Monday, August 27, 2007
Trophies: Looking For Jack
So, as promised, here is the first of my posts with my pick for the big-five season awards for the 2007-08 NHL year. I figured I would start it off with the top coach award, the Jack Adams Trophy ...
1. Michel Therrien (Pittsburgh) - Coaches of top teams often get the trophy and the Penguins will likely be the top team in the East. Damn Cindy (Crosby) and his little cronies. Aside from a backup goaltender, the Pens have all the tools needed to go all the way. If Therrien can keep them motivated, the Jack Adams is his to lose.
2. John Stevens (Philly) - Revival stories always earn votes and the Flyers should improve anywhere from 30 to 50 points in the standings. Granted, that is due to the moves made by G.M. Paul Holmgren, but someone has to put the pieces together.
3. Marc Crawford (LA) - This will be another revival story. Crawford is a helluva coach and he will have some great young talent on the Kings to teach and point in the right direction. It will come down to goaltending - if former Ranger netminders Jason Labarbara and Dan Cloutier can be steady, the kids will power LA to the edge of the playoffs. I don't think they will make it - the West is too good - but a 20-30 point improvement will go far to give Crawford some votes ... same with Andy Murray in St. Louis.
Dark Horse: Mike Keenan (Calgary) - Now I know everyone hates him. I hate him. I told him he sucked from the sixth row of the Garden his first game back after leaving our Stanley Cup champion team. He also didn't do a whole helluva lot in the NHL since leaving New York. However, the team in Calgary is pretty much as close to a prototypical Keenan team as you will find. Gritty, hard working, willing to get dirty to get the job done ... and they have the best goalie in the league in Kipper and the top power forward in Jarome Iginla ... the tools are there for a big run. Keenan's abrasive means of motivation wears out his welcome quickly wherever he goes, but it could be enough to get the Flames back into the Stanley Cup Finals - and that will grab him the Jack Adams Trophy.
Tomorrow ... the Calder Trophy.