NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mike Keenan is in that rare position where his criticism holds weight. It comes off as a lot more than simple frustration or armchair quarterbacking that fans and many in the media are known for.
Keenan has earned the right to say whatever he wants — especially when it comes to the Rangers.
And speak his mind the head coach of the 1994 champions did following the Blueshirts’ disappointing 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.
Keenan held nothing back, literally. He was especially incensed by the Rangers’ demeanor in the locker room following the defeat.
“I don’t like the tone at all. I want more resolve, I want them to be more angry, I want more determination. I’m not seeing it. This is the Stanley Cup Final,” Keenan said during MSG’s postgame show, according to SNY.
Keenan, who coached three different teams to the Stanley Cup Final, and made a total of four appearances, said for whatever reason the Rangers have been unable to play the type of ferocious hockey needed to vanquish opponents at this stage of the playoffs.
“If this goalie is on top of his game you need to do something about it. There isn’t anybody in front of the net. I was at ice level and they don’t hate each other yet. You gotta get engaged,” Keenan said. “Maybe it’s inexperience on the part of the Rangers who haven’t been here before with the exception of two players who have won the cup. The other team the entire nucleus has been there. You gotta step your game up.
“I’m talking whistle to whistle and within the whistle being more determined that what I am seeing right now,” Keenan added.
Owner of 672 career wins and 13 playoff appearances in 20 years as an NHL head coach, Keenan cited specific examples over the first three games where he said the Rangers’ response to adversity was unacceptable.
“You make a soft chip and it ends up in the back of your net with one second to go, soft chip in the neutral zone. You give the game away in Los Angeles twice, I am sorry, I am not buying it,” Keenan said. “You make the breaks by playing smart defense. Two goal lead, on the road, twice in two games, three times in two games and you need to find a way to win. You lock it down yourself.”
With the prospects of the season ending Wednesday night on home ice as the result of an embarrassing sweep, Keenan said there’s simply no excuse for the Rangers being in the predicament they are in, regardless of of how good the Kings are.
“You play with that determination and give them nothing and you need to win the game. They didn’t do it, inexperience and not ready to play,” Keenan said.
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