A phone rings in Portland, Maine and a 22-year-old’s National Hockey League’s dream is re-energized.
Brett MacLean, the newest Winnipeg Jet, was settling in to his AHL address in Maine – the affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes – on Thursday when the call came he was heading back to the show. He had been claimed by the Jets off waivers and was to pack up and head out immediately.
Less than 24 hours later he was working on a line with Nik Antropov and Alex Burmistrov, preparing to suit up in the Jets’ opener Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens.
"I was in shock," said MacLean after practice Friday. "I had accepted that I would start the year in the minors and hadn’t heard anything about the waivers. Then I got called in and was told I was going to Winnipeg. It’s a pretty quick day after that, you’re in shock trying to move from one place to the next.
"You have a few hours to pack up all your stuff and get on a plane and head here. Then I’m jumping into a scrimmage here. It’s been a crazy 24 hours, but it’s a great honour to be here and I’m excited.
"It’s crazy here," MacLean added. "I heard there were 20,000 people at the kickoff party. It’s definitely different, but it’s fun to be a part of. This is like a second chance for me. Things didn’t work out in Phoenix, but I’m still getting a chance to show what I can do and succeed. Now it’s up to me."
MacLean was brought in because of the touch around the net -- he did score in Friday’s scrimmage – he showed in junior and in the AHL. In his final year with the Oshawa Generals MacLean led the league in goals with 61 and finished second with 119 points. In three years with the San Antonio Rampage he had 21, 30 and 23 goal seasons.
"I’ve been a goal scorer my whole life so hopefully I can come in here and contribute that way," MacLean said. "I think I’m a pretty smart hockey player, strong on the boards and hopefully I can help out with the little things.
"It’s great. Burmy and Antro are great players and they really helped me out a lot. It’s been tough coming in to a little bit different system after just getting off a flight last night. I knew I was going to make mistakes, but I just wanted to go out there and play my game.
"They just told me I was going to get every opportunity to try and show I can play here. I’m just going to take that and whatever they give me I’ll be happy for it.
"I’m excited about it."