“Bettman has only a marginal interest in the weaker teams. He only wants the NHL to make a bigger profit as a whole.” -- Dominik Hasek

June 15, 2007

ESPN Columnist George Johnson Loves Mike Keenan, Too

The hockey writers at ESPN.com aren't too keen on the hiring of Mike Keenan to coach the Calgary Flames. Yesterday, Scott Burnside dissed him. Today, aloof and mustachioed columnist George Johnson chimes in with words that are slightly south of supportive:

Yes, "Iron Mike" Keenan is back. Harder to get rid of than a zit a day before the prom. His authoritarian jackboots traded in for a pair of cow-pie clogged cowboy kickers, bringing his blunt, uncompromising, signature style to Calgary.

Zits and jackboots. Now those are some lovely images to invoke, George. But Johnson isn't done, not hardly:

Historically, his abrasive style has the shelf life of a wheel of unrefrigerated cave-aged Gruyere. He hasn't had success of any kind since commandeering the Rangers to that 1994 championship (a Cup that really belonged to Mark Messier , anyway). In subsequent pit stops in St. Louis, Boston, Vancouver and Miami, he got no closer to the Stanley Cup than during his days in charge at the University of Toronto.

Only one Keenan team in the past 13 years has advanced past the first round of the playoffs. Hmmm, see a pattern developing?

So, to recap, George Johnson thinks the whole Keenan thing in Calgary is likely to end very badly. So does Scott Burnside. So does Allan Maki at the Globe And Mail. The list could go on.

My only hope is that they're right, and Jerome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Dion Phaneuf and former Av Alex Tanguay are all driven out of town by Iron Mike. The fewer strong teams in the Northwest Division, the better.

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