Who should win Jack Adams Awards?

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

If you want a tough task, name the NHL's coach of the year.

The worthy candidates are many. Too many.

It's to the point coaches who could very well deserve the Jack Adams Award won't even be listed among the final three candidates.

Think about them all.

Boston's Claude Julien: Were the Bruins a playoff team in your mind to start the season? Even if they were, certainly not the Eastern Conference champs. It's a team loaded with question marks, yet came through with an incredible season.

Chicago's Joel Quenneville: In the first month of the season, he took over for Denis Savard, and the Blackhawks climbed to the third-best record in the Western Conference, 100 points, and will make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Columbus' Ken Hitchcock: The first playoff berth in franchise history -- in the eighth season -- has to earn him serious consideration. This is the first season the Blue Jackets have won more than 35 games.

Nashville's Barry Trotz: With or without a playoff berth, Trotz has done yet another amazing job in Music City, U.S.A. The only coach the team has known keeps his club in the hunt year after year.

San Jose's Todd McLellan: Sure, he inherited a good team, one that's surpassed 100 points for the third straight season. However, the Western Conference champs are rejuvenated and play a more up-tempo game.

St. Louis' Andy Murray: Mid-season, people were saying the only reason Murray wasn't being fired was because the team was in last place and didn't want to waste the money for a man not coaching. He may win coach of the year.

Vancouver's Alain Vigneault: Granted, when Roberto Luongo was out with an injury the Canucks struggled. However, their surge since the start of February can't be ignored.

Then, you have to also think about the pair of mid-season additions -- Dan Bylsma in Pittsburgh and Paul Maurice in Carolina. Both teams were on the road to nowhere and ended up in the fight at the final weekend for home-ice advantage in the first round.

While so many other awards are likely slam dunks: Alex Ovechkin (Hart), Steve Mason (Calder), Zdeno Chara (Norris), Tim Thomas (Vezina), the coaching award will be the most closely contested.

Would be worth putting a wager on in Vegas when the winner is announced in June.

Flaming C-Notes

For a good chuckle, surf on YouTube Hey There Iginla (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yS09w6lVHI). Taking the tune from Hey There Delilah, it's a video on the Flames captain, using a bobblehead. Among the great lines are: "Hey there Iginla, when you're riding on the bus and you are sitting next to Conroy, do you use some noise-reduction headphones? You outta try my set of Bose," and "Hey there Iginla, don't feel bad about Cammalleri, you keep setting up his goals and he's a UFA this summer, but cheer up, he'll be a Leaf or a Canuck. And then he'll suck." and the finale "You shoot harder than Mike Green, and you're nicer than Avery. Oh, if you played for coach Mac-T, you'd end up whining like Hemsky. Please stay in Calgary." ... Pittsburgh's Miro Satan cleared re-entry waivers yesterday. The importance of that, you ask? With Calgary's blueline injuries, veteran Anders Eriksson is likely to be summoned come playoffs, but in theory could be poached by another team even though Eriksson couldn't play for the team that claims him. By claiming a player off waivers now, teams would simply be doing it to prevent a team from having depth. Flames head coach Mike Keenan said such a move wouldn't be unethical, but did admit it would not be sporting. "Those are the rules, and they're entitled to do what they like, but there is protocol or respect that might be part of it." ... This season has seen all but one Flames first-round draft choice from 2000 through 2007 play at least one NHL game. Brent Krahn (2000, Dallas), Chuck Kobasew (2001, Boston), Eric Nystrom (2002), Dion Phaneuf (2003), Kris Chucko (2004), Matt Pelech (2005) and Mikael Backlund (2007). The other is 2006 pick Leland Irving.

Hockey talky

It seems wrong teams that try to make the playoffs but fail have no chance for the top pick in the draft yet squads that pretty much gave up do. Think of the Florida Panthers decision to not trade Jay Bouwmeester when they may very well lose him to free agency ... As if enough things aren't going right for the Anaheim Ducks. Now defenceman Francois Beauchemin is back. Bