Hitchcock and Armstrong Claim NHL Awards
The St. Louis Blues were well represented at last night’s NHL Awards as both Ken Hitchcock and GM Doug Armstrong walked away with hardware in their respective categories. Hitchcock took home the Jack Adams Trophy for being the NHL’s best coach while Armstrong was named General Manager of the Year.
Hitchcock bested New York’s John Tortorella and Ottawa’s Paul MacLean for the Jack Adams Trophy. As we all know, Hitchcock came in when the Blues were 6-7 on the year and turned them into a club that was consistently among the NHL’s best for the duration of the 2011-12 season. This was the fourth time Hitchcock had been nominated for the award. Upon accepting the award, Hitchcock dedicated it to his good friend Wayne Fleming who is currently battling a brain tumor.
Doug Armstrong winning the GM of the Year may come as a surprise to those outside of the St. Louis area. However, Armstrong beating out Florida’s Dale Tallon and Nashville’s David Poile was deserved. Armstrong came in and has built the Blues into a formidable contender all while working on one of the smallest budgets in the NHL. Tallon and Poile performed similar feats for their respective teams but Armstrong was able to perform his magic while the team went through not only a coaching change but also through a gloomy ownership picture.
Armstrong built the Blues from within, which is what I believe tilted the scale in his favor past a Tallon or Poile. Poile was likely most recognized for his moves at the trade deadline while the Blues mostly stood pat and used the players they had brought up within their organization or had signed at the start of the season. Of course, players like Brian Elliott also immensely helped Armstrong’s cause.
All in all the Blues were well represented at the NHL Awards. The lone negative was that David Backes fell short of winning the award for best defensive forward to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Backes was always going to struggle to win consider that he was not only up against Bergeron but also three-time Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk.