Mike Keane released by Manitoba Moose, retirement next?


mikekeanemoose.jpgHockey’s ability to give some players a career longer than some might ever imagine is pretty amazing. Sure, we all know that Chris Chelios would play until he’s 70 years-old if he could. Gordie Howe played until both of his sons were grown men and they played on a line together in Hartford. To hear about former Canadien, Avalanche, Ranger, Star, Blue, and Canuck Mike Keane and how he was still going in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose is truly incredible. That’s why today’s news that Keane was released by the Moose comes as such a surprise.

The Manitoba Moose are parting ways with 43-year-old captain Mike Keane. The AHL team, the top affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, says it won’t offer a new deal to Keane. Last season, his fifth as Moose skipper, Keane had nine goals and 22 assists in 75 games. Keane played 1,230 games in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup with Montreal, Colorado and Dallas. He made his pro debut with the Sherbrooke Canadiens in 1987.

That’s right, he debuted with the Canadiens’ AHL team 23 years ago. Over that time, he’s been a part of multiple Stanley Cup winners both in Montreal and Denver. But is there a chance he’ll get to play for someone else in the AHL? Ken Wiebe of SLAM! Sports says that this is the end of the road for Keane.

Mike Keane is hanging up the blades, but it’s not because he lost his passion for the sport he loves.

Although he declined an interview request on Monday night, the three-time Stanley Cup winner confirmed to The Sun that he was informed he won’t be asked back for a sixth season with the Manitoba Moose.

If this is indeed the end of the road for Keane, it’s been one hell of a ride for the classic third-line grinder. He was the blood and guts of every team he played for in the NHL, always playing the role of the “tough cop” unafraid to get in another guy’s face or drop the gloves if needed. While Keane seemed to leave the NHL quietly and just keep playing, it makes too much sense that if he is retiring he’s doing so on his terms and out of the spotlight.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.