The NHL : 'Adolf' Is Really a Nice Guy

Who says that Mike Keenan, the irascible coach of the Philadelphia Flyers who is known to his players as "Adolf," doesn't know how to have a good time?

Jacques Martin, coach of the St. Louis Blues, remembers Keenan as the singer in a college rock band called Nicky and the Nice Guys.

Keenan was a senior and captain of the hockey team at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., when Martin was a freshman goaltender at the school.

"They did a lot of bubble-gum music," Martin said of Keenan's band. "They were really big at St. Lawrence. After the games, the fraternities would have dollar parties. You'd pay a dollar to get in, and they'd have the draft beer on tap, and lots of rock 'n' roll.

"They had their own song called 'Peanut Butter.' It was hard rock. They'd always get a guy up on stage with them--some frat guy from the audience. The guy would have a jar of peanut butter, and he would start putting it all over himself. That really got the students going."

To charges that he shows too many brawls on his weekly television show, "This Week in Hockey," host Don Cherry replied: "I don't show enough."

So desperate for defensive help are the New York Rangers that Coach Michel Bergeron wanted to have U.S. Olympian Brian Leetch signed and in the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, not realizing the Americans will still be in Calgary Thursday, playing a consolation game against Switzerland.

Said defenseman Willie Huber of the Vancouver Canucks, a former Ranger, after the Canucks' 6-4 win over the Rangers Sunday night: "The poor kid doesn't know what he's getting into."

Leetch has agreed in principle to a contract and will probably play his first game for the Rangers Monday night against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.

"We don't have time to give him a week off," Bergeron said. "We're going to give him time off in June."

Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers, looking to the July 16 wedding of teammate Wayne Gretzky and actress Janet Jones: "I can't wait to see the bridesmaids."

The New Jersey Devils obviously are serious about signing defensemen Alexei Kasatonov and Vyacheslav Fetisov, stars of the Soviet Union's Olympic team.

"We've been taking Russian lessons for months," said Max McNab, executive vice president of the Devils.

In the second period of the Kings' 6-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 15, somebody named Dirk used the Forum message board to ask Becky to marry him.

When no answer was forthcoming, we suggested facetiously that perhaps Becky had already gone home, seeing as how the Kings have yet to win a game this season in which they trailed entering the third period.

Writes Becky Hoover, soon to be Becky Smith, of Los Angeles: "No, I didn't leave before the second period, and yes, I accepted Dirk's proposal of marriage.

"Even though the Kings are (0-29-2) in games in which they trail going into the third period, I never leave before the end of the game. (Dirk won't let me.)"

How have the Calgary Flames, locked out of the Olympic Saddledome by the Winter Olympics, been able to cope while playing 11 straight road games?

"We wear a lot of polyester and thank God for dry cleaners," Coach Terry Crisp said.

Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars, who surrendered to Toronto police this month and was formally charged with assault in a stick-swinging incident against the Maple Leafs' Luke Richardson in a game last month, was undaunted by his latest brush with the law.

"The police station there is something out of 'Barney Miller,' " he said.

Bryan Erickson, traded this month from the Kings to the Pittsburgh Penguins, said opposing teams played with more determination at the Forum, despite the Kings' poor record.

"I always had the impression that everybody played hard because they felt so guilty," Erickson said. "The coaches knew they'd been out and about, and they knew they'd been out, so they felt very guilty, and they played hard."

Tim Kerr of the Philadelphia Flyers, who has missed this season with a shoulder injury that has required five operations since the end of last season, resumed skating last week and said he probably would return to the lineup March 10.

"I'm getting there," he said. "I'm starting to visualize myself playing again."

Kerr, who led the Flyers last season with 58 goals and led the National Hockey League with 26 power-play goals, last played April 30 in a playoff game against the New York Islanders.

Roger Crozier, the last NHL goaltender to play in all of his team's regular-season games, rejects the notion that it is too demanding for a goaltender to play every night.

"They are sitting in airplanes, not trudging through the jungle," said Crozier, a bank vice president in Wilmington, Del., who played in all 70 regular-season games for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1964-65 season. "The only thing that tires you is the mental pressure of the playoffs."

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