Vancouver - Mike Keenan, the NHL's gypsy coach, is through in
Fearing Keenan had lost the heart to coach, and calling the last
month "an unmitigated disaster," Vancouver Canucks president and general
manager Brian Burke believed he had no choice yesterday but to fire
Keenan and replace him with Marc Crawford, who led the Avalanche to the
1996 Stanley Cup.
Almost two days of speculation over Keenan's status ended when Burke
announced he had dismissed Keenan and signed Crawford to a 3 1/2-year
deal. Terms were not disclosed.
"It's become clear to me that as the season progressed, a change was
needed," Burke said. "We had a better start [to the season] than most
people predicted that we would."
The trouble, as far as Burke saw it, began just before the
nights. Since then, the Canucks (15-24-6) have won only twice in 13
"I have issues with the way our hockey club has been coached," Burke
said. "What accelerated my thinking on this change was the way Mike has
coached since Christmas.
"His heart just did not appear to be in coaching our hockey club.
Burke said he didn't know the reason.
"But it was apparent to me that Mike was indifferent at times behind
the bench," he said. "And this is a hockey club that must play with
desperation. There is no room for indifference."
Burke said his decision to make the change also was accelerated when
Fearing losing Crawford to another team, Burke decided to make the move
The two met in Tampa during this past weekend's All-Star Game
festivities and reached a deal by Saturday night. After flying yesterday
morning to Vancouver, Burke informed Keenan.
"Mike's comments were that he knows this is a tough business, filled
with tough decisions and he wishes the hockey club and me all the
best," Burke said. Keenan was unavailable for comment.