On June 10 in NYR history: Keenan rumors during the SCF

What happened on June 10 in the history of the New York Rangers

In 1994 on June 10, the New York Rangers were licking their wounds after losing Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final to the Vancouver Canucks. They flew across the continent to take on a Canucks team that had come back from a 1-3 deficit against the Calgary Flames.  The Blueshirts were confident, but not cocky and the fanbase was a little less assured that the Cup was theirs.

The good news was even with a loss in Vancouver, they were assured of a return to Madison Square Garden for Game Seven.

However, on this date there was yet another distraction and it involved coach Mike Keenan.  The newspapers were filled with speculation that Keenan was about to bolt from the Rangers and take the Detroit Red Wings General Manager job.

There were reports that Keenan coveted a GM slot and that he had a handshake agreement to take the Detroit job in 1993, but then-GM Bryan Murray talked owner Mike Ilitch out of it.  What prompted the new speculation was the firing of Murray.

Keenan had a five-year contract to coach the Rangers, but he had the right to break the deal for a general manager job.

It was typical of “Iron Mike” that he could prompt this kind of chatter while his team was in the Stanley Cup Final.  He could see the writing on the wall and knew that the 1994 Rangers were built to win immediately, mostly through trades that he insisted on.  He knew the team would be headed for a rapid decline with the imminent departure of players like Glenn Anderson and Craig MacTavish and the fact that much of the core of the team was in its mid-thirties.

The Red Wings ultimately went with a combination of Scotty Bowman and Jim Devellano while Keenan bolted from the Rangers, claiming breach of contract when he was paid a bonus a day late.

Today’s birthdays

18 NHL players were born on June 10 including four former Blueshirts, none of whom made it to double figures in games played in New  York.

Chad Johnson was a goaltender, born on this date in 1986 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Drafted by the Penguins, he was traded to New  York in 2009 and he played six games over two seasons as a back up to Henrik Lundqvist.  Over the next seven years he played for seven different teams and is one of a handful of players who toiled for all three teams from New York State.

Tom Dewar was born on this date in 1913 in Frobisher, Saskatchewan.  A defenseman , he played nine games in the 1942-43 season for the Rangers. Nicknamed “Moose” he left the Rangers to be the player-coach of the Brooklyn Crescents of the ECHL.

Ian MacIntosh was born on June 10, 1927 in Selkirk, Manitoba.  He was a left wing who played only four games with the Rangers in 1952-53.   He was a regular for the minor league New York Rovers for several years before making it to the NHL.

Lionel Bouvrette was a goalie born on this date in 1934 in Hawkesbury, Ontario. He played one game for the Rangers on March 18, 1943 when he was loaned to New York by the Montreal Canadiens after their number on goalie, Jimmy Franks, was injured and the Blueshirts had no backup. He spent most of his pro career with the Quebec Aces of the Quebec Senior Hockey League.