In the book “Behind The Moves,” Jason Farris spoke with NHL General Managers past and present about how they conduct business and to tell stories about their lives in hockey.
Neil Smith said: “After we won, I was happy to see him go to St. Louis. …Certainly, he was the mot insubordinate guy I had ever worked with. It was unbelievable, unbelievable. He never made you feel like the boss ever. He was disrespectful the whole way….I definitely think he wanted my job too….Once he realized there was no way to unseat me from the position, then he looked to leave….He has said since that he should never have left New York. There is a proper way to [exit a job], but he decided not to do it that way.
Jim Devellano has some very harsh words about Keenan, below
Jim Devellano said: “In Mike Keenan’s case, look, it’s plain and simple. He’s a bad man, he downgrades people, he treats people like shit, and that’s why he’s coached eight fucking teams and managed four – plain and fucking simple. That’s why I worked to keep him out of here when there was a possibility of him being hired by Detroit. He was never a general manager; he was a coach. He had the titles, but he didn’t think like a general manager. He thought like a coach…. Mike didn’t like anybody on his team that was popular. He didn’t like Brett Hull in St. Louis, so he rode him right out of town. So, if you were popular in the town, Mike had to be more popular. He’s a jerk, Mike Keenan. His track record to me tells it. I mean eight fucking teams, come on? What happens is at the ownership level, there are a lot of people who aren’t hockey owners that made their money doing a lot of different things. That doesn’t necessarily mean they understand hockey, or sports, or the dynamics of it. If they get involved and they don’t understand, that’s how you wind up with Mike Keenan…. As for his trading record as a GM, well you win some, you lose some. I mean Mike deals in the moment and he’s made some good ones and some bad ones, but I wouldn’t want it on my record that every few years, you’re with another team. There’s something just not right about that. I mean you either didn’t get along with people or you can’t work in a family-type atmosphere. It’s obvious that he can’t.”