John MacLean Gets The Coaching Call
The wait is finally over for John MacLean.
The Devils’ all-time leader in goals and former AHL affiliate head coach will formally be announced at a 2 p.m. press conference at the Prudential Center.
MacLean will succeed Jacques Lemaire, who retired on April 26, four days after the team’s first round loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
MacLean coached the Lowell Devils last season, his first head coaching experience of any kind. He led the team to a 39-31-4-6 record, good for 88 points and the organization’s first playoff berth since 2000.
There has yet to be an announcement on who will fill out MacLean’s staff or who will take over the head coaching position for Albany.
MacLean previously served as a Devils’ assistant coach for seven years. At times, MacLean ran the bench when Lou Lamoriello took over head coaching reigns.
Jamie Langenbrunner, who had several issues with Lemaire, looks forward to the opportunity of starting fresh with MacLean.
“It’s definitely that I’m looking to move forward and get another opportunity at it.” Langenbrunner said to Tom Gulliti. “I don’t really have much to say about (his relationship with Lemaire), but I’m definitely looking forward to a fresh start so to speak.”
Even though MacLean lacks head coaching experience in the NHL, Langenbrunner believes he’s prepared for the task.
“I think any time you go from being an assistant coach to being the head coach, it’s a whole different ballgame,” Langenbrunner said. “You’re not in the same position. You’re not going to be doing exactly the same things. He’s obviously a guy that played in the league for a long time. He understands a lot about the game and he paid his dues not only here as an assistant coach here for many years, but going down to Lowell and getting some head coach experience last year. He’s a guy that knows the game very well.”
MacLean played with Langenbrunner in Dallas, and he’s also played with Martin Brodeur, Jay Pandolfo, Brian Rolston and Patrick Elias.
MacLean, drafted sixth overall by the Devils in 1983, made his debut on October 5, 1983 against the Rangers. The forward scored a pivotal goal in 1988 to clinch the organization’s first playoff birth, and was a member of the 1995 Stanley Cup winning team.
He played 19 total NHL seasons with the Devils, San Jose Sharks, the Rangers and Dallas.
Contrary to popular belief, the Devils did not offer a contract to Chicago Blackhawks assistant Mike Haviland. Many speculated that Lamoriello held off an announcement to interview the New Jersey native.
So, what’s my take on the announcement? I think it’s a solid choice. MacLean knows the Devils philosophy and, more importantly, he knows the players. It’s also a break from the defensive-minded coach we usually see hired by the team. We’ve seen other organization succeed with young, unproven coaches, but none have been an integral part of their organization before. I think the hiring of MacLean will bring a fresh take to Devils’ hockey and invigorate a club desperate to get itself out of the first round.
What are your takes? Like the move? Hate it? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!