A Tale of Two Coaches: Torts Fired, Keenan Feted
It was the best of weeks; it was the worst of weeks.
Two coaches with their names engraved on Lord Stanley's Cup knew what came with the territory when they decided to make a career of standing behind the bench. They would be hailed as geniuses. Until they weren't.
And then, they'd have to wait for another opportunity to be hailed again. Maybe.
John Tortorella surely was bookmarking the classifieds since the regular season ended and the Vancouver Canucks shook up their front office. Whatever he had at Tampa Bay in 2003-2004 -- namely, that ever-elusive 'right mix' of players and breaks -- didn't accompany him to either the Rangers or the Canucks jobs. The latter was made official today, although the obituary was already written:
Meanwhile, Mike Keenan traveled halfway around the world to have a resurrection of sorts. He'd become a folk legend among Blueshirt faithful when he led the Rangers to an electrifying Cup experience in 1994, breaking a 54-year drought at the expense of none other than the Canucks, who would later hire and quickly fire him.
It took a while, but the master of mind-messing finally found a home. That it just happened to be in a country where leaders were expected to be obtuse is no surprise. The KHL and Keenan were made for each other, which has now been officially confirmed:
There may be mystery in Russia, but there isn't any when it comes to where they got the idea for the Gagarin Cup's design. There may not be any about why Keenan succeeded over there, either, and this clip may provide a clue:
He doesn't understand a word they're saying, and most likely, vice versa.
Torts might want to think about getting a visa.