The Jack Adams Award is presented annually to the NHL  coach who is “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”   Of course, that means it’s rarely given to the coach of the NHL’s best team.  For example, when you’re coaching the Detroit Red Wings you’ll probably be very successful, but you’ll also probably never win this award – sorry Mike Babcock.

So who is likely to win the award this season?  It’s tough to say right now because the season isn’t completed yet.  But it is possible to look at some coaches who may end up being nominated.

Jacques Lemaire, New Jersey Devils

If the Devils somehow manage to make the Stanley Cup playoffs, this award is Lemaire’s to lose.  When John MacLean was fired from the Devils on December 23rd, New Jersey had a 9-22-2 record and the team was the laughing stock of the NHL.  Since Lemaire stepped behind the bench, the Devils have gone on a 21-10-4 run that has some people talking playoffs.  Even if the Devils fail to qualify for the postseason, Lemaire may receive some consideration for the award anyway.

Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins

It feels a little strange to be listing Bylsma here, since the Penguins have been a very successful franchise over the past few years.   However, when you look at the injury situation that the team has been faced with, it’s pretty impressive that the Penguins still sit in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.   Bylsma should be given a lot of credit for holding his team together while players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Jordan Staal and others have all misses significant time this year.

Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia Flyers

If it felt strange to list Bylsma here, it’s even stranger listing the coach of the defending Eastern Conference Champions.  However, Laviolette deserves to be a part of this discussion.   Last season the Flyers finished with a 41-35-6 record and they snuck into the playoffs in their last game.  This year they’ve already equaled their point total from last season and they’ve only played 66 games!  They sit at the top of the Eastern Conference and are a definite powerhouse in the league.

Guy Boucher, Tampa Bay Lightning

Speaking of coaches who have vastly improved their teams’ performances, we have Guy Boucher in Tampa Bay.   Last season the Lightning missed the playoffs with a 34-36-12 record for a total of 80 points.   Right now they have a 37-21-8 record and 82 points, so they’re already ahead of last season’s mark.  While the changes new general manager Steve Yzerman made to the team have certainly had an impact, Boucher’s coaching system is responsible for Tampa Bay’s turnaround as well.

Mark Crawford, Dallas Stars

Crawford coached in Dallas last season as well, which may pass the credit for the Stars’ year-over-year improvement over to someone else, but the result is the same.   While going through ownership issues and financial troubles, Mark Crawford has managed to keep the Dallas Stars in the playoff picture for the entire season.

Who else do you think deserves consideration for the Jack Adams?

Comments (10)

  1. what about AV? top team in the league despite numerous injuries to their D corps

    but yes, Lemaire if they make the playoffs

  2. That’s a good point on Vigneault.

  3. What about Brent Sutter? He totally turned the Flames around like Lemaire did but the Flames look like they should get in. A 20-6-6 run is pretty incredible considering what the team looked like in December.

  4. Dan Bylsma has really held it together this season with the injuries his team has been dealt. Plus, he was awesome on HBO

  5. I thought about Sutter, but he’s been the coach for this entire situation, the ups and the downs. That makes the current run look like it has less to do with him.

  6. Is there an award for Coach of the Year covered in wing sauce? Because that’d be Bruce Boudreau’s to lose…

  7. If the Devils make the playoffs it will be Lemaire. If they don’t make it then I would likely say it is going to Guy Boucher.

  8. Why not Jacques Martin? Like Vancouver, Montreal has had a devastated blueline, losing Markov and Gorges (#1 and #2) for most of the season, as well as having injuries to other veteran guys like Spacek and Gill. They’ve also missed Cammalleri for long stretches and they keep doing well even though Gomez is…well, Gomez.

    His biggest knock for years was how he treated Jason Spezza, apparently ruining him. But look at the Habs now? Price is back and on fire, rookies like Subban, Pacioretty, Desharnais and Eller have been solid and developing well. Kostitsyn is even producing!
    Now with Pacioretty out, if they make the playoffs, he should definitely be in the running.

  9. I think Alan Vigneault should be a candadite. he has helped the canucks get to where they are: top in the league in 4 categories, presidents trophy winners plus potential stanley cup winners. despite countless injuries to this team, the canucks continued to win curtial games not only because of the skills of their players and goalies but because of Alan.

  10. I think Alan Vigneault should be a candadite. he has helped the canucks get to where they are: top in the league in 4 categories, presidents trophy winners plus potential stanley cup winners. despite countless injuries to this team, the canucks continued to win curtial games not only because of the skills of their players and goalies but because of Alan.

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