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The Jack Adams Trophy; Hartley vs. Vigneault vs. Laviolette

Members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association submitted ballots for the Jack Adams Award at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The Flames were in their second full season without longtime franchise face Jarome Iginla, traded prior to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, and finished 27th in the League last season. A rebuilding project was in its infancy stage with a ways to go before they were to even sniff a chance at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Or so it seemed.

Calgary responded to the skeptics by going 32-24-4 by Feb. 25, one point out of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. But they were declared finished after captain and Norris Trophy contender Mark Giordano sustained a torn biceps muscle in the final minute of a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

Coach Bob Hartley refused to let anyone quit. Instead of being devoured by adversity, the Flames embraced it, going 12-6-2 in their next 20 games before clinching their first playoff berth since 2008-09 with a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on April 9 that knocked the defending champions out of postseason contention.

Steering the ship was Hartley, the pick to win the Jack Adams Award as the League’s top coach.

Resilience and hard work are the Flames’ calling cards. Calgary finished third with 10 wins when trailing after two periods, first with 99 third-period goals with a plus-31 in goal differential, and atop the League with 13 wins when trailing after the first. The Flames also won four of five against the Kings, playing a major role in Los Angeles becoming the fourth team since the Original Six era to miss the playoffs one season after winning the Stanley Cup.

Having squeezed every last drop out of a team many expected to compete in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes instead of the playoffs, Hartley, who won the Cup as Colorado Avalanche coach in 2001, has the Flames fighting and believing, and poised to defy the odds again this spring.

“Lots of times it’s not the toughest army that’s going to win, it’s going to be the smartest one,” Hartley said. “But you still have to be a soldier. You still have to be a warrior. That’s what we’ve been cultivating from day one, the all-out effort, pressure, finish your checks, block shots. That has been about our DNA from day one.”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

paul-maurice

Paul Maurice, Winnipeg Jets — Maurice is 61-38-18 since taking over as Jets coach on Jan. 12, 2014, including an unexpected 43-26-13 this season to take them to their first playoff appearance since 2006-07 when the franchise played in Atlanta. The Jets survived injuries to key defensemen Tobias Enstromand Jacob Trouba, and forwards Mathieu Perreault and Blake Wheeler. They also shook off injury and suspension to Dustin Byfuglien to go 9-3-0 in 12 games without the rugged All-Star defenseman. They fought back from potentially crippling late-season home losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers to win four of their final five games.

Maurice deserves recognition for pulling the whole package together.

“We’re talking about establishing hard things,” Maurice told the Jets website. “Hard things to do with this team, like work ethic, the mental toughness that it takes to fight through injuries, to get over tough losses like Chicago and New York – and now you don’t have to sell it the same way.

“That’s the big benefit here now. They’ve done it all year, they’ve gotten that payoff and they get a chance to play in the really fun, meaningful games.”

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm GP W L T OL PTS PTS% Finish G W L T W-L% Notes
1995-96 29 NHL HAR 70 29 33 8 66 .471 4th
1996-97 30 NHL HAR 82 32 39 11 75 .457 5th
1997-98 31 NHL CAR 82 33 41 8 74 .451 6th
1998-99 32 NHL CAR 82 34 30 18 86 .524 1st 6 2 4 0 .333
1999-00 33 NHL CAR 82 37 35 10 0 84 .512 3rd
2000-01 34 NHL CAR 82 38 32 9 3 88 .537 2nd 6 2 4 0 .333
2001-02 35 NHL CAR 82 35 26 16 5 91 .555 1st 23 13 10 0 .565 Eastern Conference Champions
2002-03 36 NHL CAR 82 22 43 11 6 61 .372 5th
2003-04 37 NHL CAR 30 8 12 8 2 26 .433 3rd
2006-07 40 NHL TOR 82 40 31 11 91 .555 3rd
2007-08 41 NHL TOR 82 36 35 11 83 .506 5th
2008-09 42 NHL CAR 57 33 19 5 71 .623 2nd 18 8 10 .444
2009-10 43 NHL CAR 82 35 37 10 80 .488 3rd
2010-11 44 NHL CAR 82 40 31 11 91 .555 3rd
2011-12 45 NHL CAR 25 8 13 4 20 .400 5th
2013-14 47 NHL WPG 35 18 12 5 41 .586 7th
2014-15 48 NHL WPG 82 43 26 13 99 .604 5th 4 0 4 .000
11 yrs NHL CAR 768 323 319 80 46 772 .503 53 25 28 0 .472
2 yrs NHL HAR 152 61 72 19 141 .464
2 yrs NHL TOR 164 76 66 22 174 .530
2 yrs NHL WPG 117 61 38 18 140 .598 4 0 4 .000
Career NHL 1201 521 495 99 86 1227 .511 57 25 32 0 .439

