Kukla's Korner Hockey
from George Johnson at ESPN,
The hire has implosion written all over it.
The debris field threatens to stretch all the way north to Edmonton, all the way south to Lethbridge.
The ending of this movie has the potential to mirror Jimmy Cagney in the final minutes of “White Heat,” standing at the top of the chemical plant, emptying his bullets into a gas tank and shrieking “Made it, ma! Top o’ the world!” as the mushroom cloud of fumes and fire envelops him.
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.
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
“Mike Keenan’s greatest ability as a coach—I’ve seen it—is to get the maximum out of top players and our team has five or six of the top 30 or 40 players in the game,” said Sutter of his longtime associate.
“I think our top players all want it and need it. Our team has evolved from a lesser skilled team and one of the hardest working to a more skilled one that was capable of being very successful.”
Sutter said the move was made after months of evaluations that came down to the fact finishing 14 games above .500 wasn’t good enough. If not Playfair, Keenan was his only other choice.
from the CP via TSN,
The Calgary Flames have officially announced that he’ll replace Jim Playfair as head coach. Playfair is now an associate coach with the team.
“Together, they will do remarkable things for this team,” Flames GM Darryl Sutter said at a news conference Thursday.
Keenan joins his eighth NHL team as either a coach or general manager. He last worked in the league for the Florida Panthers before leaving under suspicious circumstances last season.
“I’d love to stay here and end my career here,” Keenan said.
added 5:40pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
According to Keenan, their past working relationship was a big part of the reason he took on the Flames’ job. At one point, Keenan has either coached or worked with all six of the Sutter brothers who played in the NHL.
Keenan said Sutter contacted him about 10 days ago, “to see if I was interested in coaching again. We talked for a bit and then talked for a few days after that.
“I was a little surprised, but pleasantly so, because I know Darryl so well. Once we had discussed it for awhile, I started to get the feeling that I’d like to get the opportunity to help this team. It evolved from there.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
While team officials closed ranks last night, refusing to comment, it was confirmed Playfair will stay in the organization, likely as an assistant coach.
And while many fans wanted the relatively inexperienced Playfair out after going 14 games above .500 in his rookie year, few will be happy Keenan is his replacement.
He’s that controversial. That brash. That abrasive.
Truth is, it’s a brilliant move.
First, having worked with Keenan in Chicago, Sutter knows the 57-year-old disciplinarian well and has modeled his coaching style after the fifth-winningest bench boss in NHL history.
from Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie at TSN,
It looks like “Iron Mike” could be back in business behind the bench of an NHL team.
Sources tell TSN that Mike Keenan is on the verge of becoming the new head coach of the Calgary Flames.
While the Flames declined to comment when contacted by TSN today, sources confirm Keenan is currently in Calgary and if all goes as expected, the well-traveled NHL executive and coach could be announced as the head coach of the Flames as early as Thursday.
RWBill, a KK member posted the audio of the Johan Franzen series clinching goal in a Wings forum today,
The audio call was from Calgary broadcaster Pete Maher, who was inducted into the HHOF Broadcast Wing last year.
You can tell why- listen to the call, a true professional all the way.
Some play-by-play guys would have barely told you the puck was in the net, or be screaming about a penalty that should have been called or maybe and offsides.
Pete did it right and I came away even more impressed!
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Iginla has one year remaining on a deal that will pay him $7-million (U.S.) for the 2007-08 season, at which point he could become an unrestricted free agent. On the open market, a player of Iginla’s stature — tough, smart, physical, a first-rate NHL scorer — could theoretically become the league’s highest-paid player, if a bidding war were to begin.
However, Iginla said his primary goal is to win a championship, not lead the league in dollars earned, and believes that the Flames have as good a chance as any NHL team to do that in the near term.
“Personally, I’d like to stay and I want to win,” said Iginla, who added: “I’m not concerned about being the highest-paid player in the league. I’d like something that would work well for both sides.
“I’m already doing all right (financially),” he continued, with a laugh. “I’m thankful.”
from George Johnson at the Calgary Herald,
Sutts Lite, he came to be called.
It’s difficult to figure out if we got even a fleeting glimpse of the real Jim Playfair at all. He had that suspicious, tight-lipped, us-against-the-world Sutter thing going almost from the drop of the puck.
If he did deliberately adopt the pose, maybe it’s because that’s what he felt his boss believed a winning coach to be. Or maybe he did it out of respect for someone he truly does admire, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.
Or just maybe, as he told us countless times heading into this adventure: “I’m more like Darryl than you guys think.’’ Maybe he actually is as much of a hard nut as Sutter. Only with fewer credentials to fall back on.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
As a team, the Flames need to get quicker and hungrier up front; one of the issues in the Detroit series was they simply couldn’t get in on the Red Wings’ defence hard enough or fast enough to turn the puck over. The infusion of youth and speed may address that issue; it also means that many, if not most of, their 30-something forwards (Darren McCarty, Byron Ritchie, Marcus Nilson, Amonte, Friesen and depending upon his wishes, Primeau), may be seeking employment elsewhere next season.
It’s a different story on defence, where the Flames will almost certainly bid to retain one or both of Roman Hamrlik and Brad Stuart, a pair of minute-munching rearguards, for whom there are no replacements waiting in the wings.
more… *including thoughts on Jim Playfair’s coaching future with the Flames
From Jim Kelly at Sportsnet.ca,
The Flames disgraced themselves and the game they profess to love. They didn’t play hard, they played dirty ... and stupid. If it weren’t for their magnificent talent in goal, Game 6 would never have existed. Kiprusoff also extended their good fortune into overtime Sunday when he kept the Red Wings off the board after Craig Conroy received a double minor for striking Tomas Holmstrom in the face with his stick.
continued… *more on Calgary, and the NHL’s response
Update 4:49pm ET:
John sent this photo, seen below. Thought it might be an amusing addition (for some of you) to add to this post.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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