It wasn’t one of hockey’s best kept secrets, but in case you didn’t hear, Mike Keenan, fired in November as coach of the Florida Panthers, was brought back as GM yesterday (l:firstname.lastname@example.org;p:please).
You can’t make this stuff up.
Coaching for Keenan will be Jacques Martin, last seen failing in Ottawa.
How did this happen?
There are some theories.
One is that Martin requested his old friend Keenan be made GM.
Another is that Rob Campbell, agent to Keenan and Martin, made the two a package deal. Larry Brooks at the Post says Rick Dudley, who was fired as GM to make room for Keenan, is also a Campbell client, though.
Yet another theory—mostly mine—is that majority owner Alan Cohen has never been able to choose between Dudley and Keenan. Both men always seemed to have his ear. I wonder if he didn’t have some seller’s remorse when he cut Keenan loose. I also wonder if, had he fired Dudley instead of Keenan in November, Dudley would be the one being welcomed back into the Panther fold. I suspect Cohen was blinded by his respect for the two men. Blinded to the point of ineffectiveness.
The big losers in all this, though? The Rangers. They were interested in both Keenan and Martin as a coach. Now they’re both off the market.
Oh. And the Lightning, whom Dudley helped build, are kind of shocked he was fired.