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.