NEWARK, N.J. -- John MacLean is as passionate a hockey analyst as he was a player during 19 seasons in the NHL.
From offering a quick summation of a scoring opportunity between the benches for MSG Network to providing analysis for NHL Network, the former NHL forward, who played 14 seasons with the Devils, never looks out of place.
One of his most memorable moments came April 3, 1988 in Chicago, when he scored an overtime goal against the Chicago Blackhawks to help New Jersey qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time.
"Some things I remember more vividly than others and that goal was one; but I remember more how much fun that 1988 team was," MacLean said. "I remember the 1994 team, losing to the New York Rangers [in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final], and I can remember 1995 and that Stanley Cup Final against Detroit when we were so dominant."
MacLean was one of the most feared goal-scorers. He had three straight 40-goal seasons with the Devils before being forced to miss the 1991-92 season because of a knee injury.
"I think what I'm most proud of is being able to survive in the League for as long as I did," he said. "It's a hard league. The timing for me was good, and it just seemed to work out. I'm a big believer that to play in the NHL and play for a long time you have to understand and figure out a way to take advantage of opportunities.
"I was able to do that."
MacLean was selected by the Devils with No. 6 pick in the 1983 NHL Draft and made his NHL debut against the Rangers on Oct. 5, 1983. He scored 413 goals and 842 points in 1,194 NHL games in a career that included 13-plus seasons with the Devils as well as two-plus seasons with the Rangers, two with the Dallas Stars and one with the San Jose Sharks.
"I feel I had a pretty decent career and I'm pretty proud that I was part of such a great league," MacLean said. "It's been awesome. I was fortunate to win a Stanley Cup (in 1995), score some goals in a league that's been around for 100 years; that's pretty special."
MacLean had many mentors and coaches he acknowledged, including his father and brother, the coaching staff he played for in Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League and many influential people for the Devils: former vice president and general manager Max McNab, former president/GM Lou Lamoriello, and former coaches Jim Schoenfeld, Jacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson.
"Schoenfeld was the first guy to throw me out there all the time; it was a springboard to my professional career as far as becoming a goal scorer," MacLean said. "Learning how to win ... that's something that until you go through it you can't completely understand what it really means to be a championship team."
MacLean hasn't shut the door on returning as a coach in some capacity; he was an assistant and a coach with the Devils and an assistant for the Carolina Hurricanes. But now, he's enjoying life as an NHL analyst.
"It's extremely fun and there's less pressure," he said. "I love standing between the benches because that's where I watched the games, sitting on the bench or standing behind the bench. I can see a game from ice level and get to see what happens, understand it and talk about it. I'm learning the process and enjoying it. I'm not trying to re-invent it.
"I always tease my friends because I've never had to hold a real job since I've always been in hockey so I'm very grateful for that."