The Sports Daily > The 6th Sens
One Quasi-Baseless Thought on Coaching Candidate Paul MacLean

Now that the search to fill Senators vacant head position is drawing to a conclusion and the names of those who are receiving strong consideration are being revealed, I just wanted to say touch upon the inclusion of Paul MacLean on Ottawa’s list.

First, the man has a fantastic duster that would do Wayne Scanlan proud.

Second, as is often the case when discussing anything related to the Detroit Red Wings during the offseason, it’s no surprise that every other NHL organization is looking to purge the off-ice “talent” away from the organization that is often looked upon as the gold standard in the NHL. Case in point: I don’t even know if we can go an offseason without hearing about one fan base yearning for Assistant General Manager Jim Nill to jump the shark.

In fact, it’s because of Nill that when I learned that MacLean was receiving strong consideration and had been interviewed by Bryan Murray for the vacant head coaching position, I was slightly concerned. As we’ve seen in the past, the Red Wings have a non-competition clause that they have invoked on Nill that prevents any other team from speaking to him about filling a vacancy

In 2009, Pierre LeBrun wrote this blurb on Nill’s consideration for the GM gig in Minnesota for ESPN:

May 24, ESPN: In Minnesota, congrats to Chuck Fletcher on getting the GM job. He’s worked a long time for the chance and it’s well-deserved. One note of interest, however, is we’re told the Wild tried to get permission to talk to Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill, but were denied by Detroit owner Mike Ilitch. That’s been the owner’s modus operandi every time a team has come calling for Nill, one of the most respected hockey men in the NHL.

Toronto also tried to talk to him last season. Nill, we’re told, is fine with it. He signed his contract with the intent of fulfilling it. He’s got two more years left. Once the deal is up, if I’m an NHL owner, I hire this guy in a heartbeat.

Maybe I’m reading too much into this but this exclusive clause that prevents Nill from leaving the Red Wings organization has left me slightly suspicicious about their willingness to let MacLean leave. Granted, it’s probably a lot easier to stomach the loss of an assistant coach than it is to see a hockey ops/management type leave BUT I’m still suspicious of his availability. In fact, after years of watching Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, Charlie Weiss and other Belichick disciples leave the New England Patriots and flounder, I’ve grown cynical of the process. And of course it doesn’t help matters that Dave Lewis, another former Red Wings assistant coach who was lauded as “the next big coaching thing”, floundered with the Bruins.

Have at it in the comment thread…