Sports Outside the Beltway

Calgary Coach Mike Keenan returns to Florida

The former Panther coach and GM makes his first appearance in Florida since quitting the organization. From the Palm Beach Post-

CORAL SPRINGS — When he was hired to coach the Panthers in May 2004, Jacques Martin stipulated that Mike Keenan come along as general manager. So some might consider it odd that the two haven’t spoken in the 15 months since Keenan left the organization.

Not Keenan.

“I just haven’t run into him,” Keenan said Monday after putting his Calgary Flames through a workout in preparation for tonight’s game against the Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center. “He coaches and manages the Panthers, and I coach the Flames.”

Tonight’s game marks Keenan’s first return in a professional capacity since the end of his two go-rounds with the Panthers, as coach (2001-03) and general manager (2004-06). Neither stint resulted in a playoff appearance.

Florida captain Olli Jokinen, who gives Keenan much of the credit for his matriculation from a 29-point scorer in 2001-02 to the star performer who has netted 89 and 91 points the past two seasons, said he won’t be surprised if Keenan is booed.

“That’s how the fans think,” Jokinen said. “But there’s been so many coaches and GMs – if you think that way you probably have to boo every team, because there’s so many people around the league who have worked here.”

If Keenan deserves to be booed, its for the horrific Roberto Luongo trade he made two months before leaving Florida. Other than that, it is just another game for Florida.

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