Agree or disagree with the current wave of change cresting in the NHL these days, it’s clear that things are not what they used to be.
More and more former players are coming forward with allegations of emotional and physical abuse, a trend that began when a report emerged about Mike Babcock’s treatment of then-rookie Mitch Marner. Bill Peters, of course, came next and now the Chicago Blackhawks are investigating allegations against assistant coach Marc Crawford.
Well… you just knew this was coming… Mike Keenan is on the hot seat now.
In a report from Swedish language media outlet ExpressenSport, former NHLer Kristian Huselius shares stories from what he calls a “horror show” during his time playing under Keenan with the Florida Panthers.
Check out some of these quotes from Keenan, translated from ExpressenSport’s article:
It was very special when I had him as a coach, he already came during my rookie season. He was the old school you could say. And he didn’t think I could play in the league because I was too thin. He said it to everyone many times that it would be better if I went home, says Huselius.
*Was it tough for you to receive when you were so young?*Yes, it was, but you didn’t really know what to expect. Most of the others he left in peace, but as I was European and young, it made a difference. I specifically remember an occasion when we were going to Carolina to play match. Then we went in the morning the day before. When we arrived, got off the bus and the team would check in at the hotel, he gave me a bag of pimples and said: “You go with the materials, you have to cycle extra”. So I got to sit on the test bike while the others in the team went to the hotel and jawed.
Then you felt very alone. But at the same time they wanted to bite, charge and try to play as well as possible.
*Did you have problems with Keenan during all your years in Florida?*Yes, it was tough, it did not go very well for the team either. We never went to the playoffs or anything like that. It was the same guys he was on. It was me, then Niklas Hagman who was a rookie just like me. And a guy, Jaroslav Bednar, he even sent home. He was completely cracked.
I had been told so many times that I couldn’t play in the league, that I was too bad. And it felt a little crunchy. But at the same time, I had scored 20 goals every season in the NHL, so I knew I was holding on to that level. It was a bit uneasy to get hit first, but then it became like a fresh start for me.
Suffice it to say, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Keenan. Expect a few more stories become public in the coming weeks.