Back on April 30, the NHL released their three candidates for the Jack Adams Award to be handed out June 20 at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas. Ken Hitchcock, John Tortorella and rookie head coach Paul MacLean were given the nominations, and there's no question all three are worthy of the honor.
Of the three coaches listed, only John Tortorella's New York Rangers still remains in the playoffs. Hitchcock's St. Louis Blues were swept by the red-hot Los Angeles Kings, and MacLean's up-and-coming Ottawa Senators lost in seven games to New York in Round 1.
There was one coach still remaining in the playoffs who you can considered "snubbed" for the award, and that's Phoenix's Dave Tippett.
The Jack Adams winner for the 2010 season—his first year in the desert—Tippet did a tremendous job with his team during the regular season, going 42-27-13 for 97 points, capturing the franchise's first division title and finishing third in the Western Conference. Phoenix avenged their first-round sweep last postseason to the Detroit Red Wings by having a noteworthy 2011-12 campaign.
The award is given to the coach who contributed most to his team's success. Tippett had to push the right buttons to win 42 games with the 18th best offense and 29th-ranked power play all season long. Not to forget, Tippett had to preserve his team's focus while dealing with Raffi Torres and his multiple punishments for various infractions during the year.
Stats aside, Tippett deserves consideration because of the outstanding coaching job with goalie Mike Smith.
After a subpar season with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010-11 and never finding his niche, Smith signed a two-year, $2 million contract with the Coyotes, reuniting himself with his former head coach from their Dallas Stars days. Tippett recognized Smith's talents in his time with Dallas and has given the former fifth-round draft pick the confidence needed to take the reigns of the No. 1 job in Phoenix.
Smith has also taken the Coyotes to a Western Conference matchup with the L.A. Kings and potential Vezina winner Jonathan Quick on the back of huge performance after huge performance in net.
So, while the three candidates up for the Jack Adams all deserve their nomination, Dave Tippett at least deserves some major credit for the job he's done with the Phoenix Coyotes this season.
And it's not done, yet.
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