Friday, June 15, 2007



We'll start with the end here: I'm more optimistic about the Keenan hiring than this time yesterday. I'm as convinced as ever that turfing Playfair as the HC was the correct decision. I'm also convinced that hiring an experienced coach (one who has worked with multiple teams and rosters) was the correct decision.

While I am not one of the people who thinks that the multiple expiring contracts this season equates to starting at Square-One next season, it is nevertheless quite likely that this upcoming season presents a better opportunity to win the big trophy than the couple that follow. The Flames certainly cannot afford a rebuilding program, and beyond something the likes of Ottawa this past year, they cannot afford growing pains. So, the list of potential hires was pretty short: Scotty Bowman (sheeah right), Pat Quinn, Mike Keenan.

The reason I don't have a stronger opinion about this hire (one way or the other) is that I just don't really know or understand Mike Keenan; he's never worked for a team I care about, and apart from his parts-of-two-seasons with the Canucks, never even for a Flames' rival. For all his time in the league, I just haven't paid that much attention to him. Tom Benjamin's comments yesterday were illuminating, and though his overall take was pessimistic ("Do those positives outweigh the big negative? Not in my books. ...there's an inevitable car wreck. There always is when you put Mike Keenan in the driver's seat... I wouldn't hire him to mow my lawn."), I actually found it pretty encouraging -- certainly his first two points anyway.

Had some laffs listening to the radio yesterday: is it possible to actually hear someone biting their tongue? Rob Kerr did manage to stay on point and sketch out the big picture implication, but it was pretty clear that he was self-censoring: he desperately wanted to say This is So Unfair to Jim Playfair! It was to be expected; he's spent 3+ months months not merely disagreeing with, but mocking, anyone who said a coaching change was in order (and he continues to misrepresent Bob McKenzie's piece from after G2).

Also, having listened to Kerr, Maher, Rogers et al for an hour or so, it looks like I'm alone in believing that the Keenan hiring won't have much of an impact on the Flames' off-season. Not that we'll ever know -- absent Brian Noonan coming out of retirement, any player move from here on can be characterized with equal certainty as because of or regardless of Keenan's hiring. But to address a few new assumptions/myths directly:

*Now the Flames will rely more on (UFA) veterans and less on AHLers being promoted. I doubt it. All coaches have a use for guys who can play, and very few have any use for those who can't. The idea that the Amonte/Friesen/Nilson/Ritchie/etc. slots were all going to be filled by graduates from Omaha was never going to happen anyway (data point: the Nilson re-signing last week). Sutter said in his post-Rd1 presser that he wanted some young guys to make the team, but it would be whoever (and however many) earned it. I see no reason why this is any different now.

*Lombardi, Huselius, and Tanguay had better watch out. Really? Mike Keenan has no use for skill players who aren't always looking to make a hit? I doubt it. Pavel Bure scored 50 for Keenan in Vancouver. Tim Kerr did 3 times, and averaged less than a PIM/gm. Brian Propp wasn't exactly notorious for flying into defensemen elbows-first. And notorious Keenan fave Stephane Matteau would never be confused with Cam Neely, or even Joe Thornton, along the boards.

Look, someone is going to end up in Keenan's doghouse, and have a tough time getting out, but it's not like the Flames have been coached by Pierre Turgeon's Mom the past few years. You think any of the Flames' skill forwards are going to look at Keenan in September and go, "Huh? You want me to play two ways?" Please.

*It'll be a big adjustment for Kipper. I doubt it. For starters, he only got pulled twice this entire season (once during the 2nd Int, the other was G5 for his own protection), so he can probably handle (hell, expect) getting yanked a little more often than that. Also, he rarely gives up weak goals, he very rarely gives up awful goals, and the Flames (like most teams these days) aren't in the habit of getting in an early 2-0 hole.

I think the thing to avoid, even if you're displeased by the hiring of Keenan, is the belief that because he's had some bad breakups, and he has favourites, and he's feuded with players (couldn't get along with Brett Hull, my God what kind of personality disorder does he have!) that he behaves capriciously. There's no doubt in my mind that Keenan is going to make some moves and decisions that both baffle and infuriate me (distinguishing him not at all from his predecessor), but I certainly don't believe that they'll be due to a strange pathology or, I dunno, imbalance of bodily humours. He wants the exact same thing as Flames fans, which is to be great at his job, restore his reputation, and win the Stanley Cup RFN.

