Rallying from a three-goal deficit to win on Sunday wasn’t enough to save coach Paul MacLean from being fired on Monday.
Well, that was oddly timed. Rallying from a 3-0 deficit to win on home ice isn’t quite the low note that typically precedes a firing.
Nevertheless, Paul MacLean is no longer head coach of the Ottawa Senators. The team broke the news today via its Twitter feed. The move comes 543 days after MacLean won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.
Interestingly enough, according to sources close to the team, that Jack Adams Award was actually the first domino to set MacLean’s demise in motion. Senators beat writer and THN Ottawa correspondent Bruce Garrioch reported in our season preview Yearbook that MacLean entered this season on thin ice, that he “was almost handed his walking papers” after last season and that his players felt he changed after he won coach of the year. MacLean went from a go-to-bat defender of his players to a confrontational personality. General manager Bryan Murray said “the players liked the old Paul.”
The writing appeared on the wall when MacLean said in an interview last week he was “scared to death” of the Senators’ nightly competition. Not exactly the words of a coach instilling confidence in his players.
Ottawa’s dramatic Sunday victory wasn’t enough to save MacLean’s job. Garrioch reports MacLean had already met with owner Eugene Melnyk on Friday. In that case, good on the Senators for not letting one emotional victory sway their decision.
MacLean’s Senators stumbled to an 11-11-5 start this season. He leaves behind a 114-90-35 mark as coach of the team.
UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET): Dave Cameron will take over as Ottawa’s new head coach, Murray announced at a Monday press conference. He said Cameron is not an interim coach. Cameron will take over the Senators bench indefinitely.
Murray said MacLean’s singling out of star players (when being critical) rubbed the players as a whole the wrong way. Murray also said the team had set a soft “20-game mark” as a reassessment point for MacLean’s progress or lack thereof.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin