He's a Keaner!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:47 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- It's a common sight around the Vancouver Canucks camp.

 Mike Keane with a collection of youngsters in tow. The explanation, some say, is Keane has become something of a role model for the likes of Jason King and Ryan Kesler.

 It's understandable. After all, Keane has three Stanley Cup titles to his name and has been through more than 1,100 regular-season games and another 213 playoff tilts.

 Brad May has a different take.

 "That's only because Mike's cheap and he didn't go out and get himself an apartment. He's still living in the hotel and the team's paying for it," May said with a laugh.

 Judging by the way things have gone on the West Coast, it's money well spent.

 Keane, who's won Cups with Montreal (1993), Colorado (1996) and Dallas (1999), was brought in for leadership.

 The only Canuck with a Stanley Cup ring -- six Calgary Flames have sipped champagne from hockey's Holy Grail -- Keane was perceived as a final piece to the puzzle.

 This will be Keane's 15th trip to the post-season.

 "He's got a storied career," May said. "We all share our stories but there's times and experiences he's faced a lot of us haven't."

 Still, Keane insists, his contribution to the team's fortunes have to come on the ice first.

 Anything else is secondary.

 "As a new player, you just want to come in and play. You don't want to do too much," he said. "They have a very solid core here, a lot of young guys and young superstars signed for a long time. The core players here are going to be here for a long time so, as a player, you just want to play the game and if there's anything along the way you see can be changed or talked about, that's usually what happens."

 To that end, he collected eight goals, two in the Northwest Division clinching finale, and 17 points to go with the strong penalty killing he provides.

 That's not to say the 36-year-old from Winnipeg doesn't relish his role as guide.

 After all, he was a raw rookie in Montreal, with the Canadiens squad that lost the Cup final to Calgary in 1989. There, he had plenty of seasoned vets to show him the ropes.

 Keane, who has three Stanley Cup tattoos on his ankle to commemorate those championships, simply sees it as a progression.

 "It's something that comes. Anyone would do it," he said. "I don't feel like I'm a father figure at all, it's just something that comes natural.

 "We all live at the hotel together and hang out -- I'm still semi-young, I think. It's not making sure they're in at 10 o'clock or anything like that. They can lead their life but if there's anything on the ice I can help them with or off the ice I'll do it."

 As for May's dig, Keane had a simple retort.

 "That's interesting coming from a guy that drives an '87 Mercedes."


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