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Struggling Senators appoint MacLean head coach

Ottawa Senators new head coach MacLean speaks at a news conference in Ottawa
Ottawa Senators new head coach MacLean speaks at a news conference in Ottawa

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Ottawa Senators named Paul MacLean as their new head coach on Tuesday, hoping the former Detroit Red Wings assistant can turn around a slumping team that missed the NHL playoffs in two of the past three seasons.

MacLean, who spent the last six seasons as an assistant coach to Mike Babcock with the Red Wings, signed a three-year agreement with the Senators and becomes the team's ninth head coach since they re-joined the NHL in 1992-93.

"He has been a winner during his coaching career and comes to Ottawa from an organization that has a history of both success on the ice and in developing players," said Senators general manager Bryan Murray.

"He is a competitive person and we expect that our teams will display that same trait night-in and night-out."

MacLean replaces Cory Clouston in Ottawa, who was fired at the end of the regular season in April after leading the team to a 32-40-10 record that left the Senators in 13th place in the 15-team Eastern Conference.

For the 53-year-old MacLean, who won a Stanley Cup in 2008 as an assistant in Detroit, this marks his first head-coaching job in the NHL.

MacLean spent 11 years in the NHL as a player with Detroit, Winnipeg, and St. Louis. He registered 673 points in 719 games before ending his career after the 1990-91 season.

"Paul represents a big part of the change we needed to bring to our hockey club," said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

"Bryan and I agreed it was important for him to bring in someone who is a solid communicator, can easily build a strong rapport with our players and has a proven track record of winning NHL games and Stanley Cups.

"Paul represents all of this, and I'm pleased to welcome him to Ottawa and the Senators organization."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)