Calgary Flames fire coach Keenan

The Calgary Flames have fired head coach Mike Keenan, the team announced on Friday.

The Calgary Flames have fired head coach Mike Keenan, the team announced on Friday.

The fiery coach spent two seasons behind the Flames bench, and went 88-60-16 in that span.

"Our team did not meet expectations," said Flames general manager Darryl Sutter in a release.

"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."

Calgary exited the playoffs early in both years that Keenan, 59, was behind the bench, falling in the opening round each time.

The Flames lost to San Jose in seven games during the first round of the 2007-08 campaign, and bowed out in six versus Chicago in this year's opening round of the post-season.

They were the big spender at the trade deadline this season, acquiring Olli Jokinen in the blockbuster of the day, and had a successful regular season campaign. The Flames had a 13-point cushion atop the Northwest Division in January, but saw that erode thanks to spotty play and key injuries. It cost Calgary home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, as the Flames ended up in fifth spot in the West at the end of the season.

"The Calgary Flames organization appreciates and respects Mike for accepting the opportunity to come to Calgary and are thankful for his efforts over the past two years," Sutter added.

Keenan had one year left on his contract, and following the playoff loss to Chicago he thought he would be back to finish his deal.

"I have another year left on my contract," he said. "My expectation is to be here to fulfil my contract."

He's coached eight different NHL squads in 20 seasons (Philadelphia, Chicago, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston and Florida are the others). Keenan's 672 victories rank fourth on the career coaching list.   

His best year as a coach came in 1994, when he won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers.

Keenan replaced Jim Playfair behind the Flames' bench in June 2007. Playfair stayed with the team, acting as one of Keenan's assistants for the past two seasons. His status, along with that of assistants Rich Preston, Rob Cookson, and goalie coach David Marcoux, remains under review, the team said.

Sutter will speak about the firing at a press conference Tuesday.


With files from The Canadian Press