2010-11 Jack Adams Award favourites
The Jack Adams Award is given to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success. It is difficult to explain why a coach is the best in the league, and therefore it is usually given to the coach of the team that has the biggest turn around from last season, or possess an impressive regular season record. Recent winners include Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau, and Alain Vigneault.
Last season’s winner – Dave Tippett
Guy Boucher – Tampa Bay Lightning
Guy Boucher is entering his first ever season in the National Hockey League and will be charged with the task of getting the Tampa Bay Lightning back to the post-season.
Boucher is said to be a player-friendly coach, which is exactly what the young Lightning are in need of heading into the 2010-11 campaign.
Last season Tampa Bay finished in 12th place, a full eight points out of the post-season. However, this off-season the club has made several major changes that could spell success for the franchise. Boucher will take over a much-improved forward core, as well as a defence which has been added to. Along with the continued growth of all-star calibre centre Steven Stamkos, Boucher has a legitimate opportunity of getting Tampa back into the play-offs.
If Boucher is able to deliver a post-season birth, he will be a strong contender for the Jack Adams Award.
Ron Wilson – Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs found themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference at the end of last season, but after a number of off-season changes, many people are saying that the Leafs have a chance at getting back to the post-season for the first time since the lockout.
Coach Ron Wilson has come under criticism from the Toronto media for the squad’s poor record. However this is arguably the first year that Wilson will have a roster capable of challenging for the eighth spot on the East.
If Wilson is able to get the strong Toronto defence, made up of, Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Luke Schenn, Francois Beauchemin, and Mike Komisarek to mesh, the Leafs could be one of the best defensive clubs in the League. Moreover, the addition of J.S. Giguere, and the continued development of Jonas Gustavsson gives Toronto a legitimate goaltending tandem.
Nevertheless, Wilson will be charged with pulling together a young team that has yet to experience success. However, if he is able to make the post-season, he will certainly be a candidate for the Jack Adams.
Alain Vigneault – Vancouver Canucks
Already a Jack Adams Award winner, Vigneault has a good chance of winning his second this season with an improved Vancouver Canucks side.
The Canucks have shored up their defence and have arguably one of the best forward units in the League, along with a goaltender capable of a Vezina season in Roberto Luongo. All these factors point towards first place in the Western Conference.
If Vigneault is able to bring together a highly skilled Vancouver line-up there is no telling how good they could be. If Vancouver finishes at the top of the West expect Vigneault to be mentioned for the Jack Adams Award.
John MacLean – New Jersey Devils
The Devils had a very good year last season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference, but were still almost 20 points behind the first place Washington Capitals.
In 2010-11 the Devils promise to be even better. The club has added more skill at the blue line, and look prepared to add sniper Ilya Kovalchuk up front. Nevertheless, with such a strong line-up the Devils still focus on defensive hockey, based around hall-of-fame calibre goaltender Martin Brodeur.
If MacLean is able to get this talented line-up to the top of the East, expect him to be a front-runner for the Jack Adams Award.