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Former Senators coach MacLean has no regrets

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com

OTTAWA – Former Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean said Tuesday he hasn't second-guessed himself about any of his decisions behind the bench.

MacLean, who was 114-90-35 in four seasons with the Senators, was fired Monday and replaced by Dave Cameron, who was an assistant on MacLean's staff.

"I have no regrets over the way I did anything. I have no regrets. I can't change anything. It's all done," MacLean said. "All I can change is maybe what I would do going forward. But I'm not changing nothing that I did behind me and I don't regret anything I did, the way I did it, how I did it. I did it the best way I thought it would be to get the team to play in June. That's all it was about."

Playing in June was the theme of MacLean's prepared comments to the media, touching on the success he enjoyed as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.

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"I brought with me a resume that included playing in June," he said. "I was on one team that won a Stanley Cup, went to three Stanley Cup Finals, coached in four Western Finals. I had a habit of playing in June. That was what I tried to establish here. To play in June, your best players have to be your best players. I pushed them to be.

"I leave today with my resume fuller by three years as a head coach in the National Hockey League, a Jack Adams Award, a runner-up for a Jack Adams Award, two playoff appearances in April, which I know is a place to start. I am a better coach today and I will be better prepared for the next opportunity, and I will still coach to play in June."

Asked if the Senators, who have the lowest payroll in the League, had a roster that was capable of playing in June, MacLean said, "I was coaching what I had trying to get them to play in June. That's what I was doing. I certainly believed in the players. The level of skill that we had, the level of work ethic that we had … We weren't an elite team. We were working to be an elite team, but I certainly felt that we were competitive."

The Senators are 11-11-5 and four points out of the last Stanley Cup Playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

General manager Bryan Murray said a lack of communication with the players, and the Senators consistently turning over the puck and being outshot, were reasons he decided to make a change.

"I thought my door was open all the time," MacLean said. "You guys saw it. It was open. Communication is a two-way street. You have to have someone that talks and someone that wants to listen. I was always prepared to listen. Listening and patience is one of my strengths. I felt we communicated what the players needed to hear. We didn't win enough games."

MacLean wasn't surprised he was fired.

"I don't think anything ever surprises me," he said. "In this business stuff happens. All I know is it's all about winning and if you don't win enough you don't get to hang around."

Former Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean said Tuesday he hasn't second-guessed himself about any of his decisions behind the bench. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI)

Senators forward Bobby Ryan said with the way things were going it was inevitable some kind of shakeup was going to happen.

"A change maybe was necessary, but I don't know if it was the right one," Ryan said. "That's something that time will tell. It's going to be interesting. I think the response will be there. The guys will own up to that. We all knew it could have been anybody at this point. It could have been Paul or it could have been a player or some kind of change was coming and that was inevitable. A change was necessary, but that's all I'll say. I don't know if it was the right one. Time will do that."

Senators captain Erik Karlsson was seen having an animated conversation with MacLean on the bench during a 4-3 overtime win Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks. Karlsson said his working relationship with MacLean was fine.

"You don't always share the same opinion and you might sometimes look like you're in a disagreement, but I don't think I've ever had an issue with him," Karlsson said. "He's helped me tremendously in my career and he's been really good for me personally. I think he's a great guy and whatever he does next I wish him all the best and I know he's going to do well. Unfortunately, it had to come to this and we had a great few years."

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson said it will take some time for the coaching change to have an effect and liked what he saw in the first practice under Cameron.

"It was really up-tempo," he said. "A lot of energy out there. We had some good communication with all the coaches.

"It's a process. You're not going to flip a switch and all of a sudden we're going to be a Stanley Cup contender. It's going to be a process. We have to focus on the process and it starts with a little bit each day. If we can get a little bit better each day, then we're going in the right direction."

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