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Keenan's coaching style

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Old
07-15-2017, 12:44 PM
  #1
needmorefighting
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Keenan's coaching style

We've all heard the stories about Iron Mike. His anger and rage, his incredibly demanding style, his clashes with players, the goalie roulette etc. he would just grind the hell out of a team physically and mentally.

Was there a method to his madness though? He always seemed pretty reasonable and normal when I see him doing pre and post game desk analysis. You'd never know he was this tyrant.

Was his style just to deliberately be this unhinged guy who always kept players on their toes and never let them get comfortable and complacent? I've heard stories of him, during periods of bad play by a team, just tearing into players who were actually playing very well and giving 100%...perhaps as a way to get the rest of the team to hate him and go out there and play angry.

Did Keenan ever take somebody aside "Hey player X, you're playing great...listen I have to wake the rest of these zombies up so I'm going to tear into you this intermission just play along"

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07-15-2017, 01:05 PM
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Johnny Engine
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"He wants you to skate really fast and run into things"
- Jyrki Lumme

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07-16-2017, 12:36 AM
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John Flyers Fan
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Keenan should be a lock Hall of Famer.

His coaching record from 1979-95 was brilliant.
Two Jr B Championships
AHL Championship
CIAU Championship
4 Stanley Cup Finals appearances
1 Stanley Cup
2 Canada Cups (when they still meant something)

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07-16-2017, 12:51 AM
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mattihp
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Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan View Post
Keenan should be a lock Hall of Famer.

His coaching record from 1979-95 was brilliant.
Two Jr B Championships
AHL Championship
CIAU Championship
4 Stanley Cup Finals appearances
1 Stanley Cup
2 Canada Cups (when they still meant something)
It seems he always got one guy to reach his potential. With the Panthers it was Olli Jokinen who was probably looking to go back to Finland...

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07-16-2017, 12:57 AM
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It seems he always got one guy to reach his potential. With the Panthers it was Olli Jokinen who was probably looking to go back to Finland...
He also generally got great performances out of his goalies, even though he pulled goalies more than just about anyone.

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07-16-2017, 08:30 AM
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ICM1970
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I wonder if Keenan's antics have ever been discussed in the concussion lawsuits. I remember reading in Jeremy Roenick's recent book about how when he was a young rookie in the 'Hawks pre-season in 1988, Keenan yelled and swore at him for not "finishing your checks". In other words, JR was supposed to have drilled or smoked someone that millisecond or two after having given up the puck, one of the dirtiest tactics ever invented for the modern game (why the late Ed Kea suffered the injury that could have killed him immediately in 1983).

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07-16-2017, 07:59 PM
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I wonder if Keenan's antics have ever been discussed in the concussion lawsuits. I remember reading in Jeremy Roenick's recent book about how when he was a young rookie in the 'Hawks pre-season in 1988, Keenan yelled and swore at him for not "finishing your checks". In other words, JR was supposed to have drilled or smoked someone that millisecond or two after having given up the puck, one of the dirtiest tactics ever invented for the modern game (why the late Ed Kea suffered the injury that could have killed him immediately in 1983).
Wait what? I don't know if it's just me, but that's a common strategy that's been drilled into me since I was old enough to start playing contact. Dirty is hitting someone when their back is facing you, I've never heard someone say that finishing your check is "dirty". If you have the puck and there are players on you, you should be well aware of the possibility of someone finishing their check.

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07-16-2017, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ESH View Post
Wait what? I don't know if it's just me, but that's a common strategy that's been drilled into me since I was old enough to start playing contact. Dirty is hitting someone when their back is facing you, I've never heard someone say that finishing your check is "dirty". If you have the puck and there are players on you, you should be well aware of the possibility of someone finishing their check.
Which is a later invention derived from the "goon era".

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07-16-2017, 08:03 PM
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The Panther
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Was his style just to deliberately be this unhinged guy who always kept players on their toes and never let them get comfortable and complacent?
I think so.

What I never understood about Keenan is why he hated Yzerman so much.

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07-16-2017, 08:08 PM
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needmorefighting
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I think so.

What I never understood about Keenan is why he hated Yzerman so much.
It's probably one of those weird Keenan things that you just can't explain. Maybe he thought he was soft, maybe he thought he wasn't an effective leader. It is weird considering how universally respected Yzerman was (and still is).

