Spotlight on the Opponent: Paul MacLean

What: Red Wings at Ottawa
When: Sunday, December 1, 5:30pm (TV: FSD)


He’s the partial answer to an infamous Red Wings trivia question, but I bet there’s something else about Paul MacLean that you don’t know.

Like, that he was born in France, and didn’t move to Canada until he was two years old?

But clearly what most people know about MacLean, the Ottawa Senators coach, is that he was one-quarter of one of the worst trades in Red Wings history.

MacLean was a perennial 30-goal scorer (sometimes 40) that the Red Wings had acquired from the Winnipeg Jets after the 1987-88 season for Brent Ashton. But MacLean played just one season for Detroit, scoring 36 goals (often playing RW on Steve Yzerman’s line), before The Trade happened.

In one of GM Jimmy Devellano’s worst moves ever, MacLean and C Adam Oates were shipped to St. Louis for aging C Bernie Federko and RW Tony McKegney.

Hockeytown still talks about the trade, like Tigers fans bring up John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander ad nauseam.

Then MacLean returned to Detroit, as an assistant under Mike Babcock, in 2005.

When MacLean left Detroit the second time, in 2011, it was under much happier circumstances for Red Wings fans, for MacLean had assisted Babcock to a Stanley Cup in 2008 and almost another a year later.

MacLean is in his third season at the helm of the Senators. His overall record is 75-60-20. He’s 8-9 in the playoffs.