Paul MacLean

Report: Sens, MacLean closing in on two-year extension


Fresh off winning his first-ever Jack Adams as the NHL’s top coach, Paul MacLean appears to be in line for a new deal.

The Ottawa bench boss is close to agreeing to a two-year contract extension that will keep him in the Canadian capital until 2015-16, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

“I think that’ll be something that will get done in short order,” MacLean explained. “I don’t really anticipate any issues with that.

“I have another year on the contract anyway so I really have no anticipation there’ll be an issue.”

MacLean, 55, has enjoyed tremendous success in Ottawa since inheriting the head coaching gig from Cory Clouston in 2011.

He led the club to a 41-win, 92-point campaign in 2011-12, earning a surprise playoff berth and an Adams nomination (eventually won by St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock).

This year, MacLean outdid that performance — in the face of major adversity.

The Sens were without the services of Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson for large portions of the season, yet still managed to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference — one spot higher than the season prior — and win a playoff round for the first time since 2007.

Sens GM Bryan Murray said there’s nothing formal on the table at the moment but, like MacLean, doesn’t expect there to be any issues in agreeing on terms for an extension.

“We like what he does with us and I hope he likes what we do for him, with him,” Murray told the Sun.

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings face Lightning in ’15 playoff rematch

Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
AP Photo
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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.

After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.

Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.

As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.

The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues McDavid’s already NHL’s most important player

Connor McDavid
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)

While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)

Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)

Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)

The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)

The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)