The call of “Get off the Ice, MacLean” undoubtedly still rings in the ears of fans who sat in the upper deck during Paul MacLean's lengthy tenure with the Jets.
The lumbering winger with the trademark burly moustache looked as slow as a boat anchor as he constantly tugged on the front of his sweater. To the untrained eye, he was a beer leaguer among professionals.
Yet only three players in Jets history tallied more points and goals than Paul MacLean.
MacLean originally came to the Jets in the summer of 1981 as a throw-in in the deal that sent Scott Campbell to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Ed Staniowski and Bryan Maxwell. Jets' General Manager John Ferguson originally wanted Jim Nill from the Blues, but he had to settle for MacLean instead.
Ironically, Ferguson would later acquire Nill in exchange for Morris Lukowich in February 1985.
Meanwhile, the Jets were forced to settle for 248 goals from MacLean over seven seasons.
MacLean made quite the living picking up Dale Hawerchuk's “garbage” and he scored most of his goals from within five feet of the net. But few Jets were as adept at picking up that “garbage” as MacLean.
Though still frustrated with his plodding style, fans grew to appreciate MacLean's skill a little more when Andrew McBain arrived as a highly touted first-round draft choice and later, when the Jets acquired Ray Neufeld in exchange for Dave Babych.
The opportunities that MacLean put home were gassed time and again by McBain. Neufeld gave it his all, but there was a reason he picked up the derisive nickname of “Stone Hands.”
Perhaps appreciated more in retrospect, MacLean grew to become a fixture on the team in his role as the garbage collector.
Even if the fans did want him to get off the ice.