The NHL has officially announced its Jack Adams Award nominees for the league’s top head coach. Earning a nod are Boston Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy, Columbus Blues Jackets’ John Tortorella and Philadelphia Flyers’ Alain Vigneault.
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Cassidy is a second time nominee for the award, earning a nod in 2018. Tortorella has been nominated five times and is a two time winner. He could join the legendary Pat Burns as the only coaches in NHL history to win the award three times. Vigneault is also a five time finalist, having won the award once in 2007 with the Vancouver Canucks.
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Cassidy coached the Boston Bruins to the best record in the NHL (44-14-12, .714 points percentage) and the Presidents’ Trophy as the top regular-season team. Boston was eight points ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division, the largest amount for any division leader, when the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. The Bruins won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the NHL (167, 2.39 per game) and tied the Philadelphia Flyers for the seventh-most goals (227, 3.24 per game). They were second to the Edmonton Oilers in power-play percentage (25.2) and third in penalty-killing percentage (84.3). Cassidy was a finalist for the award in 2017-18.
Tortorella guided the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15, .579 points percentage) to a berth in the Qualifiers. Columbus overcame injuries to numerous players throughout the season, including forwards Josh Anderson, Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand, defensemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski and goalie Joonas Korpisalo . The Blue Jackets were fourth in goals-against per game (2.61) and twice had point streaks of at least 10 games (8-0-4 from Dec. 9-Jan. 2; 9-0-1 from Jan. 11- Feb. 7). Tortorella, a two-time Jack Adams Award winner (2017-18 Blue Jackets; 2003-04 Lightning) and a finalist for the award for the fifth time, could join Pat Burns (1988-89 Montreal Canadiens; 1992-93 Toronto Maple Leafs; 1997-98 Bruins) as the only coaches to win it three times.
Vigneault coached the Flyers to the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference (41-21-7) and a berth in the playoffs in his first season. Philadelphia tied Tampa Bay for seventh in goals-against per game (2.77) after ranking 29th in 2018-19 (3.41) and was seventh in goals-scored per game (3.29) after finishing 18th in 2018-19 (2.94). The Flyers had four winning streaks of at least four games and won nine straight from Feb. 18-March 7). A five-time finalist, Vigneault won the award with the Vancouver Canucks in 2006-07.