Adam Oates has known Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean for a “long time.” Oates was in his fourth NHL season when MacLean joined him with the Detroit Red Wings.
When Oates was traded to the St. Louis Blues, MacLean went with him.
“You got a buddy when you go into that strange locker room. You got someone with you so you got a little bit of an allegiance,” the Washington Capitals coach said. “But we were both pretty sour at the time when it happened. We liked Detroit. And we got traded in the summer and it was a shock. It was definitely a shock for me. And I know he liked it there as well. But it’s a part of the job.”
MacLean enjoyed a 34-goal season at the age of 39 with Oates and Rod Brind’Amour as his linemates with the Blues. Brett Hull had a 72-goal year, aided by 27 on the power play with Oates.
But Oates’ connection to MacLean didn’t end there. When Oates was in the twilight of his playing career with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2002-03, MacLean was on Mike Babcock’s coaching staff.
It was then that Oates saw him as head coaching material.
“You know what, I did,” he said. “He’s a smart guy. And he’s very … level-headed. He’s the same guy every day. He’s not too high or too low. I thought he’d be a good coach.”
Asked if he thought MacLean had the best mustache in hockey, Oates said: “If you like mustaches.”