Keenan defends Van Ryn

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

CALGARY -- The pain in his head still is there, but at least defenceman Mike Van Ryn seems to be taking baby steps in his recovery from injuries suffered against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

"He seems to have improved a bit but he still has headaches," general manager Cliff Fletcher said last night. "We should know more in the next 24 hours."

Van Ryn is scheduled to meet with renowned neurologist Dr. Karen Johnston today. Dr. Johnston has dealt with many NHL players who have been concussion victims including Tomas Kaberle, Scott Stevens and Eric Lindros.

Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether Van Ryn made himself vulnerable by turning at the last moment when the Montreal Canadiens' Tom Kostopoulos was coming in on him.

Calgary Flames coach Mike Keenan, who coached Van Ryn when both were with the Florida Panthers, considers any suggestion that the Leafs defenceman was at fault to be ridiculous.

"That was hitting from behind," Keenan said yesterday. I don't think (he turned into it). Ask Michael today. He's sitting at home with a broken face.

"I coached him. He's a smart enough individual to know: "I'm not going to turn into the boards so I can break my face."

Keenan became more animated when a reporter suggested Van Ryn might have been attempting to draw a penalty.

"You're insinuating that he turned at the last moment to make it look like he was hit from behind. He's not that dumb. He's not gonna turn to ruin his career," Keenan said.

On the other hand, Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr did feel that Van Ryn turned into the hit.

Let the argument continue.

Kostopoulos, for the record, was suspended three games for the controversial hit. He subsequently released a statement indicating there was no intent on the play.


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