Mendes on Sens: MacLean’s doppelganger

It’s a good thing Mike Watson doesn’t own a cell phone.

If he did, it would have exploded with text messages on Monday night.

Watson is the man who is being dubbed “Paul MacClone” for his striking resemblance to the head coach of the Ottawa Senators. Our broadcast camera picked up the shot of Watson sitting directly behind Paul MacLean during the Senators home opener and soon enough, Twitter was on fire with comments about the bizarre scene.

Early in the third period, I headed down to speak with the man who was suddenly more of a story than Kyle Turris and his two goals. We decided not to do the interview on-camera; instead, I would speak to him for some background information and then pass along the story on our broadcast.

So during the first TV timeout of the third period, I headed down to the row of seats behind the Senators home bench.

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.”

I have to admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed by his response. The poor guy was just sitting in his company’s regular seats. When he last attended a Senators home game, Cory Clouston was coaching the team, so nobody would have thought it was a big deal that he was sitting behind the Senators home bench. But now that MacLean is coaching the team, things have changed drastically for Watson.

“All of my friends always say that I look like him,” Watson said, adding that MacLean never made direct eye contact with him at any point during the night.

MacLean himself corroborated that portion of the story in his post-game interview with the media, saying that he did not acknowledge Watson sitting behind him. But as one witty blogger pointed out, perhaps MacLean just thought he was looking at his own reflection in the glass.

In any event, MacLean had a little fun with his doppelganger experience — largely because his team came out on the right side of a 4-0 decision against the Florida Panthers. If the Senators had lost the game, it’s highly doubtful that MacLean would have been so jovial about the scene.

“Apparently there’s quite a resemblance. I hope he gets as much help around town as I do,” MacLean said to reporters, who had multiple questions about the man sitting behind him.

After his formal media session was finished, I told MacLean that I actually interviewed his stunt double as part of our broadcast. “I bet he’s a better interview than me,” he joked.

I should point out that when I went down to speak to Watson in the third period, the Senators also had a representative there to speak to him as well. They wanted to get his contact information for the future, in case they ever need his services.

Like the next time they book Paul MacLean for two speaking engagements on the same day?

Problem solved.

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