Lockout frustrates Senators coach MacLean

For the last couple of weeks, Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean and his wife Sharon have been doing something they generally can’t do in September and October: Visiting their three children, sons A.J. and David, daughter Erin.

Lockout frustrates Senators coach MacLean
Senators coach Paul MacLean lends a hand at the Ottawa Food Bank (Wayne Cuddington/Ottawa Citizen)

For the last couple of weeks, Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean and his wife Sharon have been doing something they generally can’t do in September and October: Visiting their three children, sons A.J. and David and daughter Erin.

But like everyone else, MacLean is frustrated that the lockout continues, with no end in sight. He’d rather be behind the bench.

“I think, like everybody, I’m a fan,” he said on Thursday, as he and Sharon joined about a dozen people from the Ottawa front office, including assistant coach Dave Cameron and director of player personnel Randy Lee, at the Ottawa Food Bank to sort food for a few hours.

“I work in the game, but I’m a fan of the game, too, and I’m with everybody (in saying) ‘Let’s just play.’

“But I also understand there’s a process involved. I’ve been around long enough to know just to be patient and just wait it out, though like everybody you get frustrated.

“Sharon and I are just trying to stay busy with things we haven’t been able to do over the past number of Septembers and Octobers, and that’s trying to help a little bit.

“But, yeah, I want to be coaching and I want to be playing.”

MacLean said he and his staff have long finished their preparations for the season and have put scenarios in place for however long training camp may be when the lockout does end.

One thing is certain, though: Training camp won’t be open to everyone. MacLean said only 23 or 24 players already under contract will be invited.

That’s simply a byproduct of having only a limited amount of time to get ready for the season.

The players now in Binghamton who don’t get an invitation will be important, because there will likely be plenty of injuries as the team scrambles in a short period of time to get ready.

“Short of getting on the ice. there’s not much more that we can do until we get the green light,” he said.

MacLean had been hoping for an early resolution so the Senators could capitalize on the whatever momentum they generated last season, when they made the playoffs and almost got past the New York Rangers in the first round.

But the lockout has gone on so long now that it has pretty well robbed every team of whatever momentum it had hoped to carry over.

Even a team such as the Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles Kings will miss getting a bounce from an excellent season.

“I think every team has the same thing now,” said MacLean.

“I don’t think any team has the advantage.

“My thought on it is, once this starts, you better be prepared to go fast.”

MacLean didn’t offer any additional information on defenceman Jared Cowen’s hip surgery, letting general manager Bryan Murray’s statement on the injury be the definitive word.

But MacLean did say it hurts Binghamton.

“It’s not a great big blow to our team, because we’re not playing now,” he said.

“I think it’s more of a blow to the team in Binghamton, because anytime you lose a player of his calibre, it’s obviously hard to replace.

“But at the same time, every injury is someone else’s opportunity.”

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