Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keenan Is Ticked Off: `The Guy Cheated'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keenan Is Ticked Off: `The Guy Cheated'

Article excerpt

After Mike Keenan accused the Madison Square Garden timekeeper of cheating Friday night, the suspicion was that Keenan had let his emotions get the better of him, that he lashed out because of a disappointing loss.

An emotional outburst would have been understandable considering the relationship between the New York Rangers and one of its star players - Wayne Gretzky.

Keenan led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994, but he's persona non grata in the Big Apple because of his unseemly departure to St. Louis a month after winning the Cup. And there's the matter of Gretzky, who spent two months with the Blues last season before taking his act to Broadway, some suspect largely because of Keenan. Players sensed that Keenan desperately wanted to win the game, and when he didn't - the Blues fell 2-1, with Gretzky setting up the game-winner - conventional wisdom was that Keenan snapped out of frustration. Not so, Iron Mike said Saturday in his office at the U.S. Ice Sports Complex in Chesterfield. The Blues play San Jose at 7:05 Sunday night at Kiel Center. "I wasn't disgruntled last night," he said. "I wasn't lashing out with emotion because we lost the game. I was angry because the guy cheated." Keenan accused timekeeper Joe Leone of purposely allowing 2.3 seconds to tick off the clock after Paul Stewart blew his whistle to stop play on a delayed penalty. Instead of having 19.3 seconds remaining in the game, play resumed with 17 seconds left. Keenan acknowledged Saturday that the lost time "probably wouldn't have made any difference at all" in the outcome. "I wasn't trying to be a sore loser, but you can't let that happen," he said. "He did cheat. The game is 60 minutes, not 59 minutes 58 seconds. "You're challenging the integrity of the game, particularly there." Although Keenan called on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to investigate, Keenan probably will be called on the carpet because of his accusation. Keenan could face a stiff fine, but he didn't back down Saturday. "It was obvious," said Keenan, who was watching the clock at the time. "And I didn't bring it up, either. …

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