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Bylsma supports MacLean as Jack Adams winner

by Shawn P. Roarke

PITTSBURGH -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean is one of the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, joining Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks in contention for the NHL's coach of the year award.

The coach MacLean is facing in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pittsburgh Penguins head man Dan Bylsma, said he believes MacLean might be the most-deserving of the finalists.

"He deserves it," Bylsma said Friday morning before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "I wasn't casting a vote, but certainly what he's done, you talk about last year coming into an Ottawa Senators team that he didn't know what to expect or where they would be at, he did a great job last year.

"But this year, different challenges for his team and group and they've dealt with some injuries and still consistently been a good hockey team without some of their key guys and with some of their key guys, and I would have cast a vote for him as well."

MacLean is an Adams finalist for the second year in a row. He finished as runner-up to Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues in 2012.

This season, MacLean led the Senators into the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite injuries to star players. No. 1 center Jason Spezza was lost for all but five games due to back surgery, Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson was out for almost 10 weeks due to an Achilles tendon injury, and starting goaltender Craig Anderson was inactive for nearly half the season after he went down with a high-ankle sprain.

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said MacLean's system and his force of personality have allowed the team to bloom and navigate the many obstacles that have been put before it.

"He's been able to get everybody to contribute, that's the big thing," Alfredsson said Thursday. "We play a style that is not defense-first. We try to initiate things and not wait for things to happen. I think that once you get confidence from that and see that, it works. It's a lot of skating, but it's rewarding because you are always doing something and not just waiting for turnovers. It feels like you are engaged in games."

MacLean also has the ability to get his message across with a mix of seriousness and humor, a welcome format for his players.

"I think that's his personality," Alfredsson said. "He's not trying to be nice and funny to everybody to look good; that's the way he is. He knows when it is time to be on in terms of preparation for us for a game, but also when it's time to be off. He makes sure the mood is light; it should be fun to come to the rink."

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