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Keenan wants back in the NHL: “I still have the intellect for it, the knowledge and the passion”

Aug 24, 2012, 4:48 PM EDT

Mike Keenan AP

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 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.”

  1. kingfooj - Aug 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Someone refresh my memory, i didnt follow this guy back in the day but what were the big issues about him?

    • ray2013 - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      Here’s a link.

      From what I recall, there was never any question that he had the intellect and the knowledge to do the job well. But seems like he was a tyrant, and that people got sick of him in every organization he went to.

    • jernster21 - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      He’s just generally known as a hard ass and probably wouldn’t bode well with a team full of a bunch of kids who have big egos.

    • sheckyrimshot - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      look up “mike keenan vs the score keeper” on youtube

  2. pone27 - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Keenan at bar in NYC. Very nice guy, guess my chi hawk roenick jersey made hin appreciate the fact i was a true hockey fan.

    I got to talk to him a lot about the game n what not. Its amazing how us fans think we know the game, but after spending a good hour to two hours bsing with him, it makes you realize how intelligent NHL coaches really are.

    Ton of respect to Keenan.

  3. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    The game has changed since Keenan left but I think he has something left in the tank. You look at some of the bottom-dwellers in the league and you can’t tell me that he couldn’t do a better job coaching. I think one team will look @ Mikey K when they give their current coach the boat after 30 games. All contingent on NO lockout. Can’t believe we are talking about a lockout again…

  4. sergeikremlin - Aug 24, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    The fact that he says he has the intellect and the knowledge shows his true colours and why some teams don’t want to deal with him. He’s an egomaniac.

    His methods are dated (the closest thing you’ll find to him is John Torterella these days), and he always has big issues with players or even GM’s. Apart from that he’s been fired or quit a lot, ruffled a lot of feathers, and everyone knows by now what the guy is about and how he handles (often mishandles) a locker room.

    It takes a certain kind of GM and a certain kind of philosophy to want to bring Keenan on board. Not for the majority.

  5. pantherman444 - Aug 24, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Keenan just now realized there are a few teams in the leauge that he hasn’t destroyed yet. He set the panthers back a decade.

  6. danphipps01 - Aug 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Yeah, I’m sure you’ve got all those in spades, Mike, but the question on everybody else’s mind is, “But are you still a giant jackass?”

    Seriously, the guy surely owns the record for most times fired from a head coaching position. Everybody eventually concluded the asshole behaviour outweighed his talent as a coach. Why would anyone believe he’s gotten any better?

  7. stakex - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    The thing is Keenan is a no BS coach who is very demanding on his players. As we say in 94 when your dealing with a team of mostly vets who want nothing but to win and don’t care about how awesome they are…. it works out fine for the most part. However in the current NHL full of whiny super starts? Keenan probably wouldn’t go over well.

    Then again, perhaps hes calmed down a bit with his age. Say what you will about the guy, but just listen to him for a couple minutes and you can tell he really knows what hes talking about. If he could just get along with the players a bit better, I have little doubt he could still be a winning NHL coach.

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