Let’s Grow (WIN) Together.

That’s the real message in this hiring.

Maclean, a long-time NHL assistant coach, has decided to make his move to the top of the ladder, and it comes as no surprise that he has done so with the help of good friend Bryan Murray.

Maclean had other opportunities but, as with all Detroit management personnel, was bound by a non competition clause in his employment contract.  That contract ended with the demise of the v. 2010/11 Red Wings, and despite being offered a two year extension with said Red Wings, Paul chose to move on, and up, to the Sens organization.

It is Murray’s doing that Paul landed here and not elsewhere (he was wanted elsewhere).

Paul, as a player, was an offensively gifted forward, who most often made his opponents pay with every penalty they took against him and his team.  His gift for scoring goals earned him an NHL All-Star, and a spot on the “pre-pro” Olympic Team Canada roster.  After 10 impactful years in the NHL, he injured out and then moved on to begin a career in coaching.

Known as a “players coach”, Maclean had success in every league he worked. He won championships, and accolades, and the hope is he will do so again here in Ottawa.

But, like with any young team, this will take time.  Paul has been long removed from the head coaching ranks, and has never done so in the NHL.  This isn’t to say he can’t, but it will take some time to find his groove, both with the young roster, and with his new role.

This team truly will either grow good together, or grow apart, together.

That being said, this is a coach who has progressed to his role after years of experience in the NHL.  He has won it all in the NHL, he knows what it takes to win, has been a part of building a strong team, a team widely recognized as the model to be emulated by any and all franchises wanting long-term success in a league now known for rapid rise and fall in club performance.

I believe Paul is the coach Murray has long wanted and would have gotten this job almost no matter the other available options.  He isn’t simply “the best available”, the “man of the moment”, or a wild “knock-out swing” decision, he is a very, very experienced individual, with an exceedingly strong record of performance, who has, for the first time in Murrays tenure as GM, been available for hire in Ottawa.

Paul is a “new” head coach, who has earned the role the “old” way, with experience and hard work.  In an era of “new” coaches (been there, done that), Paul’s hiring is a breath of fresh air, and will, I contend, prove the axiom that only a fool attempts to re-invent the wheel.

This was a part of “the plan”, make no mistake.  Clouston wasn’t kept in place until the end of the season on a whim, he was kept in place to ensure a vacancy could be created come seasons end, and Maclean’s availability.

Step One – Admit you have a problem…CHECK.

Step Two – Secure and empower the leadership to guide the “re-build”…CHECK.

Step Three – High draft pick…CHECK.

Step Four – Strong player development…CHECK.

Step Five- Strong head coach…TBD, but I cannot name a better choice than Mr. Maclean.

Step Six – Improve your teams long and short term prospects at the draft…TBD, but if Murray has done anything well in his career as GM it’s been to be, if nothing else, a lucky charm at the draft table.

So I say welcome Paul, this young team of testosterone filled, bright eyed and bushy tailed “lead dogs” is going to need a strong musher, equally quick with the whip as the praise, a good sense of direction, and an un-wavering commitment to winning.

But you know exactly what I mean, as you’ve been living/accomplishing it for the past decade…and more.


p.s. also, and most importantly, a very warm, and non-performance dependent, “welcome to Ottawa” to your wife and children, may they find the city to be the friendly home many of us believe it to be.

p.p.s.  Buy a good coat, before Halloween…welcome to Ottawa!


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