It is a question that I hadn’t considered until I saw that new Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates was listed as an assistant coach for their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. As far as I can remember, this isn’t really a trend that was very common, but it kind of makes sense on a lot of levels.
As the coach of the Senators, McLean could get a first hand look at many players he hasn’t seen much and how they handle certain situations. He could then use this knowledge when it comes time for what will be an abbreviated training camp to make it easier to assemble the Senators roster, which could include as many as 5 or 6 players currently in Binghamton. It would also make potential midseason callupds more comfortable when they make the trek to Ottawa. They would already have some familiarity with MacLean’s style and vice versa.
You can only gain so much watching from the stands and talking to other coaches in the organization about a player. Seeing how he reacts to in-game challenges would go a long way to deciding how a player should be handled on the ice.
I can also see some drawbacks to having the NHL coach on the bench in the AHL. You don’t want the current coach (in this case Luke Richardson) thinking that MacLean’s was looking over his shoulder and usurping any authority they have. However, Richardson is in his first year and I think he is the type of person who would welcome the assistance and learn from it.
I believe MacLean is still getting paid despite the fact that the league is currently in a lockout. His success with the young players during his first season in Ottawa makes me believe he would be a positive influence in Binghamton and a nice (if only temporary) addition to the Bingo coaching staff