Due to the NHL lockout, we’ve got an interesting setup for the 2013 NHL Awards Ceremony. Since 2008, the NHL Awards Ceremony has been held in Las Vegas after the end of the playoffs, but due to the delayed start of the playoffs this year, the ceremony will take place over the course of two nights. Day 1 will be just prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and Day 2 will be just prior to Game 2. Since we are rapidly approaching that date, I thought I’d give my two cents as to how I think these awards will be handed out. Keep in mind that all awards were voted on prior to the playoffs and therefore playoff performance has no impact on these picks.
Jack Adams Award – The Jack Adams Award is presented to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success that season. Last year’s winner: Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues
Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks – Less than two years after getting the boot out of Washington, Boudreau was able to join the Anaheim Ducks and rapidly turn around the franchise without making any significant roster moves. Since Boudreau took over on November 30th, 2011, the Ducks have gone 57-35-14, a 60.4% winning percentage. This season, Boudreau guided the Ducks to an incredible 19-3-3 start and the 2nd best record in the Western Conference. Boudreau has won this award one time previously in 2008.
Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators – In just two years, MacLean has turned around the Senators from a team that finished 13th in the East, to a team that has back-to-back playoff appearances. This year, despite having the 2nd most man-games lost to injury (219), the Senators still managed to get into the playoffs as the #7 seed. The team overcame injuries to the reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, their starting goaltender Craig Anderson, and their #1 center Jason Spezza. This is the 2nd time MacLean has been nominated for the award.
Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks – After a disappointing finish to the 2011-2012 season, Quenneville pushed his team to an NHL record start this year. The Blackhawks started a ridiculous 21-0-3, and cruised all the way to a 36-7-5 record and a President’s Trophy. The Hawks led the West in both goals for and goals against and posted one of the most dominating seasons in recent history. All of this happened with no significant roster changes from the previous season. Quenneville has won this award one time previously in 2000.
The Pick: Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators – Not only did MacLean have to overcome the high amount of injuries his team faced, he had to overcome injuries to his most critical players. It’s very rare that a team can overcome the loss of their #1 goalie, #1 defenseman, and #1 center and MacLean was able to steer this team into the playoffs. The Senators had a league-high 14 different rookies make at least one appearance in the regular season and they still finished with a solid 25-17-6 record. MacLean deserves all the credit for getting every player in the dressing room to buy in to his system. Despite having those league-high 14 rookies, the Senators had the best defense in the Eastern Conference and the 2nd best defense in the entire NHL. Just a fantastic coaching job done by Paul MacLean and he deserves to be the 2013 Jack Adams Award winner.