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.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: