Spotlight on the Opponent: Paul MacLean

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

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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.

Game 24: Red Wings-Ottawa Enotes

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Someone should tell the Red Wings that 40-foot slap shots aren’t going to get it done on a 5-on-3.

Actually, FSD’s Mickey Redmond tried to tell them that, but sadly Mickey’s pleas went unheard from up in the press box.

The Red Wings enjoyed three 5-on-3s, scored on one of them, but inexplicably refused to try anything down low on the other two, and eventually fell to the Ottawa Senators, 4-2 at JLA. Bobby Ryan’s power play goal on a 5-on-3 for Ottawa at 3:51 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the game winner.

The Senators (9-10-4) snapped a three-game losing streak. The Red Wings (10-7-7) fell back into the abyss after a win over Carolina on Thursday temporarily stopped their bleeding.

But it was maddening watching the Red Wings fire slap shot after slap shot at Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner, many with absolutely no traffic in front of the net. Lehner stopped all of them with ease.

Like so many home games this season, the Red Wings came out buzzing, recording the game’s first seven SOG. But despite a solid first period in which Detroit took a brief 1-0 lead, the Senators led 2-1 after 20 minutes and the Red Wings could never regain the lead.

Darren Helm (4) and Pavel Datsyuk (11) scored for Detroit.

Brendan Smith fought the good fight against Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil midway through the second period. Neil won the fight, but Smith got in a few decent punches.

Red Wings D Jakub Kindl left the game in the third period with an apparent injury.

The Wings kind of lost their composure in the final minutes, picking up a couple of slashing penalties—one by goalie Jimmy Howard, who had another “meh” game. Rarely did he make a big save.

The Sens’ second goal was flukey, pinballing off skates and sticks before eventually rolling behind the goal line off a Red Wings player.

If you’re a struggling team needing a win badly, you couldn’t ask for anything better than the Buffalo Sabres. The Red Wings travel to Buffalo for a 5:00 game on Sunday.

BOX SCORE

BOTTOM LINE: Coach Mike Babcock juggled lines looking for a spark, but the Red Wings’ offense was like a basketball team shooting 20-foot jumpers all night.

THE WINGED WHEELER SAYS: These are not your father’s Red Wings, sadly. Oh, how the Wings could use a player like the one they honored a couple nights ago—Brendan Shanahan. A sniper would be nice, too. Hey, with Christmas coming up, maybe they could ask Santa? In all seriousness, this Red Wings team doesn’t crash the net, doesn’t create havoc down low and has way too many left-handed shooters. The lack of a right-handed shot manifested itself several times in this game, when passes to lefties were mishandled all night.

Spotlight on the Opponent: Bobby Ryan

What: Ottawa at Detroit
When: Saturday, November 23, 7:00pm (TV: FSD)

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Almost from the very moment he stepped onto the ice as a rookie in 2007-08, Bobby Ryan has been one of the hardest players to go up against in the NHL.

His combination of raw skill, size and ferocity is something the Red Wings know all to well, as Ryan played for the Anaheim Ducks for six seasons, including playoff tilts.

Ryan, a left wing, is 26 years old, 6’2″ and 200 pounds, and pops in 30+ goals a year like routine. He’s gritty and difficult to take off the puck, to say the very least.

So the Red Wings were probably glad to be rid of Ryan when the team moved to the Eastern Conference after last season.

He’s baaaack!

Ryan was traded by the Ducks to Ottawa in July, for forwards Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a 1st round pick in the 2014 Entry Draft.

He’s picking up where he left off with Anaheim, having scored 10 goals and adding 10 assists for 20 points in 22 games for the Senators this season. Three of his markers have come on the power play.

Ryan’s trade to Ottawa was a sort of shocker in the NHL, but so far he has adapted well to life as a Senator.

Ryan, heading into tonight’s game at Detroit, has played in exactly 400 regular season NHL games—about five full seasons’ worth—and has scored 157 goals, which is 31 per 80 games. And he was Mr. Consistency with the Ducks, scoring 31, 35, 34 and 31 goals in his first four full seasons in the NHL.

The Red Wings figured not to see much of Bobby Ryan after they moved to the East. But Ryan has followed them over. The Red Wings are probably thrilled—not.

Ryan wears no. 6 with the Senators.