July 15, 1994. That was the shocking day that Mike Keenan, on a Toronto TV station, announced he was leaving the Rangers because of a breach in his contract. The Rangers were late with a bonus check, so Keenan, a month and a day after winning the Stanley Cup, was bolting.
The Garden, of course, was furious. Though some of it was fake as it came out later that Keenan and Neil Smith—who had battled all year long and who probably couldn’t have lasted another week together, much less than another season—had cooked up the whole missed-check scenario so Keenan could leave.
And Keenan, who had been negotiating with Detroit throughout the Stanley Cup run, ultimately went to St. Louis … and the NHL handed out punishment that included the compensation trade of Esa Tikkanan for Petr Nedved (a pair of No. 10s swapping uniforms).
What a crazy chapter in franchise history.
AP Photo, above.