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Keenan Ousted as Bruin Coach

April 13, 2001|From Associated Press

Mike Keenan is out as coach of the Boston Bruins, but the team stopped short of designating assistant Peter Laviolette as his replacement.

"Peter Laviolette is probably the leading candidate," General Manager Mike O'Connell said Thursday. "I know what he can do, but I am not saying the job is his."

Keenan replaced Pat Burns, fired Oct. 25, eight games into the season, and he led the team to within a tiebreaker of making the playoffs.

The Bruins went 33-26-7-8 in 74 games under Keenan, and tied Carolina for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 88 points. The Hurricanes won the tiebreaker with two more victories.

O'Connell met with Keenan on Thursday morning to tell him the team would not exercise its option to retain him for two more years.

Keenan said he could have met management's expectations if he had a healthy team and a full season behind the bench to install his system and instill new attitudes.

"I think [O'Connell] doesn't have a full realization of what it takes to turn a team around, the kind of patience you need to turn around the attitudes of a group of people," Keenan said, adding he felt the team was headed in a "winning direction."

Keenan reportedly was unpopular with players and the staff, who objected to his style of motivating through intimidation.

Under Keenan's contract, the Bruins had 10 days after the final game to decide whether to keep him.

*

With new faces in the lineup, the Ottawa Senators say things will be different when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL playoffs for the second year in a row.

The series begins tonight in Ottawa with the Senators out to avenge a six-game loss to Toronto in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring.

"I don't know if it's fair to compare because we have 12 new guys," Senator captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "When we're healthy and going on all cylinders, we know we can do some damage."

Ottawa defeated Toronto in all five regular-season meetings this season.

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