Mike Keenan


One of Keenan's assistant's is former Rangers assistant Mike Pelino.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter


The deal is for two years.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

At the beginning of the month we re-blogged a post from our ugly sibling site, SNY Rangers Blog, about Denis Potvin receiving an offer to play for the Rangers in the '93-'94 season. As Adam Rotter mentioned, the offer was noted in the New York Times back in March of '94 and this week, the Times' Jeff Klein caught up with the Islander Great to elaborate a bit more on the subject.

?In ?94 [NYR Coach Mike Keenan] figured he had a championship team he was putting together, and he needed a real quarterback for the power play,? Potvin said. ?Brian Leetch was there, but he asked if I would be interested in coming back.?

Tags: denis potvin, History, Islanders, mike keenan, new york times, News
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At ESPN NY, Katie Strang spoke with former Rangers coach and current MSG analyst Mike Keenan.

He says that he didn't want to get out of coaching when he was fired by the Flames, and that he is surprised that at how many young coaches are being brought in

"I think I could help a team with my experience," Keenan said. "I was surprised some teams hired coaches that had absolutely no experience. That's making it very difficult on that coach, I believe. I think you need experienced guys."
Keenan, 62, last coached in 2009. He had a three year break between being fired by the Panthers and then hired by the Flames.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter
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At Rangers Report, Carp mentions that today is the 17th anniversary of Mike Keenan announcing that he would leave the Rangers due to a breach of contract.

The Rangers were "late" in delivering a bonus check to Keenan and he went to coach to the St. Louis Blues.

The Rangers were awarded Petr Nedved as compensation in a trade with St. Louis for Esa Tikkanen.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Rangers, Adam Rotter
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  • John Tortorella says that the most important thing is to go day by day and not look ahead. You can't be "too tall" after a win.
  • Tortorella says that it was good for the team to spend time together out west. They had dinner at Glen Sather's house in California during the trip.
  • He called San Jose the best team they had played all season.
  • Keenan and Tortorella both say that the team "exhaled" when they played Anaheim after golfing.
  • Tortorella says that the league needs to be careful about changing the game. He calls some of the concussion stuff "media driven."
  • Michael Sauer is called a "top four" defenseman by Tortorella.
  • Tortorella calls Sauer a "big plus" and talks about the process he went through within the organization. Sauer reads the ice well in the offensive zone.
  • Mats Zuccarello was mic'd during a practice. He says he isn't a morning person. Zuccarello LOVES scoring on Henrik Lundqvist in practice.
  • Tortorella says that Zucc has a great personality and that he handles himself very well. "He doesn't take any crap from anybody." Tortorella calls him a "wiseass."
  • The players broke down the tape from Anaheim without the coaches and then the players and coaches compared notes on the game. Tortorella liked what he saw from the players in doing that.
  • When asked if you can take a good penalty, Tortorella says yes and that if a teammate is being harassed, you need to step in and take the penalty. Those penalties are killed off though.
  • Tortorella says he doesn't relax much during the season. He says that he loves seeing the Broadway shows. He liked the Lion King, Jersey Boys and Million Dollar Quartet. He loves musicals and says he gets lost in the music and hates when they end because then he starts thinking about hockey again.
  • The trainers and coaches decide when a player listed as day to day will play.
  • The use of "upper" and "lower" body injuries come because coaches don't want players to be put in vulnerable situations
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella says that the team needs to embrace the challenge that lies ahead of them with the battle for the playoffs.
  • In the long term, Tortorella says, it's a great opportunity for the team to grow.
  • He says that the team wants to make the playoffs, but that this season has seen a lot of growth for the organization and it's players. "We are on the right road." Tortorella again spoke of the need to go through the process to get where the team wants to be.
  • On Bryan McCabe, Tortorella says that he was brought in to add some leadership to the defense and because of his shot from the point. He hopes that McCabe's shooting is "contagious."
  • The trade for McCabe allows Michael Del Zotto to play in the minors and develop the right way. (NOTE: Not sure if this was filmed before Del Zotto was injured)
  • Mike Keenan says that McCabe "cares" and that is extremely important qulaity for a player to have.
  • Tortorella said that Martin Biron probably would have had two or three more starts down the stretch and the plan was for him to get around 17-20 games this season. He isn't sure he can use Chad Johnson down the stretch, but it's Henrik Lundqvist's team.
  • Mats Zuccarello was profiled and talked about playing two-way hockey and that creating is the more important thing. Tortorella says that Zucc "creates offense," and called him one of their most "creative forwards." Tortorella labled him a great surprise and that he went to the minors with the right attitude earlier in the season.
  • Derek Stepan was mic'd at practice and seemed like he was having a blast.
  • Tortorella says that Stepan "gets it mentally" and that he is having fun. He doesn't let the highs or lows get to him.
  • Jokingly, Tortorella says that he would like to see some legislation against teams that use the "trap." Tortorella and Keenan both said they wouldn't have taken the red line out. Tortorella says that some players like? the trap because it limits skating and Keenan says that both Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky didn't want to play the trap.
  • Asked if he gets nervous before games, Tortorella says he feel anxious before the game. Keenan called being nervous before a game, "getting ready."
  • Tortorella says that any team in the East can be beaten and that it's about how you are playing at that time in the playoffs. You ride the momentum.
  • Tortorella calls coaching the greatest and the lousiest job in the world. Says he loves the highs and lows and dealing with them as the best part of coaching.
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

Note: This Episode Is From February 22nd
  • John Tortorella says that the team wasn't playing badly during their 0-5-1 stretch and that they were trying to stay positive.
  • Tortorella says that the team is trying bad angle shots because it's tough to make plays in the middle of the ice. They want the defense more involved in the rush.
  • Mike Keenan talks about having a structure on both offense and defense to put players in the best position to succeed.
  • Tortorella talks of simplifying things on the powerplay and putting people in front of the net to create more offense.
  • He says that practicing the poweprlay can hurt it because it could sap it of creativity and make it to rigid.
  • Tortorella says that the Trevor Gillies incident with the Penguins "wasn't hockey." He thinks that fighting needs to stay in the game and brings up the issue of players not respecting each other.
  • The coach is responsible for what the mindset of the team is.
  • Tortorella talks about Dan Girardi's worth ethic and how it has brought him to the NHL level. Tortorella called him a "top four defenseman" in the National Hockey League.
  • They show John Tortorella working with kids at a Garden of Dreams function from earlier in the month.
  • Tortorella says that a big part of creating offense is involving the defensemen. Once they are out of the defensive zone, the defenseman are free to join the rush.
  • While saying that it is risky, Tortorella says that Henrik Lundqvist is paid a lot of money to make saves if there is an odd-man rush because of defenseman joining the play.
  • Asked what characteristic he likes to see in a player, Tortorella says that he wants a guy who wants to make a difference on the ice. He doesn't like indecisiveness.
  • Tortorella says that he picks out the suits he wears, but his wife does all the shopping.
  • Asked about timeouts, Tortorella says that he uses his stomach when deciding when to call a timeout. He says that the players know what is going on and that sometimes they just need to take a deep breath and look at the game.
  • Keenan says that he used timeouts instinctively and that he would cheat the system to get more time for his players to rest.
  • Tortorella says that players won't listen to coaches if they are on them all the times. Coaches need to be selective when they approach players and that the team needs to sustain itself in the locker room.
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella says that the rest Ryan Callahan had because of his injury will be a big help down the stretch.
  • He says that the returning players need to come into the lineup and play the way the team has played this season.
  • Torts says that he has a bunch of different lineups and that if someone is scratched it's because it will be the best for the team.
  • He says that he will go about taking players out of the lineup in an honest fashion and make the best choices for the hockey team.
  • Ryan Callahan's injury worried Torts more than the Marian Gaborik injury did. He gives credit to Ken Gernander for how the players on the Whale have stepped up when called upon.
  • Tortorella laughs and says that he watches the Knicks and has gotten to know Mike D'Antoni well. He doesn't know what kind of player Carmelo Anthony is though.
  • Torts says that the Rangers aren't where they want to be in regards to competing for the Stanley Cup. He emphasizes that they are building a team to compete. They still have ways to go get to that level and when they get there they could be contending for a while.
  • Keenan says not to discount anything when you make the playoffs because they could develop a confidence to win games and go far.
  • Derek Stepan says he is competing hard and playing with an edge. It's all about having the right mindset.
  • He says it's about handling the dips in confidence that make you a better player.
  • Torts says with a smile that Stepan is still growing as a player. After his dip in play Tortorella said that he is continuing to grow as a player offensively and defensively. He says that Stepan respects the game, is intelligent and knows the history of hockey.
  • When he was with Tampa Bay, Torts says that he went along with the same track but that his team had no idea what they were doing when they won the Stanley Cup.
  • Teaching is the part that Torts likes the most of coaching.
  • It's not X's and O's it's situations and intangibles that need to be taught.
  • Marc Staal was mic'd during practice. He says that after a day off you want a good skate to get your legs going.
  • Torts says that he uses practice to test new line combinations. He says that you don't get a lot of information during practice but you can get an idea of how players will play together.
  • He says that it's hard to get three players to work well together but cites Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust as two players who are great together.
  • Torts breaks down Carolina game tape in the video session part of the show.
  • He says that he doesn't sleep much during the season and that even at home he is replaying the game. He needs to know how to address the team the right way the next morning at practice.
  • Keenan says that you need to get better every day.
  • Torts says that you need to coach the way you coach and not to coach to keep your job. If higher ups don't like it, you get fired.
  • Asked how it felt to hoist the Stanley Cup, Torts says that the best part was the process it took to get there. He says he doesn't even remember actually holding the cup at the time. Keenan says that he remembers lifting the cup for the first time when Mark Messier handed it to him.
  • Asked why he hates shootouts, Torts says that when you play 65 minutes as a team you need to finish the game as a team, not as individuals. Torts says that he likes the idea of 4 on 4 to 3 on 3.
  • Torts says that he doesn't grade his players but that he sits down with management a few times a season to talk about players. He likes to use that time with video and teaching his players.
  • Keenan graded his players every day with numbers. He graded them on a scale of 0,1,2
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella says that the Rangers have handled the close games very well due to the innocence of the young team, they keep trying and working. The experience in finding ways to win is going to help later in the season and in the playoffs.
  • In talking about the close games Torts says that they don't blow up, they don't break away, they just keep going with the team concept.
  • Mike Keenan is wearing a jacket and tie with jeans and says that it's a playoff game every night at this point in the season.
  • Torts says that he couldn't be prouder with the organization and how things are going with the kids.
  • He calls Henrik Lundqvist is the backbone of the club and his intensity filters through the team.
  • Torts called Marc Staal an all star and said that Derek Stepan respects the game. Lundqvist, Staal and Stepan are all a big part of where the team is going to go.
  • Staal is really taking the initiative with joining the rush this season.
  • The all-star break doesn't concern John Tortorella. He says the teams conditioning is at a very high level and that league wide it will be a sloppy first game back.
  • Vinny Prospal is a key part of the powerplay
  • Tortorella called Michal Rozsival a good player and his competitiveness grew since Tortorella started coaching the team. Says he is a 22 minute a night NHL defenseman
Click here, here, here and here to see recaps from the other episodes.

  • In regards to Wojtek Wolski, Torts says that he will be broken into the Rangers system. Given bits of it piece by piece.
  • Torts says that he can't say Wolski's name. Says he missed a shift because he forget his name. Calls him Wooly instead.
  • Practice is everything about the Rangers game according to Tortorella. Players need to understand that practice needs to be sharp and quick and that if you cheat in practice it will show up in the games.
  • The team is very detailed oriented.
  • Matt Gilroy says that defense is still new to him but he kept working to get back into the lineup.
  • Torts says that Gilroy is more fluid now, looking to make plays.
  • Gilroy says that you can't take an easy breath because it could be your last.
  • Torts says that the team doesn't have a playbook, but instead a team concept. He calls hockey an instinctive game and that you need a foundation to prepare for situations. If you are thinking to much you will be an awful player.
  • Keenan said he once had a playbook when he was coaching St. Louis and it was taken by a hotel maid and it ended up in the newspaper.
  • Asked if he ever second guesses himself, Torts says that it isn't second guessing as much as it is self evaluating
  • Keenan says you can't second guess yourself.
  • During intermission Tortorella says that he is correcting and/or reinforcing the team concept. Its about trying to be better for the next period.
  • He doesn't go into the locker room after games because it's an emotional situation and you don't want to damage anything. Win or lose he waits until the next day to address the team.
  • Tortorella didn't like the camera's in the locker room during the intermission on 24/7. Says that should stay within the team.
  • Torts says that he doesn't have any superstitions
Tags: 24/7, Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • At the halfway point, John Tortorella says that the Rangers have found their way and their identity. Says that they need to be harder and they will get back to playing that way.
  • He is concerned that the second half will be tough and that the Rangers need to raise their game for it.
  • Torts says that the Rangers are missing Erik Christensen.
  • Tortorella says it's about finding a way to win with all the injuries that the team has suffered.
  • On Michael Del Zotto, Torts says, it wasn't a difficult decision and it's the best thing for Michael and the hockey team. Says it's about developing people and that down the line in his career, Del Zotto will look back on this and say it was for the best.
  • Sergei Zubov was sent to the minors and Mike Keenan says it was the best thing that ever happened to Zubov.
  • Tortorella again says that Del Zotto is a big part of the core and will be there when the team gets to where it wants to be.
  • Torts says that the Rangers still have to focus on practice or they "will be done." Says they are ready to practice everyday.
  • Brandon Dubinsky is growing up according to Tortorella andthe most important thing Dubi has done is keep himself in mental check. When he had a good game he would get too big and after a bad game he would get too low. Now he is finding the right balance. Still has a lot of improvement ahead of him.
  • Torts breaks down two of the Rangers powerplay breakouts
  • The team needs to score more situational goals on the powerplay. Says Marian Gaborik's confidence is coming back but the team needs him to be "the guy" again
  • Bill Pidto asks about how a player such as Marian Gaborik, with all the talent that he has, can lose his confidence. Tortorella says that players get down when they aren't contributing but that they need to work within the team system to regain their confidence.
  • Asked why he changes the lines so much, Torts says that when things are stale you need to make a change. Says injuries are the reason he has changed the lines this season. but overall he is comfortable with the team. Says he relies on his gut and when he thinks there is a change to be made, he makes it.
  • Keenan talks of benching Glen Anderson so that Alex Kovalev could double shift and change Game Six against the Devils in 1994.
  • Torts thinks there should be a mutual respect between the referees and the coaches but there is some gamesmanship between the coaches.
  • "Blocking shots you are going to get hurt"
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella talks about riding the peaks when you are winning and pounding on the team concept to keep it up.
  • Torts says he is constantly thinking about the game, but that the players need to get away from it sometimes
  • Tortorella puts it bluntly "you don't want to lose."
  • The Rangers get the most days off in the league Tortorella thinks. The players need a mental break more than a physical one
  • The whole team has combined for leadership and the young players have shown their leadership through their play.
  • Torts likes this hockey club because of the young foundation.
  • Brian Boyle was had a microphone on him at practice, he talks....a lot.
  • Torts says that the Rangers overcoach during practice. Says the players need to know why they are doing the drill.
  • Practice is 45-50 minutes TOPS with the conditioning element inside the practice and not at the end, which Torts says the players like.
  • Michael Del Zotto was profiled and Tortorella says that he needs to use his abilities and let the game come to him
  • Torts says he is coming a long and has a lot to learn. He is a "HUGE" part of the core. Torts doesn't want Del Zotto, or the other young players, to be stupid away from the ice, he wants them to have fun, but not to be stupid.
...I think this was the best episode to date and I really hope that they continue to do the show. It was interesting to hear about practice and nearly everything Torts says is about the foundation and/or the core of the team. It is the big picture element that I love about Torts. It isn't about winning this year, it's about trying to win but making yourself a better team so that you can always be competing.

  • In the Film Room, Torts talks about the defensive zone.
  • Tortorella doesn't like the idea of a coaches challenge. For shootouts, he would rather pick one player at time rather than three.
  • Keenan would like the coaches challenge to make a play right if it was made wrong.
  • Tortorella says that plenty of players don't listen to the coach. He says that the coach is there to help make a player better. Torts likes conflict because it shows honesty.
  • The coaches need to listen as well to the players because they see the game differently. Keenan learned about winning from Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier because of how they saw the game.
  • The best advice Torts says he received was that you need to be true to yourself. You can't coach to make everyone happy.
  • On Sean Avery, Torts says that his role hasn't changed, he needs to play with an edge but keep his discipline. Sean needs to believe that he is a good player. Keenan talks about Esa Tikkanen as someone to compare to Avery.
  • Gabby needs to be "one hell of a player" all the time Tortorella said.
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella, Mike Keenan and Bill Pidto have moved to a set on the ice at the Rangers practice facility. Pidto is no longer wearing jeans.
  • For the film sessions that Tortorella conducts, he does them in one take. This impresses Pidto immensely.
  • Torts says that he thinks he could host the show
  • When talking about Marian Gaborik Torts talks about how he "gets it." Says that Gabby needs to get into a groove and that he will find his game. Says that Gabby wants to be pushed to make the team better.
  • Keenan says that you need to know which buttons to press when it comes to star players.
  • Tortorella thinks that Erik Christensen can be the guy to center Gaborik. Artem Anisimov dropped off and will go through some down times, but is a very important guy down the middle.
  • Keenan says you need to read and react when it comes to changing lines and finding chemistry.
  • They both agree in saying that you can't be vanilla and think that things will fall into place and that sometimes changes are needed to get the teams going.
  • Marty Biron was mic'd for a practice. Says that he takes practice as seriously as he would a game.
  • He talks to Benoit Allaire in French. He is very supportive of his teammates during drills.
  • Tortorella leaves the goalies alone unless he is going to pull them.
Click here for an Episode One recap.

  • Torts says that the type of jump that Brian Boyle made isn't seen much at the NHL level. He had a mindset to play with the Rangers. Torts says that Boyle was penciled in to play in Hartford before training camp.
  • Players need to believe in themselves to reach their potential. Keenan talks about Chris Pronger "figuring it out" in a playoff series and taking off as a player.
  • Torts does a film breakdown of locking down the neutral zone. Calls it the most important zone in hockey.
  • On film sessions, Torts says that the Rangers spend the most time looking at their execution of plays. He also says that the Rangers watch between 35-45 clips per film session.
  • Torts says that if a coach goes about his job "to be liked" he won't last long. "Conflict is healthy and when you work through it as men, you become closer."
  • Torts calls coaches, "guidance counselors." They need to guide players down the right paths.
  • Fighting should be in the game and is needed to have the players police themselves. It brings a respect and honesty to the game Tortorella says.
  • Torts does say though, that fights after clean hits need to be stopped
  • Keenan talks about players needing to be ready when the game starts and if they aren't, they get switched around.
  • When it comes to star players wanting to play or being double shifted, both agree that the player in question needs to produce something on the ice to warrant the playing time. They both say that they can feel the eyes of a star player on them who wants to be on the ice. Keenan talks of seeing Mark Messier with basically one leg over the boards ready to jump on.
  • Torts says that he doesn't want to over coach Sean Avery. He tries to let Avery play his game, do his thing and lets him sit at the far end of the bench.
Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

  • John Tortorella said he respected Mike Keenan as he was a coach coming through the ranks.
  • Torts is wearing his coaching jumpsuit. Bill Pidto and Keenan are wearing jeans.
  • Tortorella says that the team needs to be built with "our kids."
  • Torts says that the team doesn't talk about the injuries they have suffered. He adds that the injuries are great opportunities for kids like Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan
  • Tortorella says that he hates pulling a goalie. Says that Henrik Lundqvist "hates" him because Hank wants to play every night
  • Just like when he was coaching in Tampa Bay, Tortorella says that Ruslan Fedotenko falls down five times a practice and five times during a game
  • Mike Sullivan runs the Rangers powerplay, Jim Schoenfeld runs the penalty kill and Torts does all five on five but they all work together on everything.
  • Defense is the hardest position to play on the ice according to Tortorella. He feels that goaltending is the most important though.
  • On his preparation and philosophy, Tortorella says that they spend the first half of the season teaching the team concept. He also says that he spends three and a half hours breaking down game tape and cutting clips to show the team what they did well and what they can improve on.
  • During the season, Torts says he lives under a rock and is only focused on the team. He goes to the practice facility and MSG and that is it
  • Keenan said that he enjoyed coaching in New York and respected the knowledge of the fans
  • Torts says that there has been a lack of respect among the players lately as players still take liberties against players in bad situations
  • There needs to be more honesty in the game and the game needs to return to the players
  • If the players police themselves, hits to the heads could go away according to Tortorella
...I enjoyed this show and I think it showed a really nice side of Tortorella. He was laughing and while he probably would rather have not done the show, he took it in stride and seemed to have a nice time. I couldn't really tell though if he and Mike Keenan like each other. There is mutual respect and that was clear, but just because you respect someone doesn't mean that you like them.

I hope they do it again but engage Mike Keenan in a different way.

Tags: Behind The Bench, John Tortorella, Mike Keenan, Adam Rotter

According to Mark Everson of the NY Post, former Rangers coach Mike Keenan is interested in the Devils open head coaching position.

"I'm interested in coaching, not just any possible job, but with somebody like Lou [Lamoriello], who has a lot of experience and continues to formulate strong teams, probably the best in the game, well . . ." Keenan said yesterday.
Keenan last coached in Calgary in 2008-09 before being fired. His career record as a coach is 672-531-147-36.

He has coached in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston, Florida and Calgary. Keenan coached the Rangers to the 1994 Stanley Cup.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Rangers, Adam Rotter
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Just spoke to someone from MSG and they confirmed that former Ranger coach, and obviously the coach of the 94 team, Mike Keenan will be joining MSG Network as as pre/post analyst.

Brian Leetch and Mike Richter will be in studio for select home games as well.

Monzo: I am impartial to this -- but I love the fact that Keenan coached several teams and he chooses a team he coached one year, won a Cup, to become an analyst with.? I am a little shocked Neil Smith hasn't gotten a chance.? However you can catch Smith on SNY for any major NHL news story and on my video blogs right here on SNYRangersblog throughout the season.

Tags: Mike Keenan, Rangers

Only a month after leading the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup Championship in 54 years, Rangers coach Mike Keenan quit claiming that the Rangers breached his contract.

From the New York Times

"I'm here to announce that I am no longer coach of the New York Rangers," he said, adding that he had not resigned but rather had become "a free agent" because of the breaching of his five-year contract.

"The New York Rangers did not fulfill their contractual obligations," he said, "and as a result of that breach I'm no longer employed by the New York Rangers."

Tags: Mike Keenan, Rangers, Adam Rotter
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Yesterday the Calgary Flames fired former Rangers head coach Mike Keenan as head coach.

Keenan coached the Flames for two seasons racking up a record of 88-60-16 and making the playoffs in both seasons. The Flames though were eliminated in the first round both times.

"Our team did not meet expectations,? Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter said in a statement. ''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 was the 8th team that Keenan has coached. Keenan, of course, coached the 1994 New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup.
Tags: Mike Keenan, Rangers, Adam Rotter