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07-16-2017, 08:18 PM
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ChuckLefley
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Keenan was very similar to Herb Brooks. He drove his players hard and gave them someone to come together as a team and hate. He would demand everything you had to give and if you didn't give it he didn't respect you. Many players absolutely loved him. He did have players that he knew he could rip in front of the team without them taking it personally, in order to fire up the team. He also would rip into one of those players (often the captain or the best player on the team) about something someone else did to send the message to the guilty party and to let the whole team know that nobody was above his standards. If I remember correctly every team he has coached in the NHL improved in his first season and most got better in his subsequent seasons.

He was/is a fantastic coach who could change with the times and absolutely should be in the HHOF.

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07-16-2017, 08:41 PM
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Very divisive. Players loved him or hated him. He played favorites and was often vindictive seemingly just because he could be. He didn't take injury seriously enough and sometimes thought wounded players were shirkers. Like a lot of old generals, he found some success but at a high price. He was an *******, but sometimes *******s win.

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07-16-2017, 08:53 PM
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When he got to St. Louis after his Cup win in New York, it was crazy to see him blow up the Blues core at the time and turn it into an ex-Oilers, Hawks and Rangers semi retirement club. Would have been frustrated to see him lay waste to my team like that.

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07-16-2017, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
When he got to St. Louis after his Cup win in New York, it was crazy to see him blow up the Blues core at the time and turn it into an ex-Oilers, Hawks and Rangers semi retirement club. Would have been frustrated to see him lay waste to my team like that.
Well it worked with the Rangers, he had some guys he trusted and believed in him and probably acted as his eyes and ears at times (Brian Noonan, Adam Creighton, Mike Hudson etc)

They were an eyelash away from upsetting the Wings and playing Chicago in the 1996 WCF.

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07-16-2017, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by needmorefighting View Post
Well it worked with the Rangers, he had some guys he trusted and believed in him and probably acted as his eyes and ears at times (Brian Noonan, Adam Creighton, Mike Hudson etc)

They were an eyelash away from upsetting the Wings and playing Chicago in the 1996 WCF.
The Blues barely got past the Leafs in the first round, but nearly upset the Wings that year but they did dismantle the Shanahan, Joseph core, opting to go with some serious veteran presence.

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07-16-2017, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
When he got to St. Louis after his Cup win in New York, it was crazy to see him blow up the Blues core at the time and turn it into an ex-Oilers, Hawks and Rangers semi retirement club. Would have been frustrated to see him lay waste to my team like that.
He seemed to be losing his grip around that time -- pushing away a lot of good players and pissing off Brett Hull in the process. His love-affair with Shayne Corson was sort of inexplicable. The Blues had some decent parts then with Hull, MacInnis, Pronger, Fuhr et al., but additions like Anderson and Creighton and Zezel and Matteau and Huddy didn't make a lot of sense. They were all spare parts by then. He managed to get Gretzky for a song, but then pissed him off so much by reaming him out after a game that Wayne was basically done once the playoffs ended.

Would have been interesting to see what happened against Chicago in '96 if the Casey had stopped that Yzerman shot and the goal had gone the other way. Keenan against his old team... maybe Fuhr comes back... Gretzky fired up for one more run... I think they'd have had a chance against Chicago and maybe made the Finals... creamed by Colorado, though.

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07-16-2017, 11:31 PM
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Some Keenan stories

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/f...up_Finals.html


But among the players, the most infamous surprise Keenan ever had in store for them took place during his first season as Flyers' coach: the "Christmas Death Skate" of 1984.

Early on the morning of December 24, the players arrived at the Coliseum for what they thought would be a light practice before an informal team Christmas party with plenty of pizza and beer to go around, and an exchange of gag gifts. The team had recently worked through a four-game losing streak and had won two of its last three games. Everyone was in a good mood.

The previous night, Lindbergh and team won a 7-4 game at home against the Washington Capitals. Apart from a meltdown early in the third period that saw the Caps score two quick goals to trim a 7-2 deficit, Philly controlled most of the game.

A hat trick from Tim Kerr, two goals by Murray Craven and a pair of assists apiece from Howe, Brian Propp, Rick Tocchet and Peter Zezel led the way offensively. At the other end of the ice, Pelle turned back 27 of 31 shots to earn the win. Many of the saves were of the difficult variety, as the play was wide open. Lindbergh had little chance to stop any of the goals Washington scored.

As the players filed onto the Coliseum ice on Christmas Eve morning, they were greeted by several blasts of Keenan's whistle. He ordered the players to start skating end-to-end sprints.

The Flyers skated as fast as they could, hoping to get the drill over with quickly. No such luck. Keenan kept them skating.

And skating.

And skating some more.

The bag skate lasted for over two hours. By now, the players' legs burned and some dehydrated players wretched and were close to vomiting. But no one was excused.

Finally, as the players neared the point of collapse, Keenan blew the whistle to end practice. He gathered his team. Most of the players sat, staring straight down at the ice, both out of exhaustion and anger.

Keenan moved his piercing gaze slowly across the ice. One by one, the players looked up at the coach. At last he spoke.

"Always expect the unexpected," he said. "And Merry Christmas."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4ooWfg4fP4 Funny story about Iron Mike

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7-gRPB5nB0 Even better one. Starts at 1:39.

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07-16-2017, 11:58 PM
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mattihp
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He managed to get Gretzky for a song, but then pissed him off so much by reaming him out after a game that Wayne was basically done once the playoffs ended.
Was this the Corson episode where Keenan let Corson know he was alive for playing poorly whilst injured and Gretzky tried to stand up for him?

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07-17-2017, 06:44 AM
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Was this the Corson episode where Keenan let Corson know he was alive for playing poorly whilst injured and Gretzky tried to stand up for him?
Yup. And berated Corson because he couldnt play after a he broke his jaw. Keenan was just a nutcase.

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07-17-2017, 07:28 AM
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The Panther
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Was this the Corson episode where Keenan let Corson know he was alive for playing poorly whilst injured and Gretzky tried to stand up for him?
I don't know if it was the Corson-incident you mention or not (maybe). I think it was some game the Blues lost 8-2 or something embarrassing. Pronger said, years later, that Keenan chewed out Gretzky (then in his 18th pro season) in front of everyone, and Pronger said he could see Wayne's body language, as in, "Yeah... I don't need this."

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07-17-2017, 07:42 AM
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He seemed to be losing his grip around that time -- pushing away a lot of good players and pissing off Brett Hull in the process. His love-affair with Shayne Corson was sort of inexplicable. The Blues had some decent parts then with Hull, MacInnis, Pronger, Fuhr et al., but additions like Anderson and Creighton and Zezel and Matteau and Huddy didn't make a lot of sense. They were all spare parts by then. He managed to get Gretzky for a song, but then pissed him off so much by reaming him out after a game that Wayne was basically done once the playoffs ended.

Would have been interesting to see what happened against Chicago in '96 if the Casey had stopped that Yzerman shot and the goal had gone the other way. Keenan against his old team... maybe Fuhr comes back... Gretzky fired up for one more run... I think they'd have had a chance against Chicago and maybe made the Finals... creamed by Colorado, though.
I think you're getting somethings confused here. In 96 Detroit played St. Louis in the wc semis and Colorado played Chicago. If the blues upset Detroit, they would play Colorado.

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07-17-2017, 08:41 AM
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I think you're getting somethings confused here. In 96 Detroit played St. Louis in the wc semis and Colorado played Chicago. If the blues upset Detroit, they would play Colorado.
You're right, of course. Well, I think St.Louis would have got beaten pretty handily by Colorado. And then we wouldn't have had the first Avs/Wings tussle, so it's just as well...

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07-17-2017, 09:04 AM
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As someone who has had interactions with Gretzky and knew most of the Blues players and organization in the 90's I can tell you that these stories about Gretzky are false. He was negotiating to stay until June, when ownership suddenly pulled the offer.

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07-17-2017, 09:39 AM
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As someone who has had interactions with Gretzky and knew most of the Blues players and organization in the 90's I can tell you that these stories about Gretzky are false. He was negotiating to stay until June, when ownership suddenly pulled the offer.
Thats strange. Why would the owners pull the 10 mill offer for Gretzky over two years but then approve the same money over 3 years for Joe Murphy? That doesnt make sense to me.

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07-17-2017, 10:04 AM
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ChuckLefley
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Thats strange. Why would the owners pull the 10 mill offer for Gretzky over two years but then approve the same money over 3 years for Joe Murphy? That doesnt make sense to me.
Part of it was that Gretzky had a business guy he trusted implicitly and that guy wanted the Blues to pay a huge chunk of money as an upfront bonus. The brilliance of Blues ownership at that time couldn't see anything else and freaked out at the idea that Gretzky could get hurt. They completely ignored how much they would be making in jersey sales, merchandise sales, tickets, concessions, etc. even if he only played half a season due to injury. They were complete idiots who undermined the coaches and GM's the entire time they owned the team.

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