To that end, good luck, sir... we're all counting on you.


mike keenan is just the man we need 2 shake the falmes up and reclaim the cup next year.

cOILERS might as well just give up and be a AHL or QMJHL team next year

Reggie Jr. now is not the time to be blog-commenting. Call an ambulance: you've clearly had a stroke.

I'm not sure why, but that comment by littlefury really made me laugh.

The falmes, indeed!

This comment has been removed by the author.


Reggie Jr. is my favourite new character. this season.

I think the NBA's Eastern Conference should give up and play in the d-league next year.

Your dad is still the best recurring blog character, non-author division, Chris!. I admired his work during the 2006 playoffs immensely.

The danger comes not in Keenan authoring a car wreck, but what if he succeeds? What if the Flames make the conference finals next year and ol' Mike wants an extension? Then he wants more say in 'personnel' matters? Then he wants to make the draft selections and then he's changing the wallpaper in the GM's suite. A successful season for the Flames next year: Finish higher than eighth and go further than one round in the playoffs, PLUS resigning Jarome and Kipper. Let's let the Flames chew on that.

It's funny how sports work sometimes. For example, Flames fans are talking themselves into Mike Keenan being the guy to win them the Cup. This would be like them hiring Craig Simpson convinced that it would make their powerplay potent.

Fired well before Christmas.

so craig simspon = mike keenan now???

u people in spOILERville are not only out of your league, youre out of your minds

luk owt spOILERSmonton u guyz ar goin dowwn becus KEENUN is da MAN. I wud no i'm a gron man who tipes lik a cat woking ona keebord. u r all so STUPET hahaha go Falmes

u people in spOILERville are not only out of your league, youre out of your minds

Technically speaking, isn't a "spoiler" by definition a team that makes the most of an opportunity to hit above their own weight? I mean, if the Oilers were really "spoilers" this year, that one win we had against Calgary during the losing skid would have been just enough to bump the Lames out of playoff contention. You're so anxious to make fun of the "Oiler" handle you're managing to make it into a compliment.

SPOILERS as in spoiled milk, rotten goaltending, crappy coaching, nonexistant d, happless offense, SPOILED BRATS like LUPUL and NILSON, spoiled soul spoiled spirit

what was once a dienasty is now... spOILed

SPOILERS as in spoiled milk, rotten goaltending, crappy coaching, nonexistant d, happless offense, SPOILED BRATS like LUPUL and NILSON, spoiled soul spoiled spirit

what was once a dienasty is now... spOILed

reggie jr is obviously a fake. No true Falmes fan would ever admit the Oilers were a dynasty.

(wait for it)

(wait for it)

Or even a dienasty.

(there we go!)

what should i expect from the cOIL community? matt makes a stirring, eloquint defence of the keenan apointment and the peanut gallery at b.o.a. would rather spend time chattering about typos rather than acknowledge there certain fate as CHOKERS in 2007-08

After this awful season, at least
this thread has got me laughing a lot.
Flames fans you are welcome, it is such more fun when you are around.

Wait, Reggie Jr., I'm confused. If the Oilers are expected to suck next year, how can they be "CHOKERS" when they do, in fact, suck as expected?

And I think you're missing our point, Reggie Jr. We're not making fun of your typos so much as we're laughing your hilariously infantile insults and unquestioning, childlike devotion to the Falmes.

Anyhow, it's great stuff. Keep it coming.

too cute by half, chris


Coming soon to Battle of Alberta: Matt Fenwick explains why drafting Mario Williams was the right move for the Texans.

luk owt spOILERSmonton u guyz ar goin dowwn becus KEENUN is da MAN. I wud no i'm a gron man who tipes lik a cat woking ona keebord. u r all so STUPET hahaha go Falmes

This is bloody hilarious, but a caution--if you type like that too often on purpose, it may sprain your cerebral cortex. :)

(Or prompt a stroke, apparently.)

The Oilers were no dynasty and Jack Nicklaus wasn't that good a golfer; he just had a 40 year hot streak.

Flames fans --

If any Oiler fans give you lip, just show them this:

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