May 17, 2013, 2:54 PM EST
The winner of the 2011 Jack Adams trophy knows who should win this year’s award.
Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma — who won coach of the year two years ago — is backing Ottawa bench boss Paul MacLean for the 2013 edition.
“He deserves it,” Bylsma told NHL.com.
Bylsma and MacLean are currently pitted against one another in the Eastern Conference semifinals — Pittsburgh leads Ottawa one game to none, with Game 2 going tonight — but the Pens head coach couldn’t help but admire what the Sens did this season.
“They’ve dealt with some injuries and still consistently been a good hockey team without some of their key guys and with some of their key guys,” Bylsma explained. “I would have cast a vote for him.”
MacLean led the Sens to seventh place in the Eastern Conference despite playing large stretches of the season without last year’s Norris winner, Erik Karlsson, last year’s leading scorer, Jason Spezza and starting netminder Craig Anderson.
On Friday, MacLean was announced as one of three Adams nominees, along with Chicago’s Joel Quenneville and Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau.
This is MacLean’s second consecutive nomination for the award (he and John Tortorella finished runners-up to Ken Hitchcock).
Quenneville won in 1999-2000 with the St. Louis Blues while Boudreau won in 2008 with the Washington Capitals.
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