Backing that claim is Senators General Manager Bryan Murray, who Tuesday named MacLean the team's fifth head coach in four seasons during a news conference at Scotiabank Place.
"I think every player in the League wants to succeed … they don't want to be bad, they don't want to miss playoffs -- they want to be successful," MacLean said. "I'm going to try and bring some direction and leadership and empower them to make them better. There's a great core of players and a crop of younger players, so we'll find the good players."
MacLean, who spent the previous six seasons with the Detroit Red Wings as an assistant under Mike Babcock, replaces Cory Clouston, who was fired in April after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. In Ottawa, MacLean will be working under Murray, his boss in Anaheim when he worked as an assistant under Babcock.
"I'm going to try and bring some direction and leadership and empower them to make them better. There's a great core of players and a crop of younger players, so we'll find the good players." -- Paul MacLean
MacLean, 53, had been two to Stanley Cup Finals with the Red Wings, including the Cup-winning team in 2008.
"One of the good things about working with Babs (Babcock) was that I was in on every opportunity and everything that was done day-to-day," he said. "I was in there and was a part of putting it all together so I'm not stealing anything from (Babcock), since I was in there and a part of it."
Murray had numerous conversations with Detroit's managerial team prior to making his decision, including several talks with Babcock.
"I talked to Detroit people a lot and talked to Mike Babcock a number of times," Murray said. "Mike is a very willing guy to share information. Paul is a strong presence and strong personality. He's a very willing talker, and he'll share his thoughts with all the players. When you put it all together, he has great information on the NHL and thought he was certainly the right choice."
MacLean wants his hockey team to skate hard, be strong defensively and play physical.
"The way we play is probably going to be a little similar (to Detroit)," MacLean said. "You have to play 200 feet. The game is not played in 100-foot increments … you have to be able to skate the whole rink, so we'll skate the whole rink and play good defense. But we're going to come out and attack the net and make sure we're putting pressure on the opposition and making sure they'd have to make good plays in order to have an opportunity to beat us."
Prior to becoming an assistant in the NHL, MacLean spent six seasons in the International Hockey League as coach of the Peoria Rivermen and Kansas City Blades. He also led the United Hockey League's Quad City Mallards to a championship in 2000-01.
He's a firm believer in establishing an open dialogue with his players.
"I think it's important that coaches and players communicate," MacLean said. "Communication with the players is important in empowering them and having them invest in what you're trying to do and what you're trying to accomplish. This isn't me against them … it's the Ottawa Senators against the rest of the League and we have to work together in order to accomplish that goal."
MacLean spent 11 seasons as a right wing in the NHL (1980-91); in 719 games with the Winnipeg Jets, Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, he had 324 goals and 349 assists. He's also worked in the NHL as an assistant coach with Phoenix and Anaheim and a scout for the Blues.
"It's important I talk to these players and people from within the organization to create that mutual respect," MacLean said. "My resume speaks for itself in what I've done as a player, as a head coach and as an (NHL) assistant coach."
Detroit has now lost two assistants in less than a month -- Brad McCrimmon last month left to coach to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale