When the Blackhawks got to the room, however, center Troy Murray, another veteran who had been used sparingly, screamed first, demanding to be told why he wasn't playing. Defenseman Dave Manson told Murray to sit down and shut up. "I just watched them," Keenan said later with a smile. Yep, just another typical intermission for the Blackhawks. When the second period of what turned out to be a 5-2 Edmonton victory began, both Savard and Murray were again playing regular shifts.
That didn't stop Savard from crying to the media the next day. "I know I'm a good person," he said. But his public whining did not keep Keenan from playing him more than 20 minutes in Game 2. When Savard made a terrible giveaway that led to a tying goal for Edmonton early in the third period, Keenan in effect forgave him by allowing him to take his regular shift the rest of the way, including an extra one in an obvious defensive situation in the final minute. He finished the 4-3 Chicago victory with one goal and two assists, including one on defenseman Doug Wilson's game-winner with only 1:59 remaining.
That assist earned Savard an "I'm proud of him" from Keenan. And Iron Mike may have been prouder still following Game 3, in which Savard set up three more goals in Chicago's victory.
Thus did the Blackhawks, who were too miserable to die last week, stay very much alive in the playoffs. To this point the players haven't figured out whether their coach is a detestable, raging maniac or a manipulative genius. If they keep winning, Keenan knows, it won't really matter.