Sens head coach Paul MacLean has been named as a finalist for the 2013 Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach, the league announced on Friday.
This will be MacLean's second consecutive year being nominated for the award as he was also a finalist in 2012 — his first season with the Sens. Last season he led the Sens to a 41-31-10 (.561) record and playoff berth despite the team being predicted by many to be a bottom-feeder in the Eastern Conference. The team bowed out of the playoffs after an intense seven game series with the New York Rangers.
In 2013 MacLean guided the Sens to a playoff berth once again despite the team being ravaged by injury all over the lineup. Key injuries to Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson came in the span of four weeks as the team lost a total of 382 man games to injury over the 48 game season. The shorthanded Sens held on to a playoff spot despite having to integrate numerous call-ups into the lineup, posting a 25-17-6 (.583) record.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Sens dispatched of the number two seed Montreal Canadiens in five games and are currently getting set for Game 2 of their series with number one seed Pittsburgh. They trail that series by a game.
If MacLean captures the award he will become the second coach in Sens history to take the honour. Jacques Martin won the Jack Adams back in 1999.
Sens GM Bryan Murray offered his thoughts on Paul MacLean's nomination this afternoon. Here's what he had to say...
On the nomination:
He certainly did an outstanding job this year. It's certainly a compliment to him and to his staff that they were able to put the team in the position he did, to develop the players he did and help the team win hockey games at the same time and give us a chance to get into the playoffs and be a competitive team almost every night.
On if MacLean's coaching job in 2013 was more impressive than 2012:
Absolutely. It was an outstanding job. There were times during the year we had seven key players out of our lineup and he was able to bring up a number of young players playing their first games in the National Hockey League, allowed them to play, gave them ice time, gave them an opportunity to play with a variety of linemates and defensive partners and survive. Not only did they survive but he put them in positions to be successful. It's development, it's playing in the NHL at the same time and then, again, when Craig Anderson went down he was very happy and willing to play either Robin Lehner or Ben Bishop for a period of time and, again, allow us to win and compete every night. The job was outstanding, I think it's great for the organization that Paul gets recognized this way. There's a lot of people contributing that. I thought he had a real outstanding coaching staff with him that work very hard, the scouting staff, the overall management group that were able to bring along some of these players for the depth of the organization. Then, of course, Paul being the figurehead and the coach stepped up and provided opportunity and developed an attitude that allowed these people to be successful.
On what makes him a good coach:
He's really willing to put them in a position. A good coach puts a player in a position to be successful. He makes certain demands of a player, he tries to set him up with the best opportunity, he works him hard in practice getting ready for games but the biggest thing is he's willing to play guys that whether they're quite ready or not, he puts them in a position to allow them to be successful and allow them to use their talents to the best of their particular ability. The other thing, of course, that goes without saying about Paul is he has people skills galore, he's one of those people that is open minded, talks to his players, respects the player, understands what it takes to be in the NHL and puts the player in the position where he has the best chance to be successful.
Murray is a Jack Adams winner himself as he took home the Coach of the Year honours back in 1984 while behind the Washington Capitals bench.
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