The Jack Adams Award, perhaps headed for St. Louis.
St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was today officially announced as a nominee for this year's Jack Adams Award
, which is given to the NHL's head coach who has "contributed most to his team's success." Considering the dramatic turnaround in the team's play once Hitch was hired in early November -- they went from sub-.500 team to 43 wins under Hitchcock (49 total) -- the nomination is both well-deserved and kind of obvious.
Obvious and the NHL don't always work hand-in-hand, however. Consider the league's snub of Alex Pietrangelo for a Norris Award nomination, for example, or perhaps consider the league's decision not to suspend Dwight King for his hit on Pietrangelo Saturday night. But I digress.
Hitchcock galvanized the Blues into a tough-minded defensive team that plays the full 200 feet every night, and his plan reaped immediate and season-long rewards: First in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference and a long flirtation with the President's Cup. All of these accomplishments are a testament to the intensity and intelligence of the Blues' game during Hitch's regime. He's been up for the award three times before (all while leading the Dallas Stars), but never has claimed the trophy. Perhaps this is his year.
His distinguished competition for the Adams this year is John Tortorella of the New York Rangers, and Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators.