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‘Yotes Notes: Media gig proved valuable for Coyotes’ John MacLean

Former New Jersey Devils coach John MacLean, right, talks with goaltender Martin Brodeur during practice as the Devils prepare for the NHL hockey season Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — John MacLean gained a new perspective on the NHL from his seat as an analyst for MSG Networks the last three seasons.

“It’s hard work,” the new Coyotes assistant coach said Wednesday on a conference call with local media. “You can’t fool anybody and that’s the perspective on the broadcast side and the media side. You have to do your work.”

MacLean, 52, said the media gig helped him keep abreast of the entire league, including its personnel and tendencies. He enjoyed it, but there was a greater passion still burning within him. Multiple conversations with coach Rick Tocchet about the Coyotes’ vacant assistant positions stoked that fire.

“I had a nice little thing going with the broadcast thing, settled in New Jersey, everything was OK,” said MacLean, who like Tocchet, won a Stanley Cup as a player (1995) and as an assistant (2003). “As I talked to him I got more excited about my passion to get back in the day-to-day operations of coaching hockey and being a part of it and trying to make a difference with some young NHL’ers.

“And then when I looked at the roster and the talent level they have there… you can see the direction they are going. It’s a reboot for the organization and I think it’s a tremendous reboot with the talent and the youth they have.”

CHANGES IN TUCSON

The Coyotes announced some expected changes to their Tucson coaching staff on Wednesday, firing coaches Mark Lamb and Mark Hardy after one year on the job, and naming former development coach Mike Van Ryn as the new head coach, with John Slaney and Steve Potvin joining him as assistants.

Coyotes assistant GM Steve Sullivan said the moves would ensure that the NHL and AHL coaching staffs would be coaching the same systems and philosophies now that Dave Tippett, who hired Lamb, has left the organization.

“The changes we made were just to match Rick’s style of play and the symmetry that he’s going to need with the coaches down there,” said Sullivan, who is the Roadrunners’ GM. “We’re excited about Mike Van Ryn’s style. Working with him this past season, I really enjoyed his ability to communicate and build strong relationships with younger players. Those assets are crucial to the development of those young guys.”

Van Ryn has been with the Coyotes since Aug. 24, 2016, when he joined the organization as the team’s development coach. He previously coached the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, where he also led Coyotes prospect and current Roadrunner Ryan MacInnis and the team to the second round of the OHL playoffs in 2016.

While Sullivan complimented the performances of Lamb and Hardy, there was also discontent with the Roadrunners’ play last season. After a 10-5 start, the Roadrunners slipped to a 29-31-8 record and missed the playoffs by 11 points. Tucson finished with the league’s fourth-worst goals against per game (3.485) despite a veteran-laden defensive corps that included Zbynek Michalek and Jamie McBain.

LOOSE PUCKS

— Terry Bross, the agent for former Coyotes captain and unsigned free agent Shane Doan, said there is no change in status for Doan. Bross said he has talked with four or five teams about a contract for Doan next season, but he did not name the teams or elaborate on what sort of roles those teams might be offering. Bross said it’s possible Doan won’t make a decision on his future until right before training camp begins in mid-September.

— Coyotes GM John Chayka said there is still nothing further to report on contract talks with restricted free agent Anthony Duclair.

“We’re still trying to determine the best value for the player and the team moving forward,” Chayka said. “He’s obviously a guy that’s had a unique two years. He had a great year his first year (20 goals) and obviously struggled last year (five goals). It makes it a bit more difficult, but we’re working away with [agent] Kent [Hughes]. Kent’s been great through the process, trying to find something that works for both sides.”

— While the Coyotes have been busy reshaping their roster, their NHL and AHL coaching staffs, and hiring president/CEO Steve Patterson, Chayka said there is still work to do round out the team’s pro scouting staff. Arizona has not had a director of pro scouting since Frank Effinger was fired in 2015. Chayka said the team is in the process of identifying and talking to candidates but he isn’t sure if Effinger’s vacant post will be filled, saying there will be “no decisions on structure or numbers until we go through the process.”

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