Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues, Keenan in One Final Disagreement

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues, Keenan in One Final Disagreement

Article excerpt

The Mike Keenan Saga here is not over yet.

The Blues, who fired Keenan as coach and general manager on Dec. 19, want to recoup part of the fortune they owe him.

If Keenan balks, look for National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman to arbitrate. Blues chairman Jerry Ritter would only say Monday that "We have started discussions with Keenan and his representatives. They are proceeding. "It's a private type of conversation with regard to the whole arrangement - I couldn't use the word buyout - between Mike and the Blues with regard to the ultimate outcome." Ritter would not elaborate. But the Blues apparently feel that Keenan breeched his contract by running up expenses and ceasing to act as a coach. Last summer, Keenan said the Blues had two means to fire him for cause. "If I commit a felony," he said, "or if I go over budget." On Monday, Ritter said, "Obviously, I can't get into discussing any specifics. I can't help you with that." Ritter also could not help clarify the value and length of Keenan's contract, saying he did not know the details. When Keenan arrived in 1994, the Post-Dispatch reported that he would earn $10 million over five years. In 1995, to close a loophole after Mike Shanahan was fired as Blues chairman, the Blues gave Keenan an extra year at less than the original $2 million average. Keenan worked 2 1/2 years, presumably with $7 million due him over 3 1/2 years. But just before the firing, he told the Post-Dispatch that his deal ran into 2001, or one more year than reported. And the day Keenan was fired, he told Al Morganti of ESPN that the Blues owed him $11 million. One Blues source disputed Keenan, saying the accepted terms are in the ballpark. Another Blues source supported Keenan, saying the deal has 4 1/2 years left at an average of $2.3 million a year. That's $10.35 million, with "other goodies" puffing the total to $11 million. Since the firing, Keenan has dodged St. Louis reporters. …

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