On Friday the NHL announced the finalists for the Jack Adams trophy, awarded to "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success." Joel Quinneville of the Chicago Blackhawks, Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators and our very own Bruce Boudreau are the three nominees that will be up for the award whenever/wherever they decide to hold the ceremony this year (since it won't be in Vegas as usual due to the lockout).
Boudreau's inclusion isn't really a big surprise. He's a prototypical candidate in that he made a team that was expected by most to miss the playoffs into a division champion. When he came on as the Ducks' Head Coach mid-season in 2011-12, he was only able to muster a 13th place finish, but in his first "full" season behind the Anaheim bench the team rose all the way up to second in the West.
Boudreau is no stranger to that trajectory as he won the award in 2008 after replacing Glen Hanlon as the coach of the Washington Capitals and brought them to a Souteast Division title and their first playoff appearance since 2003.
Typically the Jack Adams is awarded to the coach who is seen to have made the most out of the least. This year that applies to two of the three candidates, Boudreau and former Ducks Assistant Coach Paul MacLean. In his second year as Ottawa's coach MacLean had to deal with a litany of injuries including losing his best forward (Jason Spezza) staring goalie (Craig Anderson) and number one defenseman/best player overall (Erik Karlsson) for extended periods of time. Somehow the Sens came through it and made the playoffs as the seventh seed. They are currently having their asses handed to them by Pittsburgh, but this is a regular season award.
The one coach that doesn't fit the usual model this season is Quinneville. It's a common complaint that coaches with talented teams don't get the credit they deserve because it's so much easier to tell the impact of a good coach with a less talented roster. For example Mike Babcock has never won a Jack Adams, despite being widely considered one of the best coaches in the game today, and certainly one of the most successful. This season Quineville is representing the coaches that take a good team and make it a great team.
Of course the Hawks have received plenty of recognition for their wire to wire domination of the regular season (except against the Ducks) but Coach Q's contribution, bringing together a roster of super stars and depth players to be "The Franchise That Brought Hockey Back" (according to a bullshit Sports Illustrated headline) isn't to be overlooked.
To me, it seems like MacLean's award to lose. The fact that he was nominated last year combined with the adversity his team faced creates quite the narrative, while the quality of the Blackhawks lineup will probably hurt Quinneville's chances and Michel Therrien has almost the exact same qualifications as Boudreau.