New head coach Dave Cameron watches the team as the Ottawa Senators practice on the day following the day that the team fired head coach Paul MacLean.  Assignment - 119245 Photo taken at 11:22 on December 9. (Wayne Cuddington/ Ottawa Citizen)

Dave Cameron, Ottawa Senators — Ottawa fired coach Paul MacLean on Dec. 11 and was 14 points out of a playoff spot on Feb. 10. A 2-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres began a 23-4-4 run that concluded with the Senators’ unlikely finish as the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. GoalieAndrew Hammond received most of the press after going 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and three shutouts, but as a unit the Senators developed a never-say-die mentality under Cameron.

Ottawa was 7-7-5 in one-goal games under MacLean and 3-5-4 in its first 12 after Cameron took over. It finished 11-0-4 in its final 15 with seven wins coming in overtime or a shootout. None proved bigger than on April 7, when the Senators rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit to stun the Pittsburgh Penguinsin overtime and place destiny in their hands.

“It’s a bit of a Cinderella story,” Cameron said. “You don’t expect to come from as far back as we did. And you’re not going to be able to do it too often; the odds are just stacked against you in the best League in the world. But once in a while you get to be involved with a team that’s a special team, a team that plays for one another. We knew right from the get-go for our team to have success we have to be better than the sum of our parts. The way you do that is turn your skill over to the team. What we’ve done is get 25 guys to do that and that’s why we’ve had success.”

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm GP W L T OL PTS PTS% Finish G W L T W-L% Notes
2014-15 56 NHL OTT 55 32 15 8 72 .655 4th 6 2 4 .333
Career NHL 55 32 15 8 72 .655 6 2 4 .333

My prediction to who should win the Jack Adams Trophy, is coach Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames.

FINALISTS:

Jack Adams Trophy Winner:

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Bob Hartley, Calgary Flames

Hartley led the Flames (45-30-7, 97 points) to a 20-point gain in standings points over 2013-14, the highest jump among Western Conference teams and third-highest in the League overall, in capturing their first playoff berth since 2009. Calgary was among the NHL’s best late-game teams, tying for first place in overtime wins (nine), ranking second in third-period goal differential (+31), third in wins when trailing after two periods (10) and fifth in points percentage when leading after 40 minutes (.923, 24-1-1). The Flames also recorded 1,557 blocked shots, tops in the League and the highest single-season total since the statistic was introduced. Hartley is a first-time Jack Adams Award finalist.

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm GP W L T OL PTS PTS% Finish G W L T W-L% Notes
1998-99 38 NHL COL 82 44 28 10 98 .598 1st 19 11 8 0 .579
1999-00 39 NHL COL 82 42 28 11 1 96 .585 1st 17 11 6 0 .647
2000-01 40 NHL COL 82 52 16 10 4 118 .720 1st 23 16 7 0 .696 Stanley Cup Champions
2001-02 41 NHL COL 82 45 28 8 1 99 .604 1st 21 11 10 0 .524
2002-03 42 NHL COL 31 10 8 9 4 33 .532 1st
2002-03 42 NHL ATL 39 19 14 5 1 44 .564 3rd
2003-04 43 NHL ATL 82 33 37 8 4 78 .476 2nd
2005-06 45 NHL ATL 82 41 33 8 90 .549 3rd
2006-07 46 NHL ATL 82 43 28 11 97 .591 1st 4 0 4 0 .000
2007-08 47 NHL ATL 6 0 6 0 0 .000 4th
2012-13 52 NHL CGY 48 19 25 4 42 .438 4th
2013-14 53 NHL CGY 82 35 40 7 77 .470 6th
2014-15 54 NHL CGY 82 45 30 7 97 .591 3rd 11 5 6 .455
5 yrs NHL ATL 291 136 118 13 24 309 .531 4 0 4 0 .000
5 yrs NHL COL 359 193 108 48 10 444 .618 80 49 31 0 .613
3 yrs NHL CGY 212 99 95 18 216 .509 11 5 6 .455
Career NHL 862 428 321 61 52 969 .562 95 54 41 0 .568

Runner up:

Vancouver, BC: SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 -- Canucks host the New York Rangers at Rogers Arena Friday, September 26, 2013. Pictured is Rangers coach Alain Vigneault speaking to reporters.  (Photo by Jason Payne/ PNG) (For story by reporters) (Van Sun Trax# 00024132B) [PNG Merlin Archive]

Alain Vigneault, New York Rangers

Vigneault guided the Rangers (53-22-7, 113 points) to the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season club, establishing franchise records for wins and points. The Rangers also led the NHL and set club records for road wins (28) and points (58) – only the 2005-06 Red Wings have won more games as visitors in a season. New York was dominant at both ends of the ice, ranking third League-wide in both offense (3.02 goals scored per game) and defense (2.28 goals allowed per game). Vigneault is a Jack Adams Award finalist for the fourth time, tying St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock for the most among active head coaches. He won the trophy in 2006-07 with Vancouver and finished runner-up with Montreal in 1999-2000 and Vancouver in 2010-11.

