Mike Keenan became the first North American coach to win the KHL’s Gagarin Cup championship Wednesday, when his Metallurg Magnitogorsk team triumphed 7-4 over Lev Prague in Game 7.
Led by Sergei Mozyakin’s 33 points in 21 playoff games, Metallurg also won its first Gagarin Cup – and its first Russian title since 2006-07, a year before the Russian Super League became the Kontinental League.
The win comes 20 years after Keenan led the New York Rangers to a Stanley Cup championship. For a good read on Keenan’s experience in the foothills of the Ural Mountains, check out this piece from Grantland’s Katie Baker.
On the ice after the win, the Gagarin Cup was being passed around and here (at about the 1:07 mark) you can see Keenan being lifted up into the air by his players in celebration.
Good enough, right? How often are we going to see Iron Mike being embraced in this way?
Even better is this clip, though. In it, you’ll see Keenan do his best to sing karaoke in Russian. He nails the chorus, at least:
So today we see the rare, happy-go-lucky side of Keenan, but his madness can never be too far away.
After his team lost Game 6 in overtime, Keenan lost it on the referees, apparently over two penalty calls in the first period that led to two goals against. He also wouldn’t have been happy that his team just blew a lead in the final minutes of regulation, and then lost in OT. You can see his rage in this video – and he doesn’t like the security guy getting in his business either:
Congratulations Magnitogorsk and Mike Keenan.
Please come back to the NHL, Iron Mike.