An often overlooked trophy, the Jack Adams award represents the coach of the season in the NHL. A coach can play a big role in a team's success as we have seen this season. Here are two names to keep your ears out for.
Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames have been the success story of the season, thanks in no small part to head coach Bob Hartley. Hartley has taken a team that was expected to be amongst the basement dwellers of the NHL and has virtually guaranteed them a spot in the playoffs.
This is Hartley's third year coaching the Flames and he is showing the same coaching abilities that he utilized back when the Colorado Avalanche won the cup with him in 2001. When Hartley asked about his coaching success, here is what he said,
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“I always have fun coaching but this year I have so much respect for those guys. We’re having fun as a coaching staff," Hartley explained.
"You don’t have to worry about the work. You know the commitment is there.I’m the salesman getting in there but they are my models,"
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A generous statement from one of hockey's best coaches at the moment, talking of his players, who have been committed but the lack of talent compared to other playoff teams is evident. Bob Hartley has been the leader that this team has needed.
Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers
Vigneault led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, only to see them lose to the Los Angeles Kings. Vigneault and the Rangers are back, and lead the league in points and are easily viewed as one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Vigneault has helped the Rangers achieve 111 points with two games still remaining on the schedule. The closest team to the Rangers in points are the Anaheim Ducks with 107.
The only thing going against Vigneault is the talent that the roster already possesses. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins arguably have more talent and are fighting for their playoff lives. There is no denying what Vigneault has done for the Rangers. Vigneault spoke with the media after winning the President's Trophy,
''It's not an easy thing to do. You look at the teams still fighting to get into the playoffs. It's a challenging thing," Vigneault explained.
"For our group, it's one thing in the direction that we're looking to get to. I'm very proud of our group but we all know that we are going to be judged by what we do in the playoffs. So this is a first step and we're going to get ready for the next one.''
He is aware of where it all counts, the playoffs. The Rangers are viewed as legitimate cup threat this year. A strong case can be made for Alain Vigneault to win the Jack Adams award.
There are some other contenders for this years Jack Adams award. They include; Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals, Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens, Dave Cameron of the Ottawa Senators, Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators, Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks, Willie Desjardins of the Vancouver Canucks and Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets. All of these coaches have a chance to win, it has been a nicely coached NHL season.
The Prediction: Alain Vigneault
Vigneault has been a guiding light to the best team in the NHL, the New York Rangers. The stats cannot be denied and although Bob Hartley has gotten his team to the playoffs with little talent, you have to believe that Vigneault will do a lot more in the playoffs and challenge for the Stanley Cup.
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