Therrien Left Off Of The Jack Adams Ballot
|With Michel Therrien not in the running, expect Paul Maclean|
of the Ottawa Senators to take home the Jack adams Trophy.
Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks, Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks and Paul "I am the walrus" MacLean of the Ottawa Senators were named as the finalists on Friday for the Jack Adams Trophy as the leagues top coach.
This article is not meant to take away from any of thess bench bosses as they are all deserving of having their work behind the bench recognized.
And Here Are Your Nominees...
Bruce Boudreau, who won the award in 2007-08 with the Washingotn Capitals, worked wonders in Anaheim as he lead the Ducks to the number two seed in the Western conference after having missed the playoffs in 2013. Again, not to take away from his accomplishment but Boudreau had some help along the way from the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan to name a few. Having one of the top lines in the NHL goes a long way in finishing on top and a more than capable one-two punch in goal with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth wouldn't hurt anybody's chances.
It's hard to argue against Joel Quenneville's nomination after watching his troops start the season by earning points in their first 24 games. That's half of the shortened 2013 season. If the Ducks roster shares Boudreau's credit for his success it's hard to imagine the Hawks finishing anywhere other than first overall even if it was a monkey, Rob Ford or Jacques Martin calling the shots.
Quenneville won the award in 1999-2000 with the St. Louis Blues, so there is no argument that he is a capable coach. I just feel that with a team boasting the likes of Jonathan Toewes, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Brent Seasbrook and Duncan Keith as well as Corey Crawford and Ray Emery between the pipes it would be more of a challenge not to finish on top of the league.
Paul Maclean is more than worth of his nomination and will more than likely take home the award. In fact, if Therrien were to be named as a finalist it wouldn't come as a shock if he lost it to MacLean.
The Senators played the majority of their season without their top defenceman in Erik Karlsson, their first line center Jason Spezza and one of the league's top goalies Craig Anderson. The absence of Milan Michalek for 25 games sure didn't help. MacLean however managed to shock the hockey world by leading his injury riddled team to the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern conference.
The Therrien Argument
While it takes more than a stacked roster to find success in the NHL, it seems that finding the success that Therrien managed to get out of his troops with much less to work with than two of the three candidates should've at least earned him a nomination.
The goal here is not to make the Canadiens out to be a group of imcompetant players that would make up the first half of a Mighty Ducks movie before coach Bombay works his magic. The Habs after all do boast one of the league's top defenseman in P.K. Subban. Carey Price played very well in the first three quarters of the season and while Montreal doesn't have the firepower up front to match Chicago or Anaheim, they do have depth and could provide scoring from any line on any given night.
My argument is that Therrien simply had less to work with and with less time. Due to the lockout Therrien was thrown behind the bench of a team that finished 15th in their conference and 28th overall without even having the luxury of a training camp. The lockout came to an end on January sixth and thirteen days later the Habs played their first game.
Therrien had just under two weeks, with no pre-season games, to work with a team that he hadn't coached in ten years. while the lockout effected every player and every coach in the league, MacLean, Boudreau and Quenneville were at least familiar with the teams that were playing for them.
The most impressive turnaround on the Habs was that of Lars Eller. Before the season was underway, Therrien stated that he was a fan of Lars Eller's and was expecting this year to be a breakout season for the young Dane. After one game, Therrien was not getting the results he wanted and sat Eller for the following two contests. When Eller returned to the ice he never looked back and enjoyed his best season in his young career.
Eller's 30 points were a career high surpassing his previous best of 28 in 2011-12. It should be noted that he reached the 30 point mark despite playing 33 fewer games than he did in the previous year. Eller also brought his +/- from -5 in 2011-12 to a +8 showing that he didn't limit his improvements to only one end of the ice.
While the limited minutes given to the Canadien's top prospects infuriated many fans in Habs nation it didn't seem to stunt their growth as players. Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk each finished third and fifth respectively in rookie scoring, second and sixth in goals scored, fifth and fourth in +/- and yet their average ice time of 13:51 and 12:19 placed them 12th and 24th among rookie forwards with at least ten games played.
In a city that applies too much pressure on any promising prospect and an organization that has mishandled their fair share, Therrien found a way to get the most out of the young stud's without putting the pressure of top line minutes on them. Placing them on a line with a character player and well respected leader in the dressing room in Brandon Prust in the beginning of the season seemed to pay dividends as they gained confidence early on and never looked back.
And The Winner Is...
I will not change my mind in my argument that Therrien was unfairly snubbed of a nomination he deserved. However, even if he was a candidate I wouldn't be too upset if he lost to Paul MacLean after what the Ottawa bench boss managed to pull of this season in the nation's capital.
If the choice was yours, who would be your top three finalists and who would take home the hardware?
(Photo from http://wildlifeanimalz.blogspot.ca/2012/12/Walrus-Wild-Animal.html)