We're going to do two awards a day and analyze who we think should win and then say who we think will win. Because there's always a difference and nobody leaves happy except the player who won.
Jack Adams Award
this is the award given to the NHL's best coach in the season
Finalists: John Tortorella, Ken Hitchcock and Paul MacLean
As the coach of the top team in the East, we are not surprised with this nomination. He had a large part in the emergence of Ryan Callahan as the captain and Henrik Lundqvist getting the wins that he did. He seems like one of those coaches who will yell and yell and then act all quiet and disappointed when he doesn't get his way. We got a little sneak peek into his coaching style when HBO's 24/7 came to film them. It was just as scary and frightening as we thought it was.
The St. Louis Blues were in a world of hurt before Hitchcock came into the picture. They were 6-7-0 when he took over. And then they were battling with Vancouver to see who would be tops in the Western Conference and the league. That's a huge turnaround and one that he had a large part in. Turning a team around like that takes a lot of effort and skill and a heavy hand. Of course.
This was McLean's head coaching debut and he did pretty well we think. The Senators were supposed to be mired in the basement of the Eastern Conference but somehow they were eighth in the East and actually made it into the playoffs. The players really responded to his coaching style and it showed almost immediately. Erik Karlsson led the league in defense scoring. Jason Spezza had a great offensive year and the rest of the team bounced back from a terrible last season.
Who we would pick: Paul MacLean
The award is supposed to be given to the coach who had the most impact on the team that he is coaching and we think that MacLean exemplifies that. While Tortorella and Hitchcock had better records with their team, they had excellent teams to begin with. Tortorella has one of the best goaltenders in goal and he has a number of offensive weapons and a style in place that the players understand and can work in. And Hitchcock inherited a team that was a good team but just didn't have a structure or system that they could buy into. He brought that and it made a difference. But MacLean had the best and most impact on his team. He brought out the best in the Senators and lead them to an eighth seed when they were being counted out at the beginning of the season. He also had a huge impact on his star players and it showed in their points and how they bought into his system wholeheartedly.
Who is probably going to win: Ken Hitchcock
The Blues were the sexiest team in the NHL this season and we think that Hitchcock will be the winner of the Jack Adams. He had a huge impact on the players and had them turned around by December. The Blues had an impressive run and were amazing in the playoffs.
GM of the Year
the title of this award is pretty much what it is, it's the award for the best general manager of the year
Finalists: Doug Armstrong, David Poile and Dale Tallon
The biggest part of being a general manager is probably the signings of players. They have to think about chemistry and salary and experience among other things. He signed some veteran guys and let them become the leaders for a young up-and-coming team. Then he made the biggest move for the Blues by firing Davis Payne and then hiring Ken Hitchcock. That move will probably win him this award.
Last summer, he had the unenviable job of signing a top defensemen and a number one goaltender and trying to keep within the salary cap. But somehow, he did it. And now he has to deal with Ryan Suter and the difficulties that entails. Then, then he made some of the best trades this Trade Deadline Day with Hal Gill coming to help out on the blueline and Paul Gaustad in the faceoff circle.
When Dale took over as general manager of the Florida Panthers, we were excited. And then he just went bonkers and literally, literally signed every single player who was available. We will never forget last season's Free Agency day and how he was signing everyone to get to the salary cap floor. But somehow it worked out. The Panthers made it to the playoffs as the third seed and were competitive all season. Chemistry is something that has to be made and somehow this team, this Frankenstein's monster of a team, made the playoffs and were actually pretty good.
Who we would pick: Dale Tallon
Yes, this is a completely biased pick. How could we not? He took an island of misfit players and formed them into a team. He knew who to sign and how to shape this team while also doing the things he needed to do.
Who is probably going to win: Doug Armstrong
We already said that Armstrong was going to win this award probably because of the Ken Hitchcock signing. It was a genius move and one that needed to be made. And it will be the reason that he will win this award. Duh.