Iron Mike, coming to an arena near you?
(Obviously not if a lockout occurs, but try to play along.)
That’s what the man himself suggested in a recent interview. Yes, Mike Keenan — who turns 63 in October — told NHL.com he’d like to get back behind an NHL bench and add to his 672 career wins.
“I’d love to coach back in the League. You never know if the game is going to call you back or not,” Keenan said. “I still have the intellect for it, the knowledge and the passion for the game.”
Keenan hasn’t coached in the NHL since 2008-09, when he led Calgary to a 46-30-6 record and the club’s most recent playoff berth (the Flames since missed the last three postseasons.)
Even though he’d be the oldest coach in the league, Keenan’s return isn’t far-fetched. He interviewed with Caps GM George McPhee for the then-vacant Washington gig back in June, and says his age could be an asset in a league where one third of the coaches are under the age of 46.
“Bowman coached almost until he was 70. Hitchcock set a good example. He’s the oldest coach in the League and won Coach of the Year,” Keenan said. “I know if I can get back in the League I can do a superb job. Whether that will ever happen, I have no idea.”
After some soul searching, the Washington Capitals decided to go with a first-time head coach (and one would think, offense-first guy) in Adam Oates. Darren Dreger provides an fascinating wrinkle to that decision-making process, though: the Caps also interviewed “Iron” Mike Keenan before choosing Oates.
Mike Keenan interviewed for head coaching job in Wash. McPhee called to tell him he was out, just before news broke Oates had been hired.
There are so many different things to take from that scenario. The most obvious one is the mind-blowing concept of Keenan working with Alex Ovechkin. Yup, that would have been … interesting.
Regardless of how serious the Capitals really were when interviewing Keenan, it reveals how much of a fork in the road Washington GM George McPhee was at after Dale Hunter left. He could have gone in a similar – possibly more restrictive – direction with Keenan, but instead he opted for a (seemingly) more player-friendly guy in Oates.
That shouldn’t stop you from picturing the hockey “Odd Couple” that would have been Keenan & Ovechkin. How well do you think they could have worked?
It’s been a tough few days for two European Nashville Predators Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Radulov. Both players saw their team fall down 2-0 to the Phoenix Coyotes while Radulov in particular faced some tough reprimands from Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones for his Game 2 struggles. Roenick and Mike Keenan were on hand today to discuss the latest bump in the road for Radulov and Kostitsyn, who won’t play in Game 3 due to breaking “team rules.”
Let’s just say Roenick spoke like he played: without pulling punches.
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