Today the NHL announced that Ottawa Senators head coach Paul MacLean was among its three finalists for the Jack Adams Trophy, presented to the head coach who has contributed most to his team’s success. The Trophy is voted on by members of the NHL Broadcaster’s Association. Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville were announced as the other two nominees.
Since being hired in the 2011 offseason, MacLean has brought more than his patented mustache to the table. His presence has provided stability at a position that the organization struggled to fill since Bryan Murray stepped away from the bench and assumed the GM position following the 2007 Stanley Cup season. In the years that followed, the organization went through John Paddock, Bryan Murray version 2.0 and Cory Clouston with mixed results.
From the moment that he arrived, MacLean has earned the respect of his players, the media and the fans. In the modern history of this franchise, I don’t think there’s ever been a coach who has been held in such high regard by all three parties. Let alone a coach who can drew the ire of an opponent like Brandon Prust and the presence of a doppelganger like MacClone Paul Watson.
This is the second time in two seasons behind the bench that the ‘husky’ walrus’ has been nominated for the Jack Adams. Should he win, he’ll be the first Senators coach to win since Jacques Martin won for his work during the 1998/99 season.
Here’s the write up on MacLean from today’s press release:
MacLean guided the Senators (25-17-6) to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite the extended absence of several key players due to injury. Defenseman Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, was limited to 17 games; defenseman Jared Cowen, the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, was sidelined for all but seven games; top forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek played in just five and 23 contests, respectively; and starting goaltender Craig Anderson appeared in just 24 games. MacLean led a youthful Senators lineup, which included a League-high 14 rookies making at least one appearance, to the top defensive record in the Eastern Conference (2.08 goals-against per game). He earned his second consecutive berth as a Jack Adams finalist, finishing third as a rookie NHL head coach in 2012.
It’s interesting that the same criteria used to prop up what MacLean accomplished this season (and rightfully so) did not warrant the same kind of support for Bryan Murray in the NHL GM of the Year balloting. Ah well, I suppose there should be some level of satisfaction for seeing this organization be recognized for the unexpected level of success that came when the team was missing some significant key contributors from their lineup.
Other News of Pithy Importance:
– In case you missed it, my preview of Game Two of this Pens/Sens series can be read over at SenatorsExtra.com.
– Cory Conacher was featured on Puck Daddy as an unsung hero.
– Rumour has it that Spezza could return for the Senators in game three on Sunday night. Nails. Anything that helps make Colin Greening and Milan Michalek produce more than they have to this point.