Calgary has been an underachieving team for years, one big reason why Mike was hired in the first place. There are a lot of problems in Calgary, a team that was so stretched to the salary cap it couldn't field a whole roster at the end of the season.
I had high hopes for the Flames earlier in the season, but after seeing them sputter to the finish, I didn't think they had much left. Chicago took care of them rather easily on paper, although the Flames had late leads in the early games of those series. And if I recall, in the losing Game 6, they outshot the Blackhawks something like 40-16 (I'm at Indy and don't feel like looking it up.)
"Our team did not meet expectations," Flames GM Darryl Sutter said in a statement. "Following detailed evaluation over the past three weeks, and taking into consideration all factors affecting our season-ending result, we believe this is a necessary change required to allow our team to continue toward our objective of winning the Stanley Cup."
I thought Mike did a decent job in Calgary. Robyn Regehr obviously did not. The Flames alternate captain told Steve MacFarlane of the Calgary Sun that this was a great move, that Keenan was too set in his ways and stuck listening to the 80s on 8.
From The Sun: "I think it's a very good thing for the team," said Regehr. "I think we will become a better team with this decision made. It's just my feeling."
"Probably the biggest issue we're dealing with right now is philosophies. (Keenan's) a coach who had most of his success in the '80s when the strategy was so much different. I think a lot of coaches from that time, the game has sort of moved past them. I think that was holding us back as a team."
We'll see where he lands up. I'm sure he wants to get back with another team as soon as he can, but television is always a possibility for the outspoken and opinionated Keenan.
If I'm Versus, I have already put in a call. Mike Keenan sure could add some spice to that bland production.
-- Speaking of the Flames, I've heard rumblings that Jay Bouwmeester wasn't the biggest Mike Keenan fan. Perhaps this helps smooth the way for Jay to move on to Alberta?
Regardless of who the coach is, Calgary has a lot of money tied up and would need to free some up (Flames are committed to $47 million for next year) to sign the Florida defenseman.
There had been an idea floated by The Hockey News and also from Hockey Night in Canada that the Flames might be willing to trade Dion Phaneuf and his big contract ($6.5 cap hit for the next four seasons) to the Panthers in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights to Bouwmeester (the only way this deal goes down is if Jay agrees to a long-term deal with the Flames beforehand).
I don't know if this is so far fetched, and it's a deal JM would do right now down at the Team Penske trailer. Would Calgary do it? Would JayBo?
-- And with Keenan gone, does Olli Jokinen follow him out? Yeah, probably. Olli is in the final year of that four-year deal Keenan signed him too during those Florida years. Calgary would probably like to shed Olli's salary hit and move on.
More rumblings out of Calgary regarding Olli's locker room influence (and not in a positive light) but all that is bunk, I say. If Olli was scoring the way he did when he got to Calgary, no one would be saying boo.
Olli had two goals and three assists in six playoff games this season, with both goals coming in the same game. Like last year in Florida, Olli struggled down the stretch, scoring no goals with five assists in his final 13 games as the Flames limped to the checkered flag by winning six of those games.