Thursday, 14 June 2007

Iron Mike Into The Fire

Sometimes, I write these blog articles and find myelf asking "why" a lot. This is one of those blog articles now. It has been reported that Darryl Sutter, GM of the Calgary Flames, is preparing to give Mike Keenan the reigns in Cow-town. Yes, the same Mike Keenan who ran the St. Louis Blues into the ground in the mid-1990s. Yes, the same Mike Keenan that Canucks fans have not forgiven. The same Mike Keenan that has been to the playoffs twice since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the New York Rangers, and only won one round.

It's not like Jim Playfair didn't do a good job in Calgary. He led the team to the playoffs this past season against a superior Detroit Red Wings team. They even took two games against those Wings. However, the same affliction caught up to Calgary in the playoffs as it did in the regular season: a distinct lack of scoring punch. Will Mike Keenan change this? Hardly.

"Iron Mike", since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, has coached 453 games in four different cities. He has only coached two full seasons in that time. His record is a mediocre 174-195-64-20 for a .384 winning percentage. Jim Playfair's winning percentage last season was .585. The only season that Keenan had a higher winning percentage than Jim Playfair since 1994 was during the strike-shortened season of 1994-95. Keenan hasn't has a team in the playoffs since the 1995-96 season when his St. Louis Blues lost in the second round.

I believe Darryl Sutter is a smart and savvy GM. He has managed to keep Jarome Iginla in Calgary when it was thought he would leave. He brought in star goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff, acquired Alex Tanguay, and brought back Craig Conroy. However, bringing in a taskmaster like Keenan is the wrong thing to do.

Sutter, like Keenan, is a no-nonsense, hard-nosed coach who demands excellence from his players whenever they take to the ice. Sutter, however, has the respect of his players whereas Mike Keenan has burned far too many bridges with his abrasive coaching style. When players stop listening, your coaching methods fall on deaf ears. This leads to more losses than wins, and Mike's record over the past 14 years is a reflection of how often he's been tuned out.

If Mike Keenan is hired by the Calgary Flames, and there's nothing to say that he won't be, the Flames will limp into the playoffs if they're lucky. When you've only won 38% of the games you've coached in the last 14 years and haven't appeared in the playoffs in 12 years, your track record speaks for itself. Good luck, Calgary. You're going to need it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Jibblescribbits said...

The only defense, albeit a slightly empty one, is that he destroyed all those franchises as a Gm and coach. As just a coach he hasn't really been that bad, well except in Florida after he destroyed the team, as the GM.

Just being coach could be good for him... but i doubt it. I don't think Playfair was a good coach at all, Detroit's beat writer said he was one of the worst he's ever seen.

The Dark Ranger said...

You are right. The Dark Ranger hates Mike Keenan. Much of NYC hates Mike Keenan. I met the guy once, and he was an schmuck so in love with himself. Too bad. Good luck West Play!

Though, with Bologna Maloney out as 2nd GM in NY, Messier is bound to make a third appearance at MSG this coming season as an assistant GM.

Great site Hockey Blog in Canada. Love it.


Teebz said...

Jibble - that is true. However, Mike has always been drunk with power. If he doesn't have it, he wants it. If he has it, he abuses it. I'm not saying Playfair is a better coach, but I think Playfair's syle is better suited for the Flames.

Dark Ranger - I don't think there are many cities left that like Iron Mike. Glad to have you aboard, and I've added you to the list of blogs. Good stuff on your blog too! :o)