• PRINT
  • RSS

Panthers GM Keenan Knows Game 7s Too Well

Monday, 06.19.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Florida Panthers
X
Share with your Friends


Panthers GM Keenan Knows Game 7s Too Well

Brian Biggane/Palm Beach Post

Tonight will mark the third Game 7 in the past three Stanley Cup Finals, but it's still a rarity. It will be only the 14th Game 7 in a Final since the NHL went to the best-of-seven format in 1938.

Between 1972 to 2000, there were only two such games. Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan coached in both of them.

Keenan, who coached in four Stanley Cup Finals with Philadelphia, Chicago and the New York Rangers, came up a 3-1 loser with the Flyers against Edmonton in Game 7 in 1987, and a 3-2 winner with New York against Vancouver in 1994.

"What it showed me was how incredibly difficult it is to win a Stanley Cup," Keenan said Sunday as he looked ahead to tonight's Carolina-Edmonton showdown at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

"Going into a game like that, it's very exciting," he added. "The final game of an interesting journey."

Philadelphia had lost to Edmonton in five games in the 1985 Final, then lost goaltender Pelle Lindbergh in a fatal car crash that off-season. After missing the playoffs in 1986, they made it back against the same Oilers in 1987 with rookie Ron Hextall in net.

"We lost a number of players to injury. Tim Kerr, our leading scorer, was out, and Dave Poulin was playing with broken ribs, which shows it's a series of attrition. Edmonton had some guys out too, but all the Oilers' key guys were fine, and almost all of them - (Wayne) Gretzky, (Mark) Messier, (Glenn) Anderson, (Grant) Fuhr - were in their prime."

Keenan said he still recalls the feeling he had when he got on the plane back home after the 3-1 loss.

"It was just the feeling that these players had been cheated by not having the opportunity to play as a healthy group.".

Seven years later, Keenan would get another shot, this time with the Rangers. Like Carolina this year, New York would jump to a 3-1 lead and had the opportunity to close out the series at home in Game 5. Was Keenan as confident of a victory as the Hurricanes seemed to be last week?

"I wasn't, but our fans certainly were," he said. "What I remember is I was really nervous they were selling (championship) T-shirts on the street, just assuming we would win. They'd done the same thing years before in Edmonton, and I'd bought one and brought it into the locker room to use as motivation for our guys."

Anyone who has seen highlights of that 3-2 Rangers win will recall the joyful celebration at the final horn.

The victory made Keenan a celebrity in New York; even 12 years later, he still gets a hero's welcome on the streets whenever he returns.

"Nobody forgets championship teams, no matter what city you win them in," he said. "New York is certainly the ultimate in terms of exposure, but any city is that way. I won a (AHL) championship in Rochester and it's still that way for me there, too.

"Maybe I've got something special going in New York state, I don't know."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.