of team mates, and eventually traded.

It's one thing to be tough a la Sutter style hockey, but Keenan's notoriety is well deserved. However, I do like this edition of the Flames. So if Keenan can get this team to perform like it should, I guess I'll have to re-evaluate my own personal bias against the man.

Isleschick said...

Here's a funny comment from our own Stan Fischler:

ROBERTO LUONGO had the best line of the week. Asked what he thought of his ex-boss, Mike Keenan, becoming Calgary Flames coach, the ace goalie replied on the shortest of short hops, "AS LONG AS HE'S NOT COACHING THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS, IT'S NO PROBLEM FOR ME!"