Old pals Maclean, Oates still produce
Former teammates now head coaches
They played together, were traded together, and now Paul MacLean and Adam Oates are fellow head coaches in the NHL — MacLean in his second Ottawa season and Oates, a recent Hall of Fame inductee as a player, in his first weeks as Washington’s bench boss.
“I like to say I made him a millionaire, but I’m not sure if it’s true,” MacLean said. “He might have had it already.”
Oates was MacLean’s centre, and often his linemate, with the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. When they were traded together to the Blues in 1989 (in exchange for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney), MacLean and Oates formed a line with Rod Brind’Amour and combined to produce 83 goals and 230 points in the 1989-90 season.
MacLean, getting near the end of road as a player, produced 34 goals that season and Oates had his first of four 100-point seasons, with 102. They would join forces again in 2002-03, when MacLean was an assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks while Oates was a veteran piece on a Ducks team that reached the Stanley Cup finals against New Jersey.
“Yeah, we lost Game 7 in the finals, that was tough,” Oates said. “It was a little weird, because Paul and I played together on two teams and we got traded together. All of a sudden 10 years later he’s coaching me.
“But I was an older guy at the time and our relationship was great.
“I wish he’d made me a few more (million),” Oates laughed. “Hey, he was a great hockey player, you guys know that. . He was a good, twoway, tough winger. A guy you liked playing with.”
Facing each other as coaches adds an interesting “wrinkle” to the Senators-Capitals matchup, Oates said.