John MacLean's journey to be Devil's coach had rocky start

Rich
Chere at The Star-Ledger
has a great story up today on John
MacLean’s path to becoming the first former Devils player to become head
coach, focusing on the day in 1997 that MacLean publicly demanded a
trade.

“I feel I’m just dying on the vine here, and
it’s time to move on,”
MacLean said that morning. “There has been no contract offer, and I’m
not going to sit by and wait around for one. I talked to Lou and have
requested a trade. I told him I won’t be coming back, that it’s time for
me to go.

MacLean would be traded not a week later
to the San Jose Sharks and never again appeared in a Devils jersey
before retiring in 2002. He was upset at the time that after 15 years of
playing for the organization the team had focused on contract
extensions for Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur and Doug Gilmour and not
with MacLean.

Yet eventually, any hard feelings were set aside
when MacLean was invited to be part of training camp in 2002 before
becoming an assistant coach with the team. Said MacLean about the
turnaround:

“I definitely thought I’d be back at some
point,” MacLean said. “Things
happen and at that time things were happening. It may not have been
handled correctly, on my part either, but there is a lot of history here
with me. This is where I feel most comfortable.

“You can’t hide
from what happened. I learned from it and from the places I went. They
were great learning experiences for me. It shapes who you are. You just
go on.”

There are many who are pumped to have MacLean
as the new coach of the Devils, hopeful he can bring a fresh approach
to a team that has frankly grown a bit stale. 12 years ago, it didn’t
seem that this moment would even remotely be possible.

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    Calm, then storm: Penguins, Senators trade Game 7’s goals in 20 seconds

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    Here’s hoping that you didn’t take a poorly-timed break in the second period.

    For much of Game 7, the Ottawa Senators have been able to slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins, resulting in a contest that went scoreless for what sometimes felt like ages.

    Chris Kunitz changed that, long after missing on a golden opportunity shortly after Mike Sullivan decided to put him on Sidney Crosby‘s line. Kunitz finished a nice rush play to make it 1-0 9:55 into the second. Check out that goal below.

    Guy Boucher didn’t have to deploy “attack mode” very long, as Mark Stone stunningly tied it up 1-1 just 20 seconds later. That surprising tally can be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.

    Who’s playing for Penguins, Senators in Game 7

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    We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

    Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.

    The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.

    Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.

    You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.

    Sabres confirm signing defenseman Antipin; Is his KHL teammate Lee next?

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    The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.

    Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.

    On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.

    Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.

    While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.

    “Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

    Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.

    Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.

    * – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”

    WATCH LIVE: Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Game 7

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    Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.

    Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?

    Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)

    Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

    Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)

    Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6

    Related:

    Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7

    Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

    Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7

    It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7