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm GP W L T OL PTS PTS% Finish G W L T W-L% Notes
1997-98 36 NHL MTL 82 37 32 13 87 .530 4th 10 4 6 0 .400
1998-99 37 NHL MTL 82 32 39 11 75 .457 5th
1999-00 38 NHL MTL 82 35 34 9 4 83 .506 4th
2000-01 39 NHL MTL 20 5 13 2 0 12 .300 5th
2006-07 45 NHL VAN 82 49 26 7 105 .640 1st 12 5 7 0 .417
2007-08 46 NHL VAN 82 39 33 10 88 .537 5th
2008-09 47 NHL VAN 82 45 27 10 100 .610 1st 10 6 4 .600
2009-10 48 NHL VAN 82 49 28 5 103 .628 1st 12 6 6 .500
2010-11 49 NHL VAN 82 54 19 9 117 .713 1st 25 15 10 .600 Western Conference Champions
2011-12 50 NHL VAN 82 51 22 9 111 .677 1st 5 1 4 .200
2012-13 51 NHL VAN 48 26 15 7 59 .615 1st 4 0 4 .000
2013-14 52 NHL NYR 82 45 31 6 96 .585 2nd 25 13 12 .520 Eastern Conference Champions
2014-15 53 NHL NYR 82 53 22 7 113 .689 1st 19 11 8 .579
7 yrs NHL VAN 540 313 170 57 683 .632 68 33 35 0 .485
4 yrs NHL MTL 266 109 118 35 4 257 .483 10 4 6 0 .400
2 yrs NHL NYR 164 98 53 13 209 .637 44 24 20 .545
Career NHL 970 520 341 35 74 1149 .592 122 61 61 0 .500

Third Place:

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Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators

The Predators showed gains across the board in Laviolette’s first season in Nashville. The team’s 47 wins and 104 points were up nine and 16, respectively, over the corresponding figures from 2013-14 as the club qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Predators were dramatically improved on home ice, posting a 28-9-4 mark at Bridgestone Arena after going 19-17-5 there in 2013-14. The team’s goal differential at 5-on-5 went from -21 to +35 and their performance inside the Central Division improved from 12-13-4 to 15-9-5. Laviolette is a Jack Adams Award finalist for the second time, having finished second in voting with Carolina in 2005-06.

Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm GP W L T OL PTS PTS% Finish G W L T W-L% Notes
2001-02 37 NHL NYI 82 42 28 8 4 96 .585 2nd 7 3 4 0 .429
2002-03 38 NHL NYI 82 35 34 11 2 83 .506 3rd 5 1 4 0 .200
2003-04 39 NHL CAR 52 20 22 6 4 50 .481 3rd
2005-06 41 NHL CAR 82 52 22 8 112 .683 1st 25 16 9 0 .640 Stanley Cup Champions
2006-07 42 NHL CAR 82 40 34 8 88 .537 3rd
2007-08 43 NHL CAR 82 43 33 6 92 .561 2nd
2008-09 44 NHL CAR 25 12 11 2 26 .520 2nd
2009-10 45 NHL PHI 57 28 24 5 61 .535 3rd 23 14 9 .609 Eastern Conference Champions
2010-11 46 NHL PHI 82 47 23 12 106 .646 1st 11 4 7 .364
2011-12 47 NHL PHI 82 47 26 9 103 .628 3rd 11 5 6 .455
2012-13 48 NHL PHI 48 23 22 3 49 .510 4th
2013-14 49 NHL PHI 3 0 3 0 0 .000 3rd
2014-15 50 NHL NSH 82 47 25 10 104 .634 2nd 6 2 4 .333
5 yrs NHL CAR 323 167 122 6 28 368 .570 25 16 9 0 .640
5 yrs NHL PHI 272 145 98 29 319 .586 45 23 22 .511
2 yrs NHL NYI 164 77 62 19 6 179 .546 12 4 8 0 .333
1 yr NHL NSH 82 47 25 10 104 .634 6 2 4 .333
Career NHL 841 436 307 25 73 970 .577 88 45 43 0 .511

Coleton MacDonald
The Founder of Weliveforhockey.com
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