Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Picture This: Keenan, Stanley Cup

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Picture This: Keenan, Stanley Cup

Article excerpt

A photograph of the defining moment in the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup celebration has a place of honor in the office of Blues chairman Mike Shanahan at Engineered Air Support Systems.

It's a poster-sized, framed picture of Mike Keenan, with an ear-to-ear smile, holding the Stanley Cup above his head as the Rangers and their delirious fans revel around him.

This was Mike Keenan's moment of glory for doing the job he was hired to do - ending 54 years of misery for perennially tortured New Yorkers by leading the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup since 1940.

That the photo adorns The Chairman's wall is significant for two reasons. First, its symbolizes that Keenan is now a member of the Blues' family - he inscribed the photo for Shanahan - and has been hired as general manager and coach to do the same thing he did in New York.

Second, you won't see this Keenan-in-celebration photo or much else in reference to his role in New York's triumph in the Big Apple. The Rangers edited Keenan out of the highlight film shown before their first game and relegated Keenan to a footnote.

"That's not unusual," Keenan said with a shrug.

Why? His acrimonious departure from the Rangers and ultimate hiring by the Blues upset New Yorkers to no end. And Keenan and Rangers' general manager Neil Smith never quite saw eye to eye either.

At least, Smith has sent Keenan mementos of his triumph. Keenan's Stanley Cup ring, and those of Esa Tikkanen and Doug Lidster, were delivered by Greg Gilbert, whom Keenan picked off the Rangers' waiver list. And Smith sent Keenan his miniature models of the Stanley Cup and the Prince of Wales' Trophy.

"I just got these today," Keenan said Thursday as he opened the packages for the first time to show two reporters.

He pulled out the mini-Stanley Cup first and looked at the inscription and the names of all the players. Then, he pulled out the Prince of Wales Trophy.

"I've got four of these," he said. "Two in Philadelphia, one in Chicago and this one."

But this one was the most special. The others represented failed trips to the Stanley Cup finals. This one represented victory and came with a mini-Stanley Cup and a ring.

Keenan said he'll display the trophy on a bookshelf in his living room. But what about the ring? Will he wear it and flash it at cocktail parties?

Not a chance. Keenan's not a jewelry guy.

"I never wear rings," he said, showing his empty fingers. "I have it on my coffee table on display. It's in a nice case with a glass top."

If Keenan does what he's been hired to do here, he'll have more prizes to put on display. And Shanahan will be able to replace that Rangers' picture with one of Keenan celebrating a Cup for the Blues.

Father Knows Best: Captain Brett Hull ventured in as Keenan was showing off his mini-Stanley Cup and was asked if he'd ever seen one.

"Uh, my dad's got one," Hull said, matter-of-factly before doing a quick about-face and leaving the room.

Bobby Hull won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1961.

Hull Of A Guy: After the Blues shelled Anaheim and former Blues goalie Guy Hebert 7-2 Thursday, Hebert was astonished by the change in the Blues in general and Hull in particular under Keenan.

"That's not a typical St. Louis Blues club over there," he said. "They've got a lot of talent, and a guy like Brett Hull is playing a lot harder than he has in the past . . . at least from my point of view seeing him go back in their zone.

"He's there to score goals, (but) he's coming back and stuff. You can see (the change). We watched some game films, and we were watching him pick up pucks off the goalies pads and bringing it up the ice. He (has) played awfully strong. . . ."

"If he's happy and playing hard, there's really no stopping him."

Hebert was asked whether happiness was the key to Hull being successful. …

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