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Bold-but-tenative prediction from Ottawa: Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean likely to join Sens

Oh, Ottawa. I really hope that if current Red Wings assistant coach Paul MacLean’s skin is as thick as his moustache, because if Senators GM Bryan Murray, who did give the nod to MacLean as Mike Babcock’s hand-picked assistant coach way back in the day when Babcock helmed the Mighty Ducks, he’s got quite the press corps to deal with. The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan frames his suggestion that MacLean will probably get the nod as the Sens’ coach with a bold proclamation’s worth of bluster, before hedging his bets like nobody’s business:

Paul MacLean is going to be the next coach of the Senators.

Now, I’m not 100% sure of this. I would not bet my truck. But of the candidates uncovered by the Sun in recent weeks, MacLean seems to be the most logical choice.

Of course, that is if the decision really is with GM Bryan Murray and not owner Eugene Melnyk. Let’s believe it is, if only because the boss says so.

Brennan proceeds to survey the six likely finalists for the position, offering this take on MacLean

Paul MacLean, Detroit Red Wings

A native of Grostenquin, France, who grew up in Antigonish, N.S., MacLean had 71 points and 125 PIMs in 66 games for the 1977-78 Hull Olympiques. He spent the following season on the Canadian national team, then turned pro with the Blues, who drafted him in the seventh round. After one season in the minors, he played 10 in the NHL, scoring 324 goals and 349 assists in 719 games. One of those campaigns was with the Red Wings, but it was two seasons before Murray came in as coach. MacLean was a coach for nine seasons in the minors, winning almost twice as many games as he lost and capturing the 2000-01 UHL championship with the Quad City Mallards. When Mike Babcock was hired by Murray to coach the Ducks, he hired MacLean as an assistant. MacLean has been with Babcock ever since, from his two years in Anaheim to six with Detroit. Murray’s proudest hiring is Babcock and with good reason. The Wings coach is one of if not the best in the league. There’s no doubt he has given MacLean a ringing endorsement and it’s certain Murray values Babcock’s opinion. As an assistant in the NHL for as long as he’s been, MacLean must be a good communicator. And judging by the success the Wings have had the past six seasons, he’s done a good job coaching them up with Babcock. If Murray liked the way he interviewed, it says here MacLean will soon be moving to Ottawa. He can borrow my truck if he needs it.

If you recall Monday’s overnight report, the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman had this to say about MacLean’s candidacy:

Saw Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes in Vancouver last Tuesday and asked him who he thought would get the coaching job in Ottawa. He said, “Paul MacLean.” Think Ian’s nailed this one. And, just like Mike Babcock helped sell Guy Boucher to Steve Yzerman, he’s selling MacLean to his old boss, Bryan Murray.

I think he’s a logical fit and I do believe that he will end up in Ottawa. But the only thing I’m betting my Pacifica on is Nicklas Lidstrom returning, and I’m starting to worry about that bet.

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.