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Caps interviewed Mike Keenan regarding head coaching gig

Jun 28, 2012, 8:22 PM EDT

keenangetty Getty Images

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?

  1. eastcoastcynic - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Abusive Authoritarian types like Keenan as he has demonstrated himself have a short shelf life in the NHL. Good for the Capital players that McPhee passed him over.

    • stakex - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

      Is demanding your best (and highest paid) players actually play to their potential really being authoritarian? A lot of players hate Keenan, especially star players, because hes not afriad to call them out for bad play and make them sit for it. That doesn’t make him a “mad with power” monster that just gets off by yelling at players, it makes him a coach that demands the best.

      Would that have gone over well with guys like Ovechkin? Who knows… but don’t forget, Keene made a young Kovalev into a dangerous player with his coaching style. So I think it could be easily argued Keenan and Ovechkin had the potential to do great things.

      • eastcoastcynic - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        Kovalev was a dangerous player before and after Keenan. His problem was that he didn’t always bring the lunch pail to the ice with him.

        If you question the heart and guts of players when they’ve shown it but lost a game, you lose the players.

        I heard a rumor a bunch of years ago that after the Hawks lost the Cup to the Pens, Dave Manson was going to kick the crap out of Keenan, presumably after a dressing down of the players.

        The coach that grabbed Ed Belfour by the face mask and gave him a dressing down on the bench.

        The coach that Don Cherry referred to as “Hitler”.

  2. flyeredup - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Keenan, please come back to Philly!

  3. williplett - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Keenan hasn’t won a playoff series in fifteen years, he’s quickly worn out his welcome (never finishing a third season) with five teams since leading the Rangers to the Cup and has left a scorched earth policy of bad trades, alienated players and exasperated front office types in his wake. He’s also a few games under .500 since leaving the Rangers after winning the Cup in ’93-’94. I can’t believe that he was even considered for this job and it is always good for a chuckle when people toss his name out as a potential savior.

    • habsman - Jun 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM

      A lot of what you say is true, but remember, many of these things were also said about Daryl Sutter.

  4. williplett - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Sutter has taken his last two teams to the Finals and won a Cup. Keenan is twenty years-and five jobs-removed from that sort of success and has cultivated a bad reputation in the process. Sutter has missed the playoffs twice in thirteen years while Keenan missed the playoffs seven of his last nine season. Don’t really see a comparison there.

  5. blomfeld - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:51 AM


    That’s too bad as far as the Caps are concerned … Iron Mike would have really “fixed” that lazy, prima-dona, conceited, fake-communist, ugly “parasite Ovechkin, probably in about 5 minutes, no two ways about it ! Nonetheless, I can see Mike getting behind the bench again somewhere … and the sooner that happens, the better for us all ! :)

    • babykaby - Jul 1, 2012 at 6:04 AM

      You are an ass.

  6. buffalomafia - Jun 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    The Sabres should hire him along with a new GM?

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