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06-29-2011, 06:57 PM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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Jay Greenberg posted a column with quotes from Mike Keenan:

“Everybody makes a poor decision from time to time,” said Mike Keenan Wednesday. “I think Mark took more risks in the neutral zone because he knew he could recover.

“He would make a faux pas, give up the puck that gave the opponent a start the rest of the way, and next thing you know, two strides later, Mark was right beside the guy.

“It was fluid, effortless. You could hear the difference at ice level in the sound of his blade barely digging into the ice, almost like he was wearing slippers out there.”

Midnight tolled for two Flyers finalists in 1985 and 1987 in Edmonton against the greatest offensive machine ever. It’s now six Oiler Hall of Famers from those two series against one for the Flyers, which tells you how good that one was, even if you take into account that for all intents and purposes Keenan essentially used Howe for two.

“I laugh now when I hear about the [burden on] Chris Pronger, playing 27 minutes a game,” said the coach. “I used Mark 30 or 31 a game because I could.

“There was such an economy, to him that he could move the puck out of the zone either by passing or carrying it out. He also could go back and recover the [dumped] puck so well, he wasn’t hit very often and when Ron Hextall came along Mark’s joke was that it was going to add 10 years to his career.”
“When I became coach of the Flyers (in Howe’s third season with the team) there were a lot of things Mark had to sort out,” said Keenan. “He had to find out just how good he really was, which I could convince him of by giving him that much ice time and responsibility.

“But the comparisons with his father were there, too. He was so humble and respectful he never thought he could be that good compared to his father, a hurdle he had to overcome to find his own comfort level.

“He never tried to be his father, held him such high esteem that he thought being compared to him was almost an embarrassment.”

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