Looks like someone other than Henrik Lundqvist is a finalist for one of the year end NHL awards. Coach John Tortorella was named a Jack Adams finalist for best coach. The other finalists are Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues and Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators.
Hitchcock took over an under .500 St. Louis squad 13 games into the season and turned them into the second seed in the West and a team that contended for the President’s Trophy. The Blues were 42-15-11 under Hitchcock, and 6-7-0 prior to his arrival.
MacLean took an Ottawa Senators team that was supposed to be a lottery pick team to the playoffs. Their finish was 18 points better than the previous year, and MacLean is of the Tortorella mold, in that he gets everything out of his players.
As for Tortorella, he had to deal with significant injuries to two of his top four defensemen, a four country road trip through Europe, and a west coast swing to start the season. The Rangers couldn’t play at home until the end of October. Anyone that watched 24/7 knows that the Rangers will go through a wall for Tortorella.
If I had to make a prediction, Hitchcock wins the award, followed by Torts, and MacLean finishing third. Hitchcock did wonders with St. Louis, and it’s a testament to his coaching style that turned the Blues season around.