No Surprise: Hitchcock a Jack Adams Finalist
In what might be the least surprising news you’ve heard this week, Ken Hitchcock has officially been named one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams award. The award is given to the coach that has “contributed the most to his team’s success”. Hitchcock will be up against Ottawa’s Paul MacLean and New York’s John Tortorella.
It comes as no surprise that Hitchcock is a finalist for the award. He came to the Blues when the team was sputtering with a 6-7 record and turned them into the second seed in the Western Conference that has traveled to the second round of the playoffs. Some experts thought the Blues might sneak into the playoffs but no one thought the Blues would win the Central, be a top seed, or make a serious playoff run.
The numbers do a great job of telling the story but to understand the complete story you need to watch some tape from the team’s first several games and compare it to the games under Ken Hitchcock. The Blues were a mess at the start of the year, struggling to finish a full game and looking like an uninspired, unmotivated group all on separate pages. Hitchcock comes over and almost instantly the Blues are a team playing on the same page that now exhibits relentless pursuit and one of the best work ethics in the league. The transformation was staggering.
Hitchcock’s competition, MacLean and Tortorella are worthy candidates for the award as well. Tortorella carried the Rangers to the top seed in the NHL, but his accomplishments may not have been as significant as Hitchcock’s given the fact the Rangers were selected as a threatening team prior to the 2011-12 season. MacLean on the other hand will be stout competition for Hitchcock. He took a team that most thought would finish 14th or 15th in the East all the way into the playoffs where they ultimately fell to the New York Rangers.
The winner will be announced on June 20th at the NHL Awards.