Bruce Cassidy, John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault are named the Jack Adams Award finalists the same day the league announces the Calder Trophy finalists. Here is a closer look at the Jack Adams Award finalists.
Bruce Cassidy, Boston Bruins
Cassidy led the Bruins to get the Presidents’ Trophy this season, an award given to the league’s top regular-season team. The Bruins recorded a 44-14-12 record and a .714 points percentage this season. At the time of the March 12 pause, Cassidy and the Bruins were eight points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The team also got the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals during the season. Both Bruins goaltenders, Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, allowed 167 goals which averages out to 2.39 goals against per game. The Bruins also tied the Philadelphia Flyers for the seventh-most goals scored with 227 goals which averages out to 3.24 goals per game. The league’s best team came in second in power-play percentage (25.2) behind the Edmonton Oilers and third in penalty-killing percentage (84.3).
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
Cassidy gave lots of credit to his veteran players after losing to the St. Louis Blues in seven games during the Stanley Cup Finals last season. “A lot of professionalism in that room. So at the end of the day it wasn’t a real difficult task, it was just trying to sort of refocus and talk about the things we needed to do again this year,” Cassidy said. “Didn’t change a lot, we didn’t reinvent the wheel, we just tried to play Boston Bruins hockey, pick up where we left off and just be better than our last game, and it’s worked out so far. Hopefully, we’ll have that attitude going forward.”
The Boston Bruins are one of four round-robin teams in the Eastern Conference. They’ll compete against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
John Tortorella, Columbus Blue Jackets
Tortorella deserves to be named one of the finalists. He’s coached an injured-ridden Blue Jackets team into securing a spot in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. The Blue Jackets recorded a 33-22-15 record with a .579 points percentage making them the no. 9 seed in the Qualifiers. The team came in fourth in goals-against per game (2.61) and had point streaks of at least 10 games twice. The first streak happened on Dec. 9 – Jan. 2 with an 8-0-4 point streak. The second streak was from Jan. 11 – Feb. 7 with a 9-0-1 point streak. Tortorella is a two-time Jack Adams Award winner and can be the second coach to win the award three times. Pat Burns is the only coach to win the award (1988-89 Montreal Canadiens, 1992-93 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1997-98 Bruins).
“I have a true belief and I’m sure the other guys probably feel the same way. I’d be really careful to consider this as an individual award. This is a staff/team award as far as I’m concerned,” Tortorella said. “You have to have some pretty good goaltending to come along with it. At least the way I feel about it and have felt about this. It’s a good thing for the organization because I think everybody’s involved in it.”
The No. 9 seed Blue Jackets prepare to face the No. 8 seed Maple Leafs during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in a best-of-five series.
Alain Vigneault, Philadelphia Flyers
In his first season coaching the Flyers, Vigneault led the team to the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference recording a 41-21-7 record. The Flyers are tied in seventh with the Lightning in goals-against per game (2.77) after ranking 29th last season averaging 3.41 goals against. They also ranked seventh in goals-scored per game averaging 3.29 goals bumping them up from 18th place last season averaging 2.94 goals. The no. 4 seed had four winning streaks in at least four games and won nine straight games from Feb. 18 – March 7. Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award in 2006-07 with the Vancouver Canucks.
“I think the biggest thing with him as far as any coach I’ve played for at my level, he lets other people do their job,” Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said applauding Vigneault’s approach to the qualifiers.
The Flyers are another round-robin team in the Eastern Conference. They’ll also compete against the Lightning, Capitals and Bruins during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to determine seeding for the playoffs.
The award is given to the best coach in the NHL and voted on by members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. The Jack Adams Award winner will be announced during the conference finals.
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz won the award last year.
The 2020 NHL Awards was scheduled to happen on June 25 in Las Vegas but was postponed on March 25 due to the ongoing pandemic.