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Dan Bylsma, Barry Trotz, and Alain Vigneault named Jack Adams Trophy finalists; Who wins?

Apr 29, 2011, 12:45 PM EDT

Dan Bylsma, Chris Lee AP

The NHL’s coach of the year award, the Jack Adams Trophy, always figures to be a hotly contested award and this year’s group of finalists are no different. With three different and intriguing cases to be made between Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, Nashville’s Barry Trotz, and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault, figuring out who wins the hardware this time around doesn’t figure to be any easier. There will be some controversy, however, over who was left out of the mix.

Dan Bylsma’s work in Pittsburgh to lead the Penguins to the fourth seed and very nearly winning the Atlantic Division title while playing half the season without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin shows that it’s not always about the star players in order to be successful in the NHL. While Bylsma was without his superstars and a host of other injuries that limited the Penguins ability to ice their ideal starting lineup, he altered his game plan and his means of attacking and defending against opponents. Many other coaches would’ve struggled to adapt without their stars but Bylsma persevered in the face of roster armageddon.

Barry Trotz should essentially be nominated for this award every year as he’s able to put together a playoff team from a roster filled mostly with guys unrecognizable to the common fan. This season he led the Predators to the fifth seed in the Western Conference and thanks to Pekka Rinne they’ve gone deeper into the season than the franchise has ever been before. Each year Trotz has a team that’s a pain to play against, plays tough and physical, and most of all wins games. At some point Trotz is going to win this award because he just does his job excellently every year. Could this year finally be the one?

Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault has an easy case to make for the Adams Trophy. He coached the Canucks to the league’s best record and the Presidents’ Trophy. With the array of talent on the Vancouver roster from the Sedin twins to Ryan Kesler to Roberto Luongo, it’s tough to lose games with those guys. Instead, Vigneault led the team to the most wins in a season in franchise history and the Canucks’ best chance at a Stanley Cup in their 40 years in the NHL. His case for the award is pretty self explanatory.

The surprises lie in who didn’t make the cut as a finalist for the award. Tampa Bay’s Guy Boucher stands out as a snub and frankly we’re stunned as well. The expectations heading into this season for the Lightning were not very high and Boucher led them to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and had the Lightning on top of the Southeast Division for a good part of the season. While the three finalists all have great cases to be made to win the award, Boucher being left on the outside of the mix is stunning. Perhaps this was the voters way of rookie hazing. Other guys who could’ve deserved a look at the award as well are Rangers coach John Tortorella and Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau for his means of adapting philosophies and making the Capitals a tougher team to deal with.

As it stands, there are three very worthy coaches up for the award, but who wins? Let us know in our poll who you think is most deserving.

  1. sknut - Apr 29, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Trotz is the guy, what he does needs to be acknowledged. Nashville wasn’t flashy just consistent and did well in tough division and conference. Yes Blysma lost his studs but Crosby was there for about half the year and Vigneault has a bunch of stars up in Vancouver and like it was pointed out this morning they aren’t an easy team to like. They may work against Vigneault.

    • derpdederpdederp - Apr 29, 2011 at 7:10 PM

      totally agree. Trotz has done so much with limited resources in Nashville for years. rarely are they picked as a playoff team at the start of the season yet every year there they are. now that theyve finally turned the corner and won a series its time to give Trotz the recognition he deserves

  2. stakex - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    John Tortorella really should have been nominated. Given the absolute lack of tallent the Rangers have, especially offensivly, its pretty amazing that they were able to make the playoffs… and I think Torts was a large part of that. If that doesn’t make a coach of the year, I don’t know what does.

    • bcjim - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      No way. He is indeed a good coach but barely edging out the league dregs for #8 is no real accomplishment…even with a no talent bunch. Atl, Fla, NYI, etc have no talent either.

      They play hard for him and that is admirable but not top 3 material.

      Vigneault is also a joke, coached his stable of studs to first, way to go. Why wasn’t BB nominated if that was the criteria?

      Trotz is the easy and deserving pick.

  3. donttouchthedirtypenny - Apr 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Trots

  4. donttouchthedirtypenny - Apr 29, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Trotz. Damn that autocorrect.

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