by NHL.com // @HockeyPEI // Thursday, May 19th, 2022
CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – Andrew Brunette of the Florida Panthers, Gerard Gallant of the New York Rangers and Darryl Sutter of the Calgary Flames are finalists for the Jack Adams Award, given annually to the coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.”
The winner will be announced June 2 during the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.
Brunette took over the Panthers after Joel Quenneville resigned Oct. 28. He guided them to Florida records in wins (58) and points (122) and the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the regular season. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau scored 115 points and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won 39 games, each the most in Panthers history. Sam Reinhart (82 points), Anthony Duclair (58 points) and Aaron Ekblad (57 points) were among 13 skaters to set new NHL career highs, and Florida averaged 4.11 goals per game, the most in the NHL since 1995-96.
“I think it’s deserved for my staff, our players, our veteran players that made the transition extremely easy,” Brunette said. “It’s from Joel, it’s from everybody. I don’t really look at is as an individual award or an individual even thought right now.
“I think I didn’t change. I just tried to be myself. I think players see through if you’re not authentic, so I wanted to make sure that I was myself and, again, I’ve said this all along; the credit’s all to them. They made that transition very seamless. They’ve made it easy for me and they’ve competed their butts off all year, so that’s all you can ask. I didn’t do anything special.”
Gallant guided the Rangers to 52 wins, tied for second most in their history (53, 2014-15) in his first season with New York. The Rangers are the 10th team in NHL history and first since the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Penguins to finish with at least 50 wins and 100 points, and have a 50-goal scorer (Chris Kreider), a 90-point scorer (Artemi Panarin) and a goalie with at least 36 wins (Igor Shesterkin). The Rangers had 27 comeback wins, second in the NHL behind the Panthers (29). They were first with 23 one-goal comebacks, rallied from down two goals four times and eight of their comeback victories came in the third period.
“It’s an honor,” Gallant said. “Being out the last two years and coming back with the New York team, the team has been excellent this year, we’re a young team, so it’s definitely an honor. You look at the top 10 teams and there’s a lot of good coaches, so for me, any one of the 10 could have been nominated and had a chance to win that award.”
He won the award as coach of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18, and was a finalist as coach of the Panthers in 2015-16. Rangers forward Ryan Reaves played for Gallant with the Golden Knights for three seasons and the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, a five-game loss to the Washington Capitals.
“He just lets guys play,” Reaves said, “He doesn’t harp on guys. He doesn’t harp on mistakes. He lets you know if you make a mistake, but not in a way that’s going to make you nervous to go out and do something the next shift. He gives you the confidence to go out and rectify any mistakes you make. He lets you know when you’re doing a good job. The biggest thing is he allows guys to play with confidence, whether they have a good shift or bad shift.”
The Flames (50-21-11) won the Pacific Division in Sutter’s first full season of his second stint as coach. Their 111 points are second in Calgary/Atlanta Flames history behind the 117 by the 1989 Stanley Cup champions. Sutter was a finalist with the Flames in 2003-04, when he guided them to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, and coached the Los Angeles to Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014.
“The reason I came back,” Sutter said, “I said this lots, I watched the team lots, watched the [Edmonton] Oilers and Calgary lots … [I] thought the Flames were falling behind in terms of what was going on in the division and what was going on in the League. That was the biggest reason I came back.
“I’ve been fortunate to be in the places I’ve been with the owners and types of teams you’d like to see have success. You get to the point where you can, not pick and choose, but don’t have to go through the process to take that position.”
Rod Brind’Amour of the Carolina Hurricanes won the Jack Adams Award last season.
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