Sunday, August 23, 2009

Keane on hockey: Former Canadiens captain is still playing in the pros at 42


Last Wednesday, the Manitoba Moose (AHL) announced the re-signing of their captain, Mike Keane, to a one-year contract.

Yes, the same Mike Keane who briefly held the captaincy of the Montreal Canadiens from April of 1995 (after Kirk Muller was traded) to December 1995 when he was traded, along with a guy named Patrick Roy, to the Colorado Avalanche.

Keane will be in his fifth season with the Moose. He signed with his hometown team, as a free agent, after the NHL lockout.

At the age of 42, Keane shows no signs of quitting the game of hockey.

In fact, Keane had his best offensive season with Manitoba in 2008-09 (28 points in 74 games, along with 11 points in 22 playoff games).

The Moose came up two games shy of winning a Calder Cup last season.

A veteran of just under 1400 NHL games (regular and post season), he is one of just five players in NHL history (nine in total) to win a Stanley Cup with three different teams (Montreal, Colorado and Dallas).


He talked to the Winnipeg Sun last week about the signing, the Calder Cup and the fact that retirement never crossed his mind.

"It would be crazy not to take advantage of this opportunity. A lot of players don't get a chance to play in front of their family and friends.

Hopefully, we can go as far as we can and continue on from the great run we had last year.

As soon as we lost last year, I took a week off and (retiring) didn't cross my mind.

Sometimes you have to lose to learn how to win.

We have a lot of guys coming back. We've got a real good foundation and we'll make sure we do everything we can to get back there.”

"We're going to have to throw his equipment in the river to get him to quit," Moose coach Scott Arniel joked in a telephone interview with the Sun.

"He came in handy when times were tough. We have him for that reason. He wants to come back and battle again and prove that he has lots left in the tank."

Despite only recording 470 points (160 goals) in the NHL, Keane is known for his aggressive play and his defensive, and penalty killing, abilities as a right winger.

mikekeane2 Keane in a scrap with Vancouver’s Scott Walker

His “no quit” attitude feeds his longevity.

ESPN’s Lindsay Berra had a great article, from three years back, entitled “The Man who Can’t Stop Skating” on his passion for the game.


Keane began his NHL career, with the Canadiens, after signing as an undrafted free agent in 1985.

In the 1988-89 season played in 69 games as a rookie and came close to winning a Stanley Cup. The Calgary Flames defeated Montreal in six games in the Final that season.

The 1992-93 season was Keane’s most productive offensively (60 points in 70 games, plus 29) in his NHL career.

In the same year, he also attained a career high in playoff points (15 in 19 games) and won his first Stanley Cup.


Mike Keane on the Patrick Roy trade (from the Winnipeg Sun)

Keane said no one around the club was surprised when the trade went down.

“It just escalated so fast, there wasn’t much anyone could do,” he recalled.

“During the game, we (players) were on the bench wondering what was going on, why is Patrick still in there, but there was nothing said. It just took a life of its own and everyone knew it was big.

“As for me, I wasn’t really shocked (about being a part of the deal). You could kind of see it coming. There were rumours and rumblings about me for a while.”

Keane laughed when asked if Roy apologized to him for the collateral damage inflicted from his last days in Montreal.

“No, but it’s funny, ” the 41-year-old began. “We were teammates in Montreal but we never became friends until we got traded. We bought houses beside each other in Denver.”

And won a Stanley Cup, too.


Other Mike Keane notes:

  • Was a member of the Canadian Junior team in 1987 which is infamous for the “Punchout at Piestany” during the gold medal game.
  • MileHighHockey ranks him as the 16th greatest Avs player of all time
  • Played with five NHL teams (Montreal, Colorado, New York, Dallas, St. Louis and Vancouver)
  • Played 506 regular season games for the Canadiens
  • Despite being an aggressive player (and not afraid to drop the gloves), he only logged 881 penalty minutes in his career.
  • Flew to Montreal, after a Moose game, to attend Patrick Roy’s jersey retirement at the Bell Centre.


keane042501 mikekeane

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