At 1:30PM MT the Calgary Flames officially announced the multi-year signing of new head coach Mike Keenan. Here is a summary transcript of the press conference.

Keenan Officially Announced as Coach

It came as a surprise to many, mind you, most of the moves by GM Darryl Sutter are shocks. The packed media room at the Saddledome was ready to hear some comforting words from the GM and President.

What’s perplexing about this move is the role of Jim Playfair who sat among Ken King, Mike Keenan, and Darryl Sutter. Jim Playfair remains with the organization; as Darryl Sutter called it: an “associate coach”. However, the overall look of the new coaches will be up to Keenan.

Here are some thoughts from Mike Keenan from the press conference:

The one thing we all know is the Sutter respect is well earned and he has my total respect and I appreciate coming to work for him.

I’m happy that Jim [Playfair] went through the tough decision with his family. There’s alot to be said about a man that can make these types of decisions with his family and remain here today.

Grant Pollack asked him, “how important is it to you to stay with one team for more than a couple of years?”

It has always been my intent to stay with teams for longer periods but sometimes changes are made at every level that prevent this. I’m at a point in my career where I’m very comfortable where I’m at professionally and i wanted to come here because of the people working here. when Darryl asked me to come and speak with him about possibly coaching the team that had a lot to do with it. i was really happy that Jimmy wanted to stay and now we’ll go through a selection process for coaching.

Jock Wilson asked about contract length and coaching selection process.

*He defers contract talk to Darryl* We’ll start the interview processes tomorrow and we’ll talk to Rich and Fleming.

Roger Millions asked about what caused Darryl to make the move.

…we weren’t connected as we should have been come playoff time. I thought Jimmy did a really good job but I wasn’t sure everybody else did. With that comes change.

Eric Francis asked Jim Playfair his first question about the decision to stay.

It was an easy decision to stay. We have a goal to pursue the Stanley Cup and win the Cup. When I came in the first day Darryl and I had an understanding to remain honest with each other.

Peter Maher asked Mike Keenan about his thoughts about the present state of the team (players).

Darryl and Jim have said that the team has developed from developmental to one with expectations. Now Darryl has certainly, as all GM’s in the league, is pursuing players within budgetary limits. This team is a contender and the expectations here; you have to have those expectations first from the ownership then management.

Jock Wilson asked: What about your thoughts about Marcus Nilson and Huselius?

Marcus was a heart and soul player that did whatever you asked of him. He has the adaptability to any situation. Kristen is a skilled player who was probably miscast in Florida. He was casted well here in a good role and it worked really well for him. He’s a goal scorer and that’s important. The coaching staff put him in alot of the right situations that made him successful.

Another question: What would you say are some misconceptions people have about your coaching?

Part of the persona of being a hardnosed player that may be miscast is that replacing passion. Ultimately the players have to play for each other and have to live as one. When you try to reinforce those standards those standards that people don’t want to accept you might have to give them firms leadership or direction. In the same time you don’t stop caring for them. But sometimes tough choices have to be made particularly when they are learning.

Another question: What has been missing from this team? What would you change?

He defers to Jim or Darryl.

Grant Pollack: I’m just wondering, you haven’t been in the league for three years, will you do things differently?

If you want to scrutinize my coaching and you want to examine my coaching you’ll see I have changed. When you have that background experience you don’t like to lose as a coach but you do learn from that. As a result you can process it and expand your skill set as a coach to adapt to certain situations in a different time and different players.

That’s all for now. It’s been a long time since Keenan has reaped any success in the NHL. One thing is for sure, Flames fans are divided on the recent signing but will be quick to forget their worries if there’s a Stanley cup at the end of 2008, anything less and you’ll find people complaining. Time will tell…

[tags]mike keenan, calgary coach, calgary flames coach[/tags]