Mike Keenan is back on the ice.
The nomadic former Rangers coach — he won the Stanley Cup with the Blueshirts in 1994, his only season with the team — has landed another job. He was recently named the coach of the Italian national team. Italy will automatically qualify for the 2026 Olympics as the host nation.
“I’ve had a lot of great international experiences but this is both a challenge and a unique opportunity for me,” Keenan said, according to the AP. “I’m excited to be involved in a building and development process in the run up to an Olympics. . . . Every once in a while, miracles happen. Italy is a nation passionate about sports so that’s why I want to set high expectations.”
Keenan, 72 later this month, last coached Kunlun Red Star (the Beijing, China, team that plays in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League) in 2017. So he’s been off the bench for a while. And he’ll likely have alienated everyone associated with Team Italy by the time the Games are played — if he hasn’t managed to get fired or quit before then.
Maybe he can also come coach the Devils once Lindy Ruff gets canned?
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]