Jack Adams Award Snubs

Kevin Dineen was able to turn water into wine as he directed the Panthers to the first division title in team history. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The three finalists for NHL Coach of the Year have been announced. Each of the three deserve to be a finalist. Paul MacLean, John Tortorella, and Ken Hitchcock have led massive turnarounds of their franchises. MacLean took a team that finished 14th in the East last season and turned them into a playoff team before losing to Tortorella and the Rangers. Tortorella had the best team at the beginning of the season of the three, and he was able to parlay that in to the best season the Rangers have seen since winning the Stanley Cup in 1994. Not to mention he had the four-hour infomercial known as HBO 24/7 behind him to make himself a household name among casual hockey fans. Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma used last year’s 24/7 series to build his case when he won the award last season.

When Hitchcock took over the Blues on November 6, they had the second-worse record in the West at 5-6 and sat 10 points behind Chicago in the division. He turned around the team with a 42-14-10 record and led them to the first division title in 12 years and first playoff series win since 2002.

There are some candidates who deserved to be named a finalist. If there was enough room for more than three finalists, here’s a couple who could have booked their ticket the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Dineen also helped introduce a new generation of hockey fans in south Florida to playoff hockey and the return of the Rat Trick.

Kevin Dineen, Florida

Just like MacLean, Dineen is a first year coach who took a team we projected to miss the playoffs and gave Florida fans the first division title in franchise history and a playoff birth for the first time since 2000. His GM Dale Tallon was named a finalist for GM of the year, so why not award a combo package like Hitchcock and Doug Armstrong?

Dineen was able to take a team with no 30-goal scorers, mostly new players and was able to take the Devils to overtime in Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs. Dineen also helped introduce a new generation of hockey fans in south Florida to playoff hockey and the return of the Rat Trick.

Barry Trotz, Nashville

The award is voted based on how you perform in the regular season. The man does nothing but take a well-forgotten team in the Central division and make them a playoff team year after year. Seven of the last eight seasons he’s taken Nashville to the playoffs and this time around he slayed Detroit, known as the class of not only the conference but the league. He’s been named a finalist for the award each of the last two seasons, but I have a feeling if he wins a division championship when playing Detroit and Chicago as many times as he does he should be a lock for the award.

Dave Tippett, Phoenix

This is a team we projected at the beginning of the season to take a step back and struggle. They lost a lot of key players from their playoff team last season (Bryzgalov, Jovanovski and Upshaw) and came out with the first division in franchise history dating back to when they were admitted to the NHL as the original Winnipeg Jets in 1979. The last five games they won in the regular season helped overtake the Sharks and Kings by one and two points respectively. That helped win home ice advantage against the Sharks and a first round win. He won the award two seasons ago with a better record and 10 more points but to coach in that environment with the constant relocation rumors he did very well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *