Getty ImagesIt wasn’t a surprise when Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League hired a former NHL coach this season, having previously employed former Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice.
But it was surprising their new North American-born coach was “Iron” Mike Keenan, a legendary name in the NHL whose infamous temperament (and history with European-born players) could make for some exciting times in Russia.
Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport spoke with Keenan recently about why he made the move to the KHL, Ilya Kovalchuk’s move there, Crosby vs. Ovechkin vs. Datsuyk, how he’ll treat KHL goalies, the 1987 Canada Cup and some of his more notorious moments as a coach. Enjoy …
Q. Name three reasons why you decided to work in the KHL.
KEENAN: “The first reason is that I wanted to start coaching again. I was doing TV since I left Calgary with the exception of getting involved with Team Canada in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. I was the head coach and Mike Pelino was the assistant. We had to tell them we’d help them other coaches, because we were going to leave and come here. And Guy Carbonneau and Wayne Primeau ended up coaching them. And then last winter I did a program for CBC with children across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver. I was on the ice 11 hours every week teaching young people. That inspired me to start thinking about coaching again. And the third reason was that Magnitogorsk wanted me and pursued me for quite some time, and convinced me to come and coach in the KHL. And I like to teach. I am a former teacher. Magnitogorsk provided an opportunity.”Read More »from Mike Keenan on coaching in KHL, Pavel Bure feud and Canada Cup (Interview)