Monday, September 04, 2006

Florida In Turmoil

The Florida Panthers have announced that Mike Keenan will not be with them as general manager this season. This announcement comes only days before the opening of training camps in the NHL.

It is never a good sign to be a team in turmoil this close to the start of the season. However, Florida probably isn't the team in the team in the worst shape from GM changes this summer. That distinction goes to the New York Islanders. At least the new Panther GM Jacques Martin (who is also their coach) is a proven hockey man and not a retiring backup goalie.

Mike Keenan is never easy to work with. He has a long history of leaving teams in turmoil both on and off the ice. On the short term, he is a good coach. He has won coach of the year. He has won the Stanley Cup. As a general manager he has made some good trades. He brought in Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe for Trevor Linden while in Vancouver and he brought in Chris Pronger for Brendan Shanahan while in St Louis. In the long term he always leaves things in worse shape than when he arrives. Mike Keenan is like a drug. One hit feels good, but in the longterm he can destroy your life and your career.

Florida is announcing that Keenan resigned. There is media speculation that he was forced out.

His biggest move is to have is to acquire Todd Bertuzzi from Vancouver for Roberto Luongo. I would be suprised if this move is a net gain for Florida, though I think Bertuzzi still has a lot to offer his team and it wont be an abject failure either.

Here is the TSN story.

How long until another hockey team becomes desperate enough to give Mike Keenan his eighth(!) NHL job?

Re: 'Florida in turmoil'

Here's what I wrote about the subject at our hockeypool blog in response to Burnsides column.

In essence, I think you underestimate Keenan's talents. Luongo was offered a long term deal at the money akin to what he wanted, but persistently hung Keenan out to dry when it came to signing. This is AFTER Keenan made sure Jokinen was inked (in what was heralded everywhere as an obvious flag waving that the Panthers were serious about competing, please sign!). It was a case of the player holding all the cards, and the GM only one - a trade.

As far as judging the results go, I genuinely think both teams win. Luongo wasn't keen on Florida and got a change of scenery and Keenan brought back a dominant power forward in his prime (who also needed a new fresh start), a young top six defenseman, and a young above average goaltender in Alex Auld.

The key in my mind to the deal isn't the two major participants, it's Kraijcek, and I say this as a Vancouver resident. If Kraijcek turns out to be a top 4 defenseman and Allen doesn't (and I'm betting he doesn't - he's better suited to the old NHL style, and he wasn't a mortal lock to be a player even then), than Keenan definitely loses the deal. I think Keenan knows that Kraijcek doesn't have 'it', and that Allen is a freebie bottom pair defender.

I hope I'm wrong, but Keenan has a habit of maximizing defensemen (Pronger being the most obvious example, but also Leetch, and others), or moving them along, and in this case Vancouver is getting the results of his decision to 'move Kraijcek along'.

That said, Luongo is eventually going to be money.
I think one of the main reasons Roberto Luongo was not too interested in signing in florida longterm was the presence of Mike Keenan.
Do you think it was Keenan as GM that irritated Luongo more? Or Jaques Martin as the coach? I understood that there were even fights over who his goalie coach should be with each player in the saga having their own favourite.

In any case, the marriage is over, and only the divorce proceedings remain.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?