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Cassidy, Tortorella, Vigneault vying for NHL coach of the year honours

Bruce Cassidy of the Boston Bruins, John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Alain Vigneault of the Philadelphia Flyers are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Jack Adams Award, presented annually to the NHL’s coach of the year.

Under Cassidy, an Ottawa native, the Bruins (44-14-12 in 70 GP) topped the NHL in both points (100) and points percentage (.714) to claim the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best club during the regular season.

Boston posted a league-best 44 wins, including 22 victories as both hosts (22-4-9) and visitors (22-10-3).

The Bruins, who reached the 40-win milestone for the seventh consecutive season, also posted an NHL-best plus-53 goal differential.

Tortorella guided the Blue Jackets to a .579 points percentage (33-22-15) at the time of the NHL’s March 12 suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That put them among Eastern Conference Stanley Cup qualifiers as the No. 9-ranked team.

The Blue Jackets recorded points in 33 of their final 41 games after Dec. 8 (22-8-11), highlighted by a pair of double-digit point streaks in that span: 12 games (8-0-4 from Dec. 9 to Jan. 2) and 10 games (9-0-1 from Jan. 11 to Feb. 7).

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Tortorella is the likeliest winner among coaches based on the Blue Jackets’ losses to free agency and injury, though Cassidy’s Bruins led the league by a wide margin when the season was halted. The Jack Adams is voted on by broadcasters.

“There’s a bunch this year,” Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice said. Pittsburgh coach “Mike Sullivan did a hell of a job, didn’t he, with what they faced? And all those guys are good, too. There’s a whole bunch of them.”

In his first season behind the Philadelphia bench, Vigneault led the Flyers to a .645 points percentage (41-21-7) at the pause, their best since a .646 mark in 2010-11 and third-best in 30 years.

The Flyers vaulted into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and a spot in the seeding round robin of the Stanley Cup qualifiers with a nine-game winning streak from Feb. 18 to March 7, eight of which were decided in regulation.

“I’m extremely proud of our team,” Vigneault said. “They want to be here. They want to put in the work. They are looking forward to the challenge.”

A Quebec City native, Vigneault is a Jack Adams finalist for the fifth time, with his fourth club. He captured the award in 2006-07 with Vancouver.


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