Fired by the Calgary Flames last Friday -- the announcement came via a late afternoon email, a classic if not classy ploy by an organization looking to bury the news -- Keenan's dismissal might have marked the conclusion of a NHL coaching career that includes one Stanley Cup and eight teams. Unless some owner decides Keenan is the ideal guy for his team (and with
With all due respect to Calgary captain
Keenan has butted heads with players throughout a career that started in the 1984 in Philadelphia -- Detroit's
After Chicago eliminated the Flames in the first round, Keenan, in a breakup news conference, seemed to state his case to be retained for the final year of his contract. He did not sound as defiant as he did cognizant that he was about to take the fall for a franchise that is stuck in a rut.
Although the Flames did not advance past the first round in two years under Keenan, they haven't fared any better since the appearance in the 2004 Stanley Cup final with Sutter behind the bench. The GM still hasn't located a No. 1 center to play with Iginla or a trustworthy backup goalie to take some pressure off
Unless someone under contract that Sutter covets shakes free, he sounds like a man who will kick himself downstairs to coach again. Maybe he can put
If there is a route back to the NHL for Keenan, it might have been pioneered by
Rather than brooding after his firing in Toronto, Quinn hooked up with Hockey Canada and started to coach kids, first the under 18s and then the world junior team that won the gold medal last January in Ottawa. To buttress Quinn, GM
The marriage should work on most levels given that Quinn is a big-picture coach who is confident in delegating -- Columbus coach
Theoretically, Keenan, who coached Team Canada back in the days of Canada Cups, could stroll down Quinn's path. He could also drift back into TV and remain visible to respective employers that way. He has worked as an in-studio commentator for two Canadian sports networks. His name will always have cachet. But now attached to his curriculum vitae, along with trips to the final with the Flyers and Blackhawks and that glorious Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994, are Regehr's pointed remarks.
They might prove to be the dirt that buries an amazing career.
A few weeks ago,
What about Nill? At least six teams have called the Red Wings in the past few years to ask permission to interview him -- including the Wild this spring. The answer from Detroit is always no. Nill signed a long-term contract that has two more years remaining, one that values his contributions to the NHL's best franchise. (Starting next season, Nill, in fact, will make a salary commensurate with many GMs.)
Nill understood the risks and rewards when he signed the deal, and Door No. 1 in Detroit rather than something shorter term has been a prudent decision. His association with the Red Wings has continued to burnish his reputation, and there always have been and always will be GM openings as long as teams struggle. Nill, now 51, will eventually get his shot -- assuming he wants it.
But it might not be in Detroit.
What about Vinny?
Plausibly, the Lightning can push Stamkos as the new face of the franchise. Lecavalier's no-trade clause kicks in July 1, but it is practically inconceivable that ownership and general manager
If the New York Islanders ignore
Insert own joke here.