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Flames hire Keenan as coach @NHLdotcom

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Mike Keenan is making another stop in the NHL.

He was hired to his eighth league head coaching job Thursday by the Calgary Flames. Keenan agreed to a three-year deal to replace Jim Playfair, who will remain as an assistant after leading the Flames to the playoffs.

"You never know how the game is going to call you back, do you?" Keenan said.

Keenan comes to the Flames at a pivotal time for the franchise. Superstar Jarome Iginla and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff become unrestricted free agents at the end of this season. Even so, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter didn't hesitate to hire the well-traveled Keenan.

"We've coached with each other, against each other and for each other, all those things," Sutter said. "I can't say that I've been associated with a coach or worked with a coach that has a more focused vision than him."

Keenan won the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994, and Thursday was the 13th anniversary of that title. "I'd love to stay here and end my career here," Keenan said.

His last job in the league was as the Florida Panthers' GM, but he resigned in September after more than two years.

Playfair joined the Flames as an assistant under Sutter in 2002 before being promoted last season. The Flames finished 43-25-10, eighth in the Western Conference. They were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs by Detroit in six games.

"This has been a tough process for him to go through," Keenan said. "There's a lot to be said about a man who can make those types of choices with his family."

The 57-year-old Keenan was honored as the league's top coach in 1985 after leading the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals. He took the Chicago Blackhawks to the Cup finals in 1992. Keenan also coached St. Louis, Vancouver, Boston and Florida.

Keenan has 569 victories in 1,014 games as an NHL coach.

He gave Sutter his first NHL coaching job when he was the GM in Chicago. Keenan said the opportunity to work with Sutter again was a big factor in his decision to take the job.

"That had everything to do with it, to work with people that you know and share the same vision," Keenan said. "We've been to games in the finals before and we got close to the job that was unfinished. Hopefully, we're in a position now that we can go to that same spot and finish it off."

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