Bruce Cassidy can feel vindicated with a Jack Adams nomination for the season the Boston Bruins just played.
See the problem for Cassidy and the Bruins is the fact that people view them on a higher pedestal, because they’ve been this good for so long and indeed went within one game of winning the Stanley Cup this past summer.
Fairly or unfairly, it means Bruce Cassidy doesn’t get the credit he deserves and that the Boston Bruins, by virtue of that, also don’t get the credit a President’s Trophy winning season deserves.
Looking at the three finalists for the Jack Adams this year; the competition is John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers.
While both the Blue Jackets and Flyers did have impressive seasons, neither came that close to the 100-point total that the Boston Bruins had already reached prior to the league being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All credit to Vigneault, who in fairness is very deserving of the nomination; Philadelphia went from 22nd overall and missed the play-offs to sixth in the NHL and just a point behind the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division, since his arrival.
It’s not as if they overhauled the roster to do so either; they had some luck with the ongoing development of Carter Hart as a number one goaltender in the NHL and Travis Konecny had his best year yet, but all in all, there weren’t major differences in terms of personnel.
The stand-out statistic is the fact they turned a goal differential of -37 around to a +36 at the season suspension. In a number of key areas, he saw his team improving significantly.
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John Tortorella, by comparison, really shouldn’t be a contender for the Jack Adams award; his Columbus Blue Jackets finished the shortened season a lowly 14th.
Yes, they saw major names leaving for free in the summer; namely the likes of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene, but a 14th place finish after facing some turnover doesn’t really make you an amazing coach.
Back to Bruce Cassidy; he’s likely not winning this one even with the Boston Bruins being the league’s dominant side. Compare our record year-on-year and yes, he makes a big difference, but you could also make strong arguments that the leadership group affects that a lot too.
In all fairness to the Boston Bruins coach and our first place finish, Alain Vigneault has done the more impressive job here in turning his side around and probably will take out the Jack Adams Award, fairly or unfairly, however you see it.