It’s not every game that an NHL coach has a creepy carbon copy of himself leering from behind the glass at the bench. And by that we mean 1970s Henry Winkler never time traveled forward to sit behind the Rangers bench.
Yet there was Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators, coaching his team to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers, oblivious to the fact that his alien ‘body snatchers’ duplicate was getting camera time over his shoulder.
"I didn’t see him," MacLean said, chuckling. "Apparently there’s quite a resemblance. I hope he gets as much help [around town] as I do."
Who was this man? Inquiring minds wanted to know, at least before he murdered Paul MacLean and took his place behind the Ottawa bench.
Luckily, Ian Mendes of Sportsnet got to the bottom of the MacLone Saga. (Don't worry, true believers, it wasn't Ben Reilly. Excelsior!)
The initial theory was that it was MacLean’s brother Jerome, but one imagines Paul MacLean would notice his flesh and blood behind the Senators bench. Or at least know he was coming to the game.
Turns out this was just a fan named Mike Watson with a ridiculously striking resemblance to Paul MacLean. From Sportsnet and Ian Mendes:
After introducing myself, I asked Watson, "Do you realize that you've broken Twitter tonight?"
"I don't own a cell phone. But these guys were telling me it's all over the place," Watson replied. His co-workers sitting next to him informed him that he was suddenly a social media darling.
So I immediately asked the question that was on everyone's mind: Was this some sort of publicity stunt? Surely, Watson must have intentionally chosen to sit directly behind the Senators home bench. Either that, or he was a blood relative of the head coach -- which is why he was able to land such prime seats for the home opener.
"These are actually just my company's seats," he responded. "I haven't been to a game here in two years. They usually give the tickets to clients, but I was able to go tonight."
Here's some video of the twin magic and the postgame comments.
WOW! That was … underwhelming, actually.
In the sense that we had created an elaborate backstory in which Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had paid the Canadian government to grow a farm of Paul MacLean clones in order to harvest their organs so he could coach Ottawa for a century, and then one of the clones discovered it had free will and escaped and wanted to meet his template, so he purchased premium seats at the Ottawa … well, you get the point. Hilarious mistaken identity scenes as the media interviews the MacLone; government chase scenes through downtown Ottawa with lots of explosions and a guy doing the Wilhelm scream as he falls into the river; a stunning climax in which the MacLone learns what love is before lowering himself into a vat of Beaver Tail butter to sacrifice himself ...
Eh, it was actually pretty funny without all that.