The Calgary Flames have hired Mike Keenan as their new head coach, sources confirmed to The Canadian Press on Wednesday. An official announcement on the hiring is expected Thursday or Friday. Current Flames coach Jim Playfair will remain as part of the Flames organization.
The Flames went 43-25-10, finishing eighth in the Western Conference last season under Playfair. They lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the first round of the playoffs.
Keenan has 569 wins, 447 losses, 140 ties and 20 overtime losses in 1,014 games over his career.
He captured the Jack Adams trophy awarded to the league’s top coach in 1985 while leading the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup final. He also coached the New York Rangers to their first championship in 54 years in 1994.
Despite his success, Keenan has had a mostly tumultuous career as a coach or general manager with the Flyers, the Blackhawks, the Rangers, the St. Louis Blues, the Vancouver Canucks, the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers.
He parted company with the Flyers in 1988 after four years as head coach despite twice guiding them to conference titles.
After coaching the Blackhawks to the Cup final, he resigned in the spring of 1992 after four years coaching and managing because the total control he craved wasn’t forthcoming.
He won a title with the Rangers, but couldn’t get along with GM Neil Smith well enough to stay for a second season.
One of the quirkier trivia tidbits from his nearly three years in St. Louis before he was fired was his refusal to allow the players to don newly designed alternate sweaters because he didn’t like the way they looked.
He didn’t mesh with GM Brian Burke in Vancouver and was fired, and there was a quick exit from Boston, too.
In his early days with the Panthers, he and then-GM Rick Dudley engaged in power struggles. Then he abruptly left the team just before the 2006-07 season got underway. Keenan never publicly addressed for his departure.