While teams are preparing to sign free agents, the Ottawa Senators were busy re-signing their coach, Paul MacLean. The team announced on Thursday that MacLean has signed on for three more seasons.
And why not? MacLean has had a lot of success with Ottawa. The Sens made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons despite low expectations in Year 1 and being ravaged by injuries in Year 2. The Senators making the playoffs this season with their injury issues was enough to land MacLean the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top coach.
He was dealt a difficult hand with so many injured stars, but he was able to guide the Sens along while they brought up a lot of fresh faces. Of course, it helped having Craig Anderson in net. At this point, we're all waiting to see what MacLean can do with a healthy roster. We should get to find out assuming that nasty injury bug stays away.
Overall, MacLean has a 66-48-16 record with the Senators in his two seasons and the two postseason appearances. This season, they upset the second-seeded Montreal Canadiens in the first round before bowing out to the Penguins in Round 2.
MacLean deserves the extension on merit -- that's not in question -- but that mustache could get an extension by itself. It was part of two of my favorite stories of the season, when a fan with the same mustache sat right behind the Senators' bench. Then it also led to MacLean being called a "bug-eyed fat walrus" by Montreal's Brandon Prust in the playoffs. It all went to show that not only is MacLean a good coach, he's quite the quote, too.