Sens Head Coach Paul MacLean made an appearance at Scotiabank Place on Saturday morning to meet with some local media and discuss his Jack Adams Award, which he won on Friday.
Here's what he had to say...
On the reaction to the win:
We were pretty excited in my house. My wife and my daughter were obviously at home and my two boys were on the phone right away. It was a very exciting time, the whole family was pretty excited about it. We had a little party.
On the journey to becoming a head coach:
The whole time you're doing it you always think you can do it, but you don't know until you actually get the opportunity to and sometimes patience is the hardest thing to have. I felt I was very patient, I felt that I had the ability to do this and now that I get to do it this kind of gives me a little credibility to say that 'Yes, you could do it.' It also scares me to death because you have to do it again.
On the challenges of the season:
The injuries were a big part of it this year, that ended up being the biggest challenge. For me, the biggest challenge was after the lockout. We were all organized and ready to go in September and then all of a sudden there's a lockout and you don't do anything until January. So having that short training camp and trying to decide how to do the right things, those were challenges, I know it was for our coaching staff. How are we going to do things? What are we going to emphasize? Those were the biggest challenges of getting up and getting running.
On the influx of young players and development:
I think it was good for us. One thing the injuries did do was it forced us to make a decision -- I think we made the right one as it turns out -- of having respect and trusting our scouts and the job that they had done through the NHL draft and some of the college free agents we've signed. Trusting their ability to find talent and let's try our guys first. It would have been very easy for Bryan (Murray) to trade for a veteran defenceman, trade for a veteran forward but we decided try our guys. We feel we have good young guys here, let's give them an opportunity to play and if they can't do it we'll have to go out and do something else. They all came in and played very well and we used a lot of players. I think we found out that our scouts indeed have done a very good job and we found out about a lot of different players and that makes it even harder going into next season. We have a lot of guys who have had some NHL experience, who have played in the league. It's going to be fun.
On coaches he heard from:
I heard from a number of them. Obviously Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan were the first two that got through. It was good to hear.
On what makes a good coach:
Good players make a good coach more than anything else. To me the most important thing for me is to be myself and I think that's the most important thing any coach can be is just be who you are and try not to be anything different.
On if he anticipated this success:
No, but I knew I was going to be successful. I knew I was going to work at it. I trusted that I hired good people, I knew I was working for good people in Bryan Murray and Eugene Melnyk and I knew that Tim Murray and Pierre Dorion were good scouts. I knew I'd have the opportunity to succeed I just needed to make sure I worked at it and continued to do what I believed in and be myself and we would have success at some point. Did I think it would be where it is now? No, I didn't anticipate any kind of thing like this but when you have good players and work with good people good things happen.
On what he works at:
I think it's all of it. I think the most important thing you work at in this job is talking to players. Being open and not being closed minded. Being available and communicating with the players, empowering them to be better people and trying to find ways to help them succeed is where do your work. The X's and O's and all that kind of stuff, that's pretty generic. I think the most important thing is how you talk to people and how much you talk to them and how much input you give them. By giving them input you empower them to be better players and better people and that ends up being successful.
On changes in coaching from his time as a player:
It was way more hands off when I played but then there were a lot of good coaches when I played too. That's not a criticism of the way they did things in the 80's, that's the just the way they did things in the 80's. I think the game has evolved a lot from the work a lot of those people did and the reason why the game is better and better and continues to get better is because of the work from the people inside of it. The guys that came before me did a really good job of setting the table.
On the future of himself and the team:
We want to continue to grow as a good young team. We're a good young team in the National Hockey League right now. Are we a contender yet? That's where we'd like to be. We'd like to have people think, when they think of the Ottawa Senators, that they're going to have a hard time beating us and we want to be the team there at the end.
On if he has had conversations with Alfredsson:
I have had none. When Daniel makes that decision I'm going to be fine with whatever it is.
On giving Alfredsson space:
It's his decision, it's not my decision. I think after the years he has put in here he has earned that right and a lot of times the decision was made for me. I didn't get to make the decision, it was made for me. It was 'You're done.' That happens to a lot of guys and I think what Daniel's done with his body of work in the league he's one of those people that you let him decide. We went through it a bit in Detroit with Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom. We were like this with Nick in Detroit my last two or three years 'Is Nick coming back? Is Nick coming back? Is Nick coming back?' He earned the right to make that decision and I think Daniel has as well.
On older players making that decision:
I never had the opportunity. It's only a special few players that get to do that at that age, I think it's not every player gets to play until he's 40. You have to be a special player to get to that point and if you do you've earned the right to make the decision.
On if he got the trophy:
No not at this point but we're looking forward to having it. The people in Antigonish, N.S., and my sons and the people in Malignant Cove where I have a cottage are looking forward to having a celebration with it and we'd obviously like to have it here in Ottawa so the people here can have a look at it but at this point its all dependent on what they allow us to do.
On missing out on the awards show:
This year has been different in a lot of ways and I think that was the experience Sharon and I had last year being in Vegas for it obviously was a nice touch to it. This year being different, it's still pretty good.
On the legacies of coaches who have won it:
It's been a kiss of death a little bit too in the past. A lot of people have had it and it was mentioned already but there's a lot of great coaches. This is a tough league. If you get the opportunity to be on that trophy, that really means a lot to me and down the road that's something that's going to be there all the time.
On his contract status:
I think that'll be something that'll get done in short order. I don't really anticipate any issues with that. I have another year in the contract anyways so I have no anticipation that there's going to be an issue... I've waited a long time to do this and we have the opportunity to continue to do it and I want to do it for a little longer.
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