Check out The Columbus Dispatch's version of the story here: DOUG MAC
Columbus missing the playoffs again this season doesn't make this move much of a surprise. The Jackets were supposed to be a playoff team -- where have we heard that before? -- and just weren't. They fired their coach early in the season and brought in Ken Hitchcock but it wasn't enough. Columbus is the only team in the NHL to have never participated in the Stanley Cup playoffs; they came to life in 1999-2000.
MacLean remains a popular figure in South Florida, as in his first year as coach of the Panthers, he led Florida to the 1996 Eastern Conference championship and a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals. MacLean and the Panthers had another stellar season in 1996-97 (he coached the east in the All-Star Game) but he ended up getting fired early in the 1997-98 season for various reasons.
MacLean landed on his feet then, and I think he'll do so again. If he doesn't get back into a hockey front office or into coaching right away, he would be perfect for television. Very outgoing, well spoken and funny, MacLean would be a perfect in-studio host somewhere, be it Versus (make this happen Versus!) or in Canada.
-- One name being bounced around as MacLean's possible successor as GM: Rick Dudley. The former Florida GM (and interim coach) is currently assistant GM with the Blackhawks. No word on whether Mike Keenan has any interest. Heard he is enjoying the TV life right now.
-- According to AP, the Jackets went 172-258-62 under MacLean's watch. The Jackets were 33-42-7 this season.
-- The NHL Draft will be held in Columbus in June. Wonder if Doug attends? I think he does.
-- Speaking of former, fired Panthers, a certain goalie has people going ga-ga this postseason in Vancouver. Roberto Luongo leads all playoff goalies with a .950 saves percentage and is second with a 1.49 GAA heading into tonight's possible clinching Game 5.
Writes Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province: Another strong outing tonight will propel the Canucks into the second round for the first time in four years and launch a campaign to have a street named after Luongo.
Read more here: louie's doing OK, eh