MacLean Quits As Coach

Archived from 2003-04 season.

NHL teams

Doug MacLean stepped down as coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday and assistant Gerard Gallant was elevated to the head coaching spot on an interim basis.

"I'm disappointed because I love coaching," MacLean said. "But I've always said I'd do what's best for the organization and the team and I think this is for the best."

MacLean will remain president and general manager of the team. He fired Dave King, the Blue Jackets' first coach, last January and took over on an interim basis. He took the job full time in June.

"We have a lot of guys who haven't played to their potential. I hope I was the reason for that," said MacLean, whose team has the worst record in the NHL. "Now, they won't have that for an excuse."

MacLean, who coached the Florida Panthers to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals, had a 24-43-8-4 record in almost one full season behind the Blue Jackets' bench.

Gallant has been an assistant with the Blue Jackets since their inception 3 1/2 years ago and a veteran of more than 600 NHL games.

"It takes 20 guys that compete every night," Gallant said. "It can't be 15 or 14 guys. It can't be Rick Nash scoring every goal for us. It's got to be different guys. I'm going to demand that they all compete and play hard."

"It's a fresh start and that's what we have to look at it as," Blue Jackets' captain Luke Richardson said. "Doug's tried everything possible this year. He's brought in motivational speakers, he's given us days off and he's skated us into the ice at times. Sometimes you just need a jolt in a different way."

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