Skip to content

John MacLean's journey to be Devil's coach had rocky start

Jun 20, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

Comments Off

Rich
Chere at The Star-Ledger
has a great story up today on John
MacLean’s path to becoming the first former Devils player to become head
coach, focusing on the day in 1997 that MacLean publicly demanded a
trade.

“I feel I’m just dying on the vine here, and
it’s time to move on,”
MacLean said that morning. “There has been no contract offer, and I’m
not going to sit by and wait around for one. I talked to Lou and have
requested a trade. I told him I won’t be coming back, that it’s time for
me to go.

MacLean would be traded not a week later
to the San Jose Sharks and never again appeared in a Devils jersey
before retiring in 2002. He was upset at the time that after 15 years of
playing for the organization the team had focused on contract
extensions for Scott Stevens, Martin Brodeur and Doug Gilmour and not
with MacLean.

Yet eventually, any hard feelings were set aside
when MacLean was invited to be part of training camp in 2002 before
becoming an assistant coach with the team. Said MacLean about the
turnaround:

“I definitely thought I’d be back at some
point,” MacLean said. “Things
happen and at that time things were happening. It may not have been
handled correctly, on my part either, but there is a lot of history here
with me. This is where I feel most comfortable.

“You can’t hide
from what happened. I learned from it and from the places I went. They
were great learning experiences for me. It shapes who you are. You just
go on.”

There are many who are pumped to have MacLean
as the new coach of the Devils, hopeful he can bring a fresh approach
to a team that has frankly grown a bit stale. 12 years ago, it didn’t
seem that this moment would even remotely be possible.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (2410)
  2. R. Johansen (2159)
  3. E. Malkin (2153)
  4. F. Forsberg (1884)
  5. J. Drouin (1858)
  1. P. Datsyuk (1848)
  2. C. Giroux (1820)
  3. G. Nyquist (1719)
  4. J. Harding (1703)
  5. T. Krug (1691)