Mike Keenan

Keenan rips Flames, alludes to Phaneuf-Regehr locker room fighting

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In a bold, tell-all interview with Sportsnet 960, former Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan ripped the organization that once employed him.

Keenan spent two seasons as the Flames head coach (2007-08/2008-09) and was at the helm of the last Calgary team to make the postseason. Since his termination, the Flames have done plenty to re-invent themselves (or erase the Keenan era, depending how you look at it.) They traded away the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr, Matthew Lombardi and Daymond Langkow while allowing free agents like Adrian Aucoin, Eric Nystrom, and Todd Bertuzzi to walk altogether.

That was a mistake, according to Keenan.

From Sportsnet:

Ironically, the team has not made the playoffs since Keenan’s last season and he believes it can be traced back to how the franchise is being run and the way they move players out of town rather quickly.

“Some of the decisions made about personnel, there has been a lot of discrepancy, there’s been fighting in the locker room between [former Flames Robin] Regehr and [Dion] Phaneuf at the time and you settle those things out as a coaching staff and a team but you don’t dismantle people and move people.

The Phaneuf-Regehr beef has long been a favorite of message board posters, but it does have a history with mainstream media as well. Here’s what Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy wrote following the Phaneuf-to-Toronto trade of 2010:

Something was clearly wrong with the mix in Calgary. Everyone knows that Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr did not get along very well off the ice, and weren’t a great pair on it.

Sure teammates don’t have to be best friends to perform well but it helps if they communicate. And from what we’re hearing Phaneuf and Regehr hardly spoke at all.

As for Keenan, he wonders if trading Phaneuf was a mistake.

“When you got a superstar forward [Jarome Iginla] and certainly a winning goalie [Miikka Kiprusoff],  you need to be anchored by a defenseman that would have the calibre of carrying a team,” Keenan said. “I don’t know if Phaneuf would have drawn into that. He certainly had more upside than another defenseman that I was coaching and he’s a guy that needs a lot of direction and you need to be firm him but he can give you minutes and results offensively.”

In 164 games with the Flames, Keenan had a record of 88-60-16.

Report: If the Sabres can sign Vesey, they could be more willing to trade Kane

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 03:  Evander Kane #9 of the Buffalo Sabres speaks with referee Kevin Pollock #33 during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on February 3, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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If the Buffalo Sabres can sign Jimmy Vesey, they may be more willing to trade winger Evander Kane.

That’s what TSN 1040 (Vancouver) radio host Matt Sekeres has been hearing, and what he’s hearing does make a lot of sense.

Kane, whose off-ice issues are once again making headlines, has two years left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. He plays the same position as Vesey, 23, who’s currently Buffalo property but can sign with any team he chooses on Aug. 15.

Even if the Sabres can’t convince Vesey to join them, Kane could still be traded. GM Tim Murray has already conceded that his patience is wearing thin with the 24-year-old that he acquired from Winnipeg not long ago. Alex Nylander, drafted eighth overall in June, plays the same position as Kane, and Murray has said it’s possible the teenager could make the jump to the NHL next season.

Buffalo, Boston and Toronto have generally been considered the favorites to land Vesey. Chicago and Pittsburgh have also been mentioned.

Related: Cue the Kane-to-Vancouver speculation

Leafs avoid arbitration with Peter Holland

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 11: Peter Holland #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates up the ice during NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre April 11, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t require arbitration with forward Peter Holland. They’ve signed the 25-year-old to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.3 million.

Holland had a hearing scheduled for today. Last week, the Leafs sent a message by putting him on waivers, which he cleared.

Holland had nine goals and 18 assists in 65 games last season. With him signed, the Leafs have only defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin as restricted free agents. Corrado has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow; Marincin’s is next Tuesday.

Related: Corrado and Leafs aren’t that far apart

Arbitration looming this week for Mrazek and DeKeyser

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 16: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is checked by Danny DeKeyser #65 of the Detroit Red Wings in front of Petr Mrazek #34 in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 16, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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This is an important week in the Detroit Red Wings’ offseason, with Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Danny DeKeyser‘s for Thursday.

GM Ken Holland would prefer to avoid the hearings, which can sometimes result in hurt feelings.

“I think a negotiated settlement is always better than having an arbitrated settlement,” Holland told MLive.com. “Obviously, both sides run (the risk) of somebody’s not going to be happy.”

That being said, in Mrazek’s case, the two sides still have a ways to go. Remember that the 24-year-old netminder was excellent for most of 2015-16, but in Holland’s words, “the wheels came off a little bit in the middle of February.”

Hence, the divide:

DeKeyser, meanwhile, is more of a proven NHL commodity. He’s had three full seasons in the league. In the 26-year-old defenseman, the Red Wings pretty much know what they’ve got.

“There’s way more comparables, I think, in Dan DeKeyser‘s case so it was easier to figure out what was the market place,” said Holland. “That’s certainly not the case of Petr Mrazek’s situation.”

Holland’s work will not be finished once Mrazek and DeKeyser are signed. He still wants to add another defenseman, and he’s got a surplus of forwards to work with.

Related: Holland makes argument to keep Jimmy Howard

Flyers sign Brayden Schenn to four-year deal

Philadelphia Flyers' Brayden Schenn reacts after scoring during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
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The Flyers won’t require today’s scheduled arbitration hearing with Brayden Schenn. They’ve agreed to terms with the 24-year-old forward on a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.125 million.

Schenn had a career-high 26 goals and 33 assists in 2015-16. His 59 points were the third most on the Flyers, behind only Claude Giroux‘s 67 and Wayne Simmonds‘ 60.

The Schenn signing leaves the Flyers with just over $1 million in cap space for 2016-17, but no major free agents remaining. RFA defenseman Brandon Manning still needs a contract, but that’s it, per General Fanager. Manning has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 2.

Related: Coyotes sign Luke Schenn