Mike Keenan Nearly Assaults KHL Referees (Video)

Photo: KHL Photo Agency

Mike Keenan is not an easy guy to deal with; everybody knows that.

During his 20-year-long NHL career, Iron Mike got into more than a few personal conflicts. Yet the Washington Capitals reportedly interviewed Keenan for the head coaching gig two years ago, and his name has been floated again this year.

After becoming head coach of Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, Keenan’s been mostly quiet. That is, until the final series against Lev Prague.

A few days after calling Lev’s Martin Sevc (to whom Keenan referred by number) “quite a slob,” Keenan expanded his hitlist to the refs. Following an overtime loss in game six, Keenan was barely held from jumping an official in the tunnel. He also delivered an animated speech to the rest of the officiating crew.

It is unclear what exactly infuriated Keenan. There was no doubt Lev’s game-winner was legal. Before going down the tunnel, Keenan and his assistant pointed to the other end of the ice (40 seconds into this video).

Most likely, Keenan was referring to a couple of borderline plays during Metallurg’s last rush that could have been called for holding, but maybe not in overtime of the sixth game of the finals.

We’ll see if KHL takes any action against Keenan. If there’s a suspension coming, Keenan will miss game seven, to be played on Wednesday.

  • 70Caps

    Do you have any better quality videos?
    Or any with sound?

  • Fedor

    There were no mics nearby, so sound doesn’t really help anyway.

  • Barrett

    So, what’s the problem? The guy obviously wants to win. He holds his players accountable. He might not be THE head coach to win a cup for Washington, but he certainly could steer them in the right direction. Enough of the soft “players coaches”. I want someone who will stick Ovechkin (or whoever) on the end of the bench for taking plays off. You’re either all in 100% while on the ice or you ride the pine. Just like Hunter did.

  • Fedor

    I don’t think “hysterical” and “conflicting” are the qualities I’d look for in a coach.

  • 70Caps

    Thanks, it does make it a little more exciting with the announcer, though. (Though I can tell its probably not live.)

  • Fedor

    It was live when the announcer was calling it.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Thanks for that clutch link Fedor

  • Barrett

    no, but “Stanley Cup winner”, “5th all-time in wins” and “11 straight playoff appearances with 4 teams in 12 years” sounds good to me.

  • Fedor

    I’d pick the coach who WILL win, not the one who HAS won something. Past isn’t a good predictor of future here, otherwise, it’d be same people winning year after year.

  • Barrett

    Of course, everyone would pick the coach who WILL win. The problem is nobody knows who that coach is, so you have to look at who has had success in the past. Keenan is one of those guys.

    It’s no different when selecting players in the NHL draft…or acquiring players in trades…or signing free agents. You don’t get players with no accomplishments…you go after guys with a history of winning.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yeah, just because the guy’s won a cup doesn’t make him some sort of untouchable golden child. He’s rumored to be nearly impossible to play for.

    Also, in the stats cited above, I think the part we’re missing is “4 teams in 12 years.” NHL coaches don’t have the longest shelf-life in the world, but once every three years for twelve years running is pretty rapid-fire.

  • Fedor

    So I guess Jarome Iginla with his 16-year-long history of losing should be unemployed in favour of somebody who has won the Cup some time in the past?

  • Barrett

    Jarome Iginla has a long history of winning and long list of accomplishments.

  • Barrett

    Because three head coaches in three years is better?

  • Fedor

    Any coach who is even considered for an NHL job has a long list of accomplishments, you don’t make it that far otherwise.

  • Fedor

    If he was a player (especially European player), he would’ve been considered a “headcase” and “locker room cancer” and nobody would ever think about giving him another shot. Not that anybody does now…

  • Graham Dumas

    Definitely not! I’m saying they’re both awful. I’m just thinking that, if Keenan’s not going to last long in DC (which the numbers say he won’t), then it’ll be four coaches in four years (or five). Bad all around.

    We need someone solid who can last at least a few years and establish a proper system.

  • Graham Dumas

    I’d like to hear what Keenan said in English when he was quoted as describing the guy from Lev as a хам. (I’m, uhhh, gonna go out on a limb here and guess he wasn’t speaking Russian.)

  • Fedor

    Me too, but I guess we’ll never know.

  • Graham Dumas

    Perhaps he’s learned a different Russian word of the same length and starting with the same letter… #ExpandedCulturalHorizons

  • Sarah

    What do you mean, the past doesn’t predict the future? ;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6YDrvquvd0

    Go to 1:05, although the rest of it is pretty funny too.

  • johnnymorte

    Keenan is a proven winner, he is 4th all time in playoff wins, only to Bowman, Al Arbour and Dick Irvin. To me, the fact that he takes over a team in a foreign country and takes them to the finals is a confirmation of his ability. He took the NYR to a Stanley Cup championship after a 54 year drought. A bonus is he loves coaching the skilled russian players like Pavel Bure and he had great success in getting Alex Kovalev’s best game during the playoffs. I would have no problem if Iron Mike took over in Washington.

  • Fedor

    Mark French took a team in a foreign country with 5.5 times lesser budget and made the playoffs as 5th seed.

  • j

    There’s a great piece about Keenan coaching in the KHL on Grantland from about a month ago. A good read especially for the russians and russia enthusiasts on this site.

  • Fedor

    I think it’d be a lot more helpful for the Russia-haters.

  • roaringlions

    no he was speaking English for sure– and he was cussing out the refs all the way across the ice–the guy is a bastard any team so desperate to want him, deserves him.

    His rant against Sevc was repeated 2x in press room and considering the crap that he has gotten away, he doesn’t have much room to rant on about sportsmanship. In his book anything goes and a whistle should only be blown if skater never gets off the ice again. I’ve shot enough photos of skaters getting slashed across the face intentionally and the sh-t he actively promotes.

    Holding down a skater with three men and beating him is not exactly great sportsmanship, or head hunting and targeting the back of skater’s head. But in tKeenan’s book anything goes, so long as you deliberately injure the skaters of the opposite team and continue skating when men are injured on the ice. He’s “won” at least two games this way, by targeting players from behind and leaving them on ice so doctor had to be called. While Lev is united team, they stop skating while their man is on the ice calling for help, but MM continues skating when play should be stopped and gets their goal in this manner.

    Sevc was hit from behind into the boards in Lev first game with Metallurg and left on ice in closing minutes. Entire Lev team stopped and doctor had to be assisted across the ice, but Metallurg “scored a goal” during that time. Now Lev just sends their doctor out because skaters are more important than dirty goals.

    If this is your way of winning game, you deserve this kind of bastard. You want this kind of legal liability in Canada and US, go for it.

    Sevc is definitely one of the funniest persons I’ve ever met and there is not a “dirty player” on Lev. Kari Jalonen has little toleration for it Lev is high skills team which Metallurg doesn’t match. To win Metallurg has to engage in slew-footing, blind hits, head-hunting, spearing, slashing, etc. .Maybe you’re watching the wrong coach and wrong club because Kari is the Head Coach of the National Team of Finland.

    Moreoever, Lev has 5 outstanding Canadian skaters: Justin Azevedo, Nathan Oystrick, MarcAndre Gragnani, Ryan O’Byrne and Spencer Humphries. Petri Vehanen, our goalie has both a WC Gold and Gagarin Cup.

    Maybe you’re just looking at wrong team for wrong reasons.

    LevPraha

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/team.php?team=12454

  • Graham Dumas

    Seriously, f@#$% that guy (Keenan). Thanks for the background info!

  • roaringlions

    yes, really, but there’s nothing but hype regarding Keenan across blogs w/o ever finding out abt the other side or real crap that goes on.- no the rant was in English- prat of it is on tumblr and Sevc is from Kladno, you know jagr, Voracek, Frolik Kaberle bros, Pavelec, Plekanec, Sekac, Ton, Tenkrat all come from this place– Even Dave King praised lev on sportsmanship, integrity, self-possession and discipline.

  • roaringlions

    it was live–video is just as it happened, but O2 arena is vey big and at other end of ice was entire team of Lev exploding in celebration-so which do you think gets cameras. Also, to shoot toward that entrance is quite difficult becaue you hve to be near penalty box–and actually I was only over there. you have to have special accreditation and apparently MK didn’t like a photographer near the penalty box shooting his players and watching him throughout game. So game before, I got hassled and threatened by security, but security person didn’t know who pr mgr was and wouldn’t acknowledge my dogtag although to get to ice i had to go through 3-4 others. So I assume MK just didn’t like me there shooting his ugly face as was only place possible to shoot him face on. to shoot across the arena to that door/ entrance you need at least a 400 lens. If upstairs maybe a 600 lens– those are pricey lenses. mine is 500, but still very difficult to shoot.

    the rant afterwards in pr was basically a threat to lev… if any lev skater or admin/ mgmt acted in that manner- it would be completely different story. everybody waits for Jolerit… behind me big FIN group, big German group–everybody sees and knows Russia Must Win