Mike Keenan removed as GM of KHL’s Red Star team, will remain coach

Former NHL coach Mike Keenan. (CP photo)

Mike Keenan was relieved of his duties as general manager of the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star Tuesday, however the former NHL bench boss will remain the team’s head coach.

Keenan joined the Red Star franchise, the KHL’s only Chinese team, in March but the team is currently 12-14-8 and in second-to-last place in the Chernyshev division.

The team announced in a press release Raitis Pilsetnieks has been named Keenan’s replacement. Pilsetnieks has been with the organization since August 2016 and in addition to his new responsibilities will continue his role as GM of the franchise’s junior affiliate. The 38-year-old’s first piece of business was signing forward Taylor Beck, a transaction the team announced in the same press release. Beck, a St. Catharines, Ont., native and 2009 third-round pick of the Nashville Predators, spent the 2016-17 campaign split between the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Wolf Pack and New York Rangers.

Keenan coached 1,386 games in the NHL from 1984 to 2009, winning the Jack Adams Award as a rookie head coach with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1984-85 and a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1993-94. The 68-year-old hasn’t coached in the NHL since a two-year stint with the Calgary Flames in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

He won the Gagarin Cup with Magnitogorsk Metallurg in 2013-14 when he first joined the KHL. He went 40-15-5 with Magnitogorsk in 2014-15 and was fired 21 games into the 2015-16 season despite having a 13-8-0 record at the time.

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