In light of the recent list of coaching candidates that GM Joe Nieuwendyk has contacted (or those that have contacted him) we have a couple of late entries into the coaching candidate series and we'll continue with "Iron" Mike Keenan, formerly of just about every dang NHL team.
Playing Career: 1969 - 1976 (College and minors, no NHL)
Coaching Career: 1977 - 2009 (or present?)
Playing Career: Little can be said (or need be said) about his playing career early in his life. Wikipedia puts it succinctly as: "Keenan was a player for the St. Lawrence University Skating Saints (1969-72), the University of Toronto (1972-73), the Roanoke-Valley Rebels (1973-74), and his native Whitby Warriors (1976-77)."
Coaching Career: Keenan took the customary steps at lower levels of coaching, eventually winning an AHL title with the Rochester Americans and a CIAU (college athletics in Canada) title with the University of Toronto. He would then jump to the NHL level and lead the Flyers to a few division titles and two Stanley Cup Finals losses.
He coached the Blackhawks for four years and made the leap to general manager for them but got involved in a lot of politics and power struggles with senior management and ownership there and eventually resigned his position, only to get hired by the New York Rangers, who he would lead to a Stanley Cup in 1994, and then resigned again due to yet another power struggle or difference of opinion with management.
Do you see a pattern?
He would go on to coach/general manage in St. Louis, then Vancouver, then Boston, then Florida, where he traded Roberto Luongo to the West (thanks very much) and would eventually resign again. His final stop was in Calgary after two straight opening round losses there. You can now see him on television occasionally.
He finished with a 672-531-147-36 record, which is good for 4th all time on the NHL coaches list.
How he fits: His teams make the playoffs more often than not. That qualifies as fitting in Dallas right now. He first eleven seasons as head coach in the league saw post season play, most of which saw round two or beyond. He could bring a lifetime of experience with him and give it his all in what might be one last stop for the storied bench-boss.
Those who bemoaned the sometimes docile-demeanor of Marc Crawford (Dallas Stars version) would like the stark contrast as Coach Keenan would probably be telling guys like it is.
How he doesn't fit: Here again we have a man who has been reported to have "shaky" (yeah, let's go with shaky) relationships with the bigger personalities or stars on his teams and he is the kind of man who, win or lose, generally wears on not only the players, but the front office quickly. He's been a general manager before in more than one place and his judgment and potential second guess could be a deterrent to a young general manager in Joe Nieuwendyk who doesn't need that kind of potential conflict in his life. As much success as he had at the beginning of his career, only two of his last nine seasons have ended in a post-season berth.
As with Cory Clouston and Ken Hitchcock, we wonder if this is the kind of personality you want with a young group that is thirsty for bilateral communication and sharing of knowledge, not impersonal, unilateral direction.
The answer seems a little easy to foretell, but what say you?