Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In a town known for boots, there’s apparently an iron pair on the way!

If folks thought that the players of the Calgary Flames were running the asylum, then things are about to change rather dramatically at the Saddle dome. Rumours are swirling around the NHL that Daryl Sutter is about to inject a strong presence on the bench, as Mike Keenan, Iron Mike for those that get on the wrong side, has reportedly been hired by the flames to take over the coaching duties for next year.

Soon to be former coach Jim Playfair is expected to be offered another position with the club, and reports have it that he's accepting the demotion. However, he may wish to make a little distance between himself and the soon to come explosions, maybe try to throw his name into the coaching pool elsewhere.

While the last season and Playfair’s first as head coach, wasn’t particularly earth shattering, the Flames did make the playoffs under Playfair, exiting early as expected by many. As the first round unfolded in Detroit’s favour, suggestions were made that Sutter should take over the reins in the midst of the playoff battles. It was a temptation that he chose to resist, but apparently gave him cause for further reflection as to Playfair’s ultimate status.

The Sutter and Keenan reunion will reverse the flow of their relationship of their Chicago Days in 1988, when Keenan was coach of the Hawks and Sutter his assistant, it was the last time that the Black Hawks would appear in a playoff final. This time around however, Sutter will be the boss and Keenan the employee, an interesting turn of events but one that many say will cause no problems. The two are apparently of the same mind when it comes to handling personnel and demanding a work ethic from those that pull on a sweater, making for an intense training camp coming up for the Flames next September.

If proven correct, it's sure to be a choice that will be talked about long through the summer. Keenan's stints of the last few years haven't been particularly successful. His time in Vancouver left that team with a huge rift that nearly ripped the team apart at one time, it was only through the efforts of Brian Burke that Vancouver returned to a competitive form, though still under achievers even after Burke himself was let go.

The most recent stop on the Keenan express was Florida, which was a mess from so many directions, with Jacques Martin left to pick up the pieces, rather unsuccessfully as it stands yet.

It will be quite interesting to watch the developments in Calgary and whether Keenan still is relevant to the "new" NHL as far as coaching strategy goes.Those Flames currently under contract should try to enjoy their summer as best they can, September will arrive faster that they know and with it a whole new adventure will beckon those that take to the ice for Keenan.

Let the media frenzy begin:

Canoe-Keenan to coach Flames
The Hockey News-Calgary Flames to Hire Mike Keenan as head coach
Globe and Mail-Keenan could resurface in Calgary to hire Keenan as Head Coach coming to Calgary
CBC Sports: Flames hire Keenan as head coach: report
TSN: Keenan to Calgary: It's a possibility
Calgary Herald: Keenan set to sign on as Flames new coach

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