There are very few coaches who could make a Top 5 list in franchise history for multiple teams, but Mike Keenan would be one of those few coaches.
Mike Keenan is probably the last true jerk for a coach in NHL history, and he always leaves the franchise with pretty much everyone hating him at the end of his tenure.
One thing that Keenan could do in his younger days was get teams to at least the Conference Championships.
He was able to get the Philadelphia Flyers his first NHL team to the Cup Finals without being able to seal the deal. The one thing that Keenan’s teams did was fight for every square inch of ice every night.
When he arrived in Chicago, the Blackhawks were a franchise that would make the playoffs every year, but they could never get over the hump to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In 1991, the team was the President’s Trophy Winners, but they ran into the Minnesota North Stars and they were upset in the first round.
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The following season the Hawks weren’t as strong during the regular season, but they went on a roll in the playoffs and rode it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Unfortunately, the Hawks ran into Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux in the Finals and they were just too much for the Hawks to handle.
Keenan was a coach that could pull goalies quicker than anyone, yet he had Dominik Hasek on his roster, and he barely saw the ice and wouldn’t become a household name until he was traded from the organization.
The summer after the Stanley Cup Final, Keenan wanted to be the coach and general manager, but Bill Wirtz and Bob Pulford wanted Darryl Sutter to coach and Keenan to be the GM. Keenan wanted nothing to do with that, and he promptly left the franchise.
Keenan made it to the Stanley Cup Final, but couldn’t end the drought from 1961 so he ends up at 51 on our list.
What are your memories of Keenan in Chicago?
Only 51 days left until the season finally kicks off!