Doug MacLean, current Sportsnet analyst and a die-hard Gary Bettman fan, has decided to put any future return to NHL front offices on the line as he joins the Jim Balsillie camp as an advisor to their pursuit of the Phoenix Coyotes. Everyone in hockey circles knows Balsillie’s intentions with the Coyotes and they also know that Gary Bettman is avidly opposed to his plan. What’s strange about this move is that Doug MacLean is a lifetime Bettman / NHL homer and has always backed Bettman’s ways. MacLean is even on record from his radio show trashing Balsillie and his (hostile) methods of trying to acquire the Coyotes (and Predators and Penguins). Today, MacLean denied ever saying he was against Balsillie and has such earned a ban from Primetime Sports with Bob McCown on Fan590.
MacLean, a former NHL front office guy and known to want to return, must know that this decision won’t sit well with Bettman and could burn any remaining bridges available for a return. Alternatively, perhaps MacLean has realized that his knowledge of hockey isn’t at the level of the Ken Holland’s and Lou Lamoriello’s and is using this as a way to get into the new Hamilton franchise’s front office. Sportsnet reports that MacLean “is expected to help bridge the gap between getting the Coyotes out of the courts and on to Hamilton ice in the event Balsillie lands the team.”
MacLean’s greatest accomplishments:
- Coached the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996
- Coached 5 years in the NHL, with Florida and Columbus, never finishing higher than 3rd in their respective divisions (finished last twice)
- Recorded a 172-258-62 record with the Columbus Blue Jackets (But I guess he drafted Rick Nash?)
- Orchestrated the trade of Kris Draper to the Detroit Red Wings for $1
I’m thinking MacLean realized this was his last shot at managing a franchise. Hopefully we get more light on the story over the next few days as the Phoenix case unravels a bit more.