If you know Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean, you know that the old defenseman in him comes out from time to time.
I’ve known Paul since he returned to the Red Wings as an assistant coach six seasons ago. He’s not a very talkative guy, but he will surprise you once in a while.
Every now and then he’d spot me in the hallways inside Joe Louis Arena. Most of the time I walk with my head down, which is a big no-no in hockey circles. “Don’t you know that you should never put your head down?” MacLean would tell me. From that point, it became a running joke.
“Head up,” he’d say whenever he’d see me.
“Head's up, Coach,” was the usual reply.
So now that MacLean has return to Detroit as the appointed leader of the enemy Senators, what will Friday’s opening night be like for him in his old stomping grounds?
“I'm just hoping I'm not scared to death,” he said. “I think I'll be alright. The Joe is always an exciting night. Being here at The Joe is a little bit special. They're not raising any banners so that's probably a good thing.”