When you go through Flyers history, you don’t have to go too far down to find Mike Keenan’s name.
Twice he led the orange and black to the then-Wales Conference titles, to only fall both times to the mighty 80s Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final. Keenan and the Flyers parted ways after the 1987-88 season and he went on to coach the Chicago Blackhawks for four seasons. What followed his stint in the Windy City, according to Keenan, was a near reunion that would have made Flyers fans very happy.
“Mr. [Ed] Snider, when I was fired in Chicago, tried to rehire me," Keenan said Wednesday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Michael Barkann. "He offered me a five-year contract to come back. For Mr. Snider to say that, and he actually pulled a contract out of his suit coat for me, I’m sure was difficult. He said, 'I made a mistake firing you to begin with.'"
Instead, Keenan went to the rival New York Rangers and won the Stanley Cup in 1994, with the likes of Mark Messier, Esa Tikanen and Kevin Lowe, who were part of the Oilers' dynasty that had denied him the Cup in his first two attempts.
“[Snider] never forgave me for that, we won the Stanley Cup and I don’t think there was any team he hated more than the New York Rangers,” Keenan said.
Although Keenan accomplished much in his career after his time in Philadelphia, he reflects positively on his experience here.
“My four years in Philadelphia were great," Keenan said. "Stanley Cup twice, the second year a pretty good run, and then the death of Pelle Lindbergh. Then my final year, Timmy Kerr gets knocked out of the box early and, of course, the rest is history.”
Fred Shero set the standard for all Flyers coaches, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in the 70s, but for the next generation of Flyers fans, Keenan was the face of the franchise and remains an all-time fan favorite.
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