So, the list of nominees for this year’s Jack Adams Award is coming under fire.
To be fair, this happens with almost every major award — Flyers fans are still complaining about Claude Giroux and Paul Holmgren not getting nominated for the Hart and GM trophies, respectively — but the coach of the year thing is a different situation entirely.
There could’ve been as many as six legit nominees, including the following:
Kevin Dineen, Florida Panthers
Harvey Fialkov of the Florida Sun-Sentinel calls Dineen’s Adams omission “shocking”:
Dineen took about 12 to 17 new players (at some point in the season) and took them from 15th in the Eastern Conference last season into a division champion for the first time in franchise history. Although the award is voted on before the playoffs, he also had his team one goal away from the conference semis.
A team that has no superstars and no 30-goal scorers notched 94 points and ended a 10-season playoff drought. A team that had as many injuries as any team in the NHL (or close to). Did I mention it was Dineen’s first season as an NHL head coach?
Possibly reason why Dineen wasn’t a finalist? Because Panthers general manager Dale Tallon was nominated for GM of the Year, and largely credited as thearchitect of Florida’s turnaround.
That said, this logic didn’t keep voters from nominating the St. Louis duo of Ken Hitchcock and Doug Armstrong.
Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes
Tippett won the first division title in Jets/Coyotes franchise history after losing the likes of Ilya Bryzgalov, Ed Jovanovski and Scottie Upshall. That said, it would’ve been hard to give him coach of the year on the strength of 97 points, especially when he won the award in 2009-10 with a 50-25-7 record and 107 points.
Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators
Lost in the hoopla of David Poile’s flurry of activity was the fact Trotz coached Nashville to the third-best season in franchise history. That’s really impressive when you consider 1) how lethal the Central Division was this year, and 2) how many new faces he integrated into the lineup (he also had to deal with both Kostisyns, which should get him some sort of UN humanitarian award.)
Of course, Trotz had been nominated in each of the two previous seasons…and didn’t win. I guess you only get so many bites at the apple.