Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fans Pan Iron Mike's Mettle as . . . Less Than Sterling

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fans Pan Iron Mike's Mettle as . . . Less Than Sterling

Article excerpt

Blues fans seem puzzled.

This summer they hailed the hiring of Mike Keenan as the dawning of an exciting new era. As the new general manager and coach, Keenan would do whatever it took to prod the long-pedestrian Blues into a Stanley Cup run.

But a tour of Kiel Center before Sunday night's 5-1 victory found lots of skeptical boosters. With the Blues lagging in a mini-slump, Keenan traded Kevin Miller, ripped several players (including fan favorite Brendan Shanahan) and questioned past management practices.

"We've been coming to hockey games for 20 years and we can't figure this guy out," said Chuck Vogel, who came wearing his No. 39 Kelly Chase sweater.

"I thought he'd be tough," said his friend, Al Korn. "But I thought he would be rational."

Didn't they anticipate some wholesale change? "I was hoping he wouldn't come in and trade (Craig) Janney and make Shanahan a shell of what he was last year," Vogel said.

"There are no checks and balances here. Before, if he was going to make a stupid trade, somebody was there to say, `Don't do it.' "

The prospect of trading away Shanahan made them shudder. "There comes a time when management has to wonder if a player is more important than the coach," Korn said.

"If they did that, I would seriously have to consider giving up my seat," Vogel said. "That would be a real disaster."

Though she was wearing a Shanahan No. 19 sweater, Dawn Scholl was willing to cut Iron Mike a little slack.

"We've never won the Stanley Cup here," Scholl said. "Some of these trades, I haven't been all that upset about. I wasn't upset that Janney was traded. But I would be if Shanahan was traded. I just thought Shanahan would be one of those players who would be here."

She wondered what all the yelling, screaming and shuffling has accomplished so far. "I don't know, to me it seems they could be doing this good with Bob Berry as coach," Scholl said. "I didn't expect them to win every game, but it seems like they did just as good last year."

Marie Kamenetzky, a season-ticket holder dating to the St. Louis Flyers, hasn't been pleased with Keenan's antics. "I didn't want him to begin with," she said. "I think he's the most egotistical son of a bugger. …

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