We knew weeks ago that Jon Cooper wasn’t going to win the Jack Adams Trophy, the award handed out annually to the “best” coach in the NHL. He wasn’t named as one of the three finalists so it’s not like it was a shock yesterday when Darryl Sutter was revealed as the winner based on votes by members of the NHL Broadcasters Association.
What we did learn on Thursday is that Coach Cooper finished 10th in voting with 12 points (1 first place vote, 1 second place vote, 4 third place votes).
Here are the final Jack Adams Award voting results: pic.twitter.com/rIpexLzwrc— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 3, 2022
Look. I get it. This award usually goes to the coach that overachieves the most based on preseason expectations. Still, it’s now nine years and counting that the longest tenured coach in the league (and two-time defending champion) hasn’t won this award (he has been a finalist twice: 2013-14 and 2018-19). That just seems wrong. Maybe at some point they’ll just hand him a lifetime award for coaching.
It seems that the fact that he has a couple of future hall of famers on his team hurts him in the voters eyes. There is so much talent on the team that it’s expected that he wins and so when he keeps racking up over 65% of the available points year in and year out, well, that’s just what the Lightning are supposed to do.
Go ahead and forget that other teams with similar amounts of talent fail to reach those levels of success. While you’re forgetting that, forget that he had to restructure his entire team after losing his best defensive line and one of most relied on forwards (Tyler Johnson). Might as well forget that he also didn’t have Brayden Point or Nikita Kucherov for large portions of the season. Pay no attention to the fact that his blue line was so demolished at one point that Sean Day and Darren Raddysh were getting minutes in NHL games. All that and the Lightning still posted 110 points (the third highest total during his tenure) in a highly competitive Atlantic Division.
Coaching successful players in this league takes its own special talent. He has to keep them motivated over a long season despite the fact that they’ve climbed the mountain twice in a row. That’s not easy. Keeping egos in check is not easy. Balancing criticism and encouragement with both young players and veterans is not easy. God knows that if the Lightning had missed the playoffs there would have been plenty of blame thrown Coach Cooper’s way, so why shouldn’t he get the equal amount of credit when they do succeed?
In the end there is only one trophy that Coach Cooper cares about seeing on his mantle at the end of the day - the Stanley Cup. Still, throw the guy a bone and maybe two or three more first place votes.
Lightning / NHL News
A predictable loss, and a wake-up call [Raw Charge]
While the loss wasn’t inevitable, it was predictable. The Lightning struggle coming off of long layoffs. They did so again on Wednesday. Also predictable, the Lightning bouncing back from losses. Hopefully they can do it again.
Four adjustments the Lightning need to make in Game Two [The Athletic]
Of the four points listed, covering the slot area/preventing East-West passes is probably the biggest one. New York thrives on that type of puck movement and the Lightning have to be better and controlling it.
Bouncing back is one thing the Lightning know how to do well [Lightning Insider]
Subscription is required for EE’s site, but well worth it. The Rangers are going to test the 18-game winning streak following a loss that the Lightning are currently riding.
This far into the playoffs, injuries test Lightning’s depth [Tampa Bay Times]
It’s an oft-repeated trope that no one is 100% healthy by the time a team gets to the Conference Finals, but injuries are starting to test a Lightning team that isn’t quite as deep as it has been in the past.
“Canada’s sports minister ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada on Thursday after the organization recently settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by multiple members of the country’s 2018 world junior hockey team.”
In a positive step for keeping the Coyotes in Arizona, the Tempe city council voted 5-2 to open negotiations with the team in regards to a sports and entertainment district that would include a new home (with more than 5,000 seats) for the hockey team. It’s a step in the right direction, but just a step.
Last Night’s Game
Colorado leads series 2:0
Who had Pavel Francouz posting the first shutout in the Conference Finals? No one, that’s who. The Av’s back-up stopped 24 shots to put his team up 2-0 in the series. Nazem Kadri posted three assists while Artturi Lehkonen, Josh Manson, Mikko Rantanen, and Nathan MacKinnon provided the goals. The series shifts to Edmonton for the next two.