1) The word of of Alberta is that the inevitable trouble that almost everyone foresaw occurring with 'Iron Mike' Keenan has started even earlier than most expected. We at FAUXRUMORS figured that the oft traveled coach would last at last this one season before wearing out his welcome with his players and management.
2) Evidently things started off on the wrong foot and has gone down hill since. Mike is the consummate detail guy. In the past he has used a players 'issues' against him to try to ostensibly motivate the player to play at his peak. To do this he goes out of his way to learn all about his team. Things that perhaps most would assume is beyond what a head coach's purview should be. There have also been rumblings that he has shown more than tacit anti-Frano-phone bias toward his French speaking players.
3) From what we have been told here are the players which 'Iron' Mike has already had 'isssues with.
- Alex Tanguay- Despite having a decent start to his season Keenan has been over heard chastising the Ste-Justine, Quebec native for not shooting enough. That may be a legit issue, but the manner in which it was addressed appears to be the problem. We're told that a not so subtle anti-French slur was used(and it appears it wasn't the first time!) Alex was aware of Keenan's past but never expected he would be a target of such bigotry at this level.
- Miikka Kiprusoff - Traditionally Mike has had a love-hate relationship with his tenders. Always quick with the hook. Usually pissing them off(Ask Ed Belfour, who almost punched Mike's lights out for that!) The word is that Mike tried to initially be nice-nice to the Finn superstar, but soon Mike reverted to his old ways and already the two barely speak.
- Jarome Iginla: While one would assume Jarome would be a prototypical 'Keenan player'; tough as nails, with scoring punch, apparently things have not been hunky dory from the get-go. No specific cause is known. There have been whispers that Mike isn't all that keen on the background of his team's captain, but we have not heard that keenan, like in the Tanguay case, has used any racially charged verbiage at Iginla. You can be sure if that was ever over heard/proven Mike's days in the NHL would be over!
- Dion Phaneuf: Another head scratcher on first glance. Dion, like Iginla plays 'Keenan hockey' However, it appears that its not so much what Dion has done ON the ice that has disturbed the Flames head coach, but what he apparently uncovered about Dion's private life is what alarmed him. We have no independent confirmation of what this issue may be(we have been told off the record, but until we get another source we won't engage in hear-say) Regardless, it has significantly strained the relationship between the coach and his young star defender. Keenan refuses to be seen with him alone, and instead has his asst coaches relay instructions
4) We hear that the team's GM, Daryl Sutter is aware of these issues, and has been approached by at least one player complaining abut the coach's antics. However, unless:
- The team takes a significant downward spiral in the standings(they are currently ranked 6th in the West Conference)
- Some of the more scurilous rumors come out into the mainstream press, don't expect the team to relieve Keenan of his duties.
5) We will stay a-top of this and any other issues as we hear more news from Alberta. As always, keep it hear for all the latest!