Flyers Coach Alain Vigneault Named Finalist for Jack Adams Award
When the Flyers started this season with a new head coach, there was hope that a turnaround would be possible. But no one expected the Flyers to be in the position they are in today, preparing for a Round Robin as one of the Top 4 teams in the Eastern Conference with legitimate Stanley Cup hopes.
That is largely due to Alain Vigneault, the new head coach who quickly brought in a sense of accountability and leadership. Vigneault was named as one of the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award on Wednesday. The other finalists are Columbus head coach John Tortorella and Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy.
It is the fifth time Vigneault has been a finalist for the award, an NHL record. He won the award in the 2006-07 season with the Vancouver Canucks. If Vigneault does win the award, he would become the fifth Flyers head coach to win, joining Bill Barber, Mike Keenan, Pat Quinn and Fred Shero.
Vigneault and the Flyers really only went through a handful of rough spots on the season. Vigneault quickly announced his presence during the preseason when roster cuts were announced early and veterans were given more ice time. Aside from a few rough games scattered early in the season and a terrible West coast road trip at the end of December into January, the Flyers became a team that consistently brought effort every night.
As a result, the Flyers finished with a 41-21-7 record in 69 games with a total of 89 points, just one out of first place in the Metropolitan Division. Since Jan. 8, the Flyers had a 19-6-1 record, tied for the best in the NHL.
As for Vigneault’s competitors for the award, Tortorella took a Columbus team that had lost its star goalie and two top scorers to still be a playoff contender in the middle of a bunch of injuries. It was honestly remarkable that the Blue Jackets were even in the playoff race, and Tortorella has often been referred to as a favorite for the award because of that.
For Cassidy and the Bruins, it has been steady as she goes for most of the year. The reigning Eastern Conference champions were another team that was rolling into the postseason and running away with the President’s Trophy. Cassidy particularly has always done a great job of putting players in the best roles to fill team needs and getting a lot out of depth players. It makes Boston a threat to win every night.
While the results of award voting won’t be known until much later, to see Vigneault get recognition for his role in turning the Flyers around into a team that is seen as a contender and tough out is certainly great acknowledgement.