(New York) For the fifth time in their careers, Alain Vigneault and John Tortorella have been nominated for the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded to the National Hockey League head coach of the year.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
The 59-year-old Quebecer and Tortorella will fight Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, himself a finalist for the second time.
In his first season behind the Philadelphia Flyers, Vigneault led his team 41-21-7 at the pandemic break for an efficiency rate of .645. This is the team’s best performance since the 2010-2011 season (, 646) and the third best in 30 years.
Between February 18 and March 7, the Flyers won nine straight games, including eight in regular time. These performances helped the Flyers climb to fourth place overall in the Eastern Association. The team will participate in the final round of the playoffs with the Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals between August 2 and 9.
"I am extremely proud of our team," said Vigneault. "The players want to be here. They want to invest the effort. They look forward to the challenge. "
Winner of the trophy with the Vancouver Canucks in 2006-2007, Vigneault was also a finalist with the Montreal Canadiens in 2000, with the Canucks in 2011 and with the New York Rangers in 2015.
"If there is a trophy among all the trophies, this one is focused on the group, the organization, from the owners to the bottom," said Vigneault, in an interview posted on the NHL website. .
"The only way to know the success we know is if we have quality staff around us. All of us, there’s no doubt, have that. "
Tortorella led the Blue Jackets 33-22-15 (, 579) at the time of the outage. This performance placed the team in ninth place in the overall classification of the Eastern Association.
The Blue Jackets have tallied points in 33 of their last 41 outings after December 8 (22-8-11), including two streaks of at least ten games without losing in regulation time. From December 9 to January 2, the Blue Jackets were 8-0-4. From January 11 to February 7, they presented a 9-0-1 record.
Like Vigneault, Tortorella considers this trophy to be the result of collective work.
"I would be very careful before calling it an individual honor," Tortorella told nhl.com. As far as I'm concerned, it's a trophy linked to the staff, to the team. It's a good thing for the organization because I think everyone plays a role in it. "
Tortorella will have the opportunity to become only the second head coach in NHL history to win the trophy on three occasions, after Pat Burns. Tortorella was first awarded with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 before being honored again in 2017, this time with the Blue Jackets. He was also a finalist in 2003, with the Lightning, and in 2012, with the Rangers.
As for Cassidy, he helped the Bruins build the best record in the NHL (44-14-12) and won the Presidents' trophy, awarded to the team that finishes first in the general ranking of the NHL. The Bruins amassed 100 points and dominated the league with 44 wins and .714 efficiency.
The Bruins broke the 40-game mark for the seventh consecutive season, and their plus-53 goal and conceded differential was the best in the NHL.
In 2018 Cassidy finished second behind Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Last year, he led the Bruins to a single win of the Stanley Cup.
“Lots of professionalism in the locker room. In the end, it was not that difficult, we just had to refocus our efforts and discuss the things we needed to do again this year, "Cassidy told nhl.com.
"We haven't changed much, we haven't reinvented the wheel, we've only tried to play Boston Bruins hockey, pick up where we left off and just try to be better than in our last game . It has worked for us so far. "