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MacLean's style 'good fit' for Senators: Spezza

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Jason Spezza hasn't had a chance yet to meet his team's new head coach.


But consider the Senators centre "very impressed" by what he's seen and heard so far about the type of game Paul MacLean plans to introduce in Ottawa next season. The longtime Red Wings assistant coach, who worked alongside Mike Babcock for eight seasons in Detroit and Anaheim, was introduced Tuesday as the Senators' new bench boss. The duo won a Stanley Cup together in 2008 in the Motor City.

"I don't know a lot about him as a person or a coach," Spezza said today during a radio interview with the Team 1200. "But I know some of Babs' philosophies in Detroit, having been given a chance to be around him at the (2010) Olympic camp and stuff, and I really like the way he teaches the game and wants his teams to play. I think Paul will bring that to our team and it can be a real good fit for our club.

"We have some good defencemen coming up who are puck-possession guys and we have lots of speed. I think (MacLean) knows how to coach a team like that. We're not the Bruins. We have some gritty guys, but we have to play more of a puck possession game to win and he seems like a good fit for that."

"We have some good defencemen coming up who are puck-possession guys and we have lots of speed. I think (MacLean) knows how to coach a team like that. We're not the Bruins. We have some gritty guys, but we have to play more of a puck possession game to win and he seems like a good fit for that." - Jason Spezza
Spezza has also spent some time educating himself on MacLean's background as a player. The native of Antigonish, N.S., enjoyed a 10-year National Hockey League career, highlighted by seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, for whom he produced a pair of 40-goal seasons and totalled a career-high 101 points in 1984-85.

"I'll be honest, I didn't know him much as a player but when I started hearing his name (as a coaching candidate in Ottawa), I started looking him up and he's got some pretty impressive numbers and an impressive resume," said Spezza. "It's exciting to have a guy like that come in who's been around the hockey world and is really respected."

MacLean's experience as a player should pay plenty of dividends for the Senators, he added.

"It's something that's exciting, when you get a guy that's played the game," said Spezza. "He can relate to players and knows the ebbs and flows of the dressing room and the ups and downs of a season. I think a lot of being a good coach is (about) handling the emotions of the room and keeping everybody together and on the same page.

"When guys aren’t playing as much or playing real well, it's just making sure that everybody stays together. He’s played the game, he’s been around the game for a long time, he’s got a lot of experience and been a part of some real good clubs. He can bring all that (to us)."


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