The NHL announced on Friday the three finalists for the 2019 Jack Adams Awards, which is awarded to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders are the finalists after members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association submitted their votes at the end of the regular season.
The award was presented by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association in 1974 in honor of the late Jack Adams, longtime coach and general manager of the Detroit Red Wings.
The winner will be announced on June 19 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
The Case For Craig Berube: Berube took over as Blues’ head coach on Nov. 19 with the team 30th in the NHL. By the end of the regular season St. Louis finished third in the Central Division and earned 65 out of a possible 90 points in their final 45 games, the most points accumulated by any team over that span. The Blues’ success was highlighted by a franchise-record 11-game win streak and a 12-1-1 record in February, which tied a team-record for wins in a single month. A win would make Berube the fifth coach in franchise history to win the award and the first NHL coach to earn the Adams after taking over midseason.
The Case For Jon Cooper: The Lightning finished the 2018-19 season with 62 wins, tied for the most in NHL history, and 128 points, which is good for fourth all-time. Cooper’s team were the first in league history with at least 30 wins at home and 30 on the road. Their 325 goals were the most by a team in 23 years. This is Cooper’s second time as an Adams finalist and a victory would make him the second winner in franchise history joining John Tortorella (2004).
The Case For Barry Trotz: In his first season with the team,Trotz helped the Islanders to a 23-point improvement from last season and a defensive turnaround that saw them allow 100 fewer goals, which earned goaltenders Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner the William Jennings Trophy. This is Trotz’s fourth time as an Adams finalist. He won the award in 2016 while with the Washington Capitals. Al Arbour (1979) is the only Islanders’ winner in franchise history.
The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the league’s hottest teams over the past month and will be looking to extend their current winning streak to eight games on Friday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres.
Coach Pete DeBoer had some significant lineup news ahead of the game on Friday afternoon, including a potentially significant injury.
First, is the news that big trade deadline acquisition Robin Lehner will be making his first start in goal for the team. The Golden Knights acquired Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks just ahead of the NHL trade deadline on Monday for a draft pick and a prospect. Lehner has been one of the league’s best goalies for the past two years and alongside Marc-Andre Fleury should give them one of the league’s best goaltending duos.
The far more serious news, though, was the announcement that forward Mark Stone will not play on Friday due to a lower-body injury.
DeBoer had no immediate information on how long Stone could be out, only to say that he is still being evaluated.
When asked if it could potentially be a long-term injury DeBoer said “There’s always fear. We don’t know, but we’ll see,” via NHL.com.
Stone is one of the league’s best all-around forwards and has not only been a point-per-game player for the past three seasons, he is also one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He finished the 2018-19 season as the top runner-up for the Selke Trophy, something that has become almost unheard of for a winger.
The Golden Knights enter Friday’s game in first place in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was busy at the NHL trade deadline adding Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ennis to his roster in an effort to improve its depth. But just two games later his team has already lost one of those new players to injury.
The Oilers announced on Friday that Green, acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for Kyle Brodziak and a draft pick, will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks due to an MCL sprain.
That is the way things seem to be going for the Oilers right now as injuries keep adding up throughout their roster.
Randi Marshall reports that New York governor Andrew Cuomo will announce on Saturday that the Islanders will play any home playoff games this season and all of their 2020-21 home schedule at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders are currently building a new arena by Belmont Park race track which is expected to be ready in time for the 2021-22 NHL season. The franchise played all of its home games at the Coliseum from 1972-2015 before moving to Brooklyn full-time in 2015. That lasted until 2018 when they split home games at both arenas, with Nassau Coliseum playing host to their Round 1 matchup against the Penguins and Barclays for their second round series against the Hurricanes.
While Barclays Center helped keep the Islanders in New York, it has not been the easiest arena to travel to for fans. The ability to get there via mass transit was a positive that the Coliseum doesn’t have. Yet when the Islanders returned back to Long Island last season, there was plenty nostalgia over the building that was home for the franchise’s glory days.
In September the Islanders broke ground on the new 19,000-seat arena by Belmont Park which is less than 10 miles from Nassau Coliseum.
At this time seven days almost no one in the hockey world knew who he was. But after being forced into action as an emergency backup goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes, and then getting the win in the game over the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is still getting some pretty big honors.
David Ayres, a 42-year-old maintenance operations manager and part-time Zamboni driver, was called into action as the emergency goaltender about halfway through the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against Toronto after both Carolina goaltenders were injured. In his surprise NHL debut, he helped Carolina to a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.
Meanwhile, the stick he used in Saturday’s game to stop eight out of 10 shots, is now on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The 42-year-old Ayres had previously served as an emergency backup goalie for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies but never entered the game. He was forced to play on Saturday after Hurricanes goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured.