We are now a quarter of the way through the 2011-12 NHL season, and it is becoming easier to tell which teams will be Stanley Cup contenders and which ones are already setting their tee times for April.
Part of what goes into making a team successful or a pretender is the head coach. They are the ones forced to make lineup adjustments in case of injuries and make sure top talent is utilized in the right way. If they can't measure up, they will be the first to go when a team fails; just ask Bruce Boudreau, Paul Maurice and Randy Carlyle.
The seven coaches in this slideshow have helped their teams to early-season success and can be considered early favorites for the Jack Adams Award, which is presented to the NHL's most outstanding coach every June.
As always, if you feel I forgot someone or that a coach mentioned here shouldn't be in consideration, please let me know what you think.
All stats presented are as of the end of games on Tuesday, Dec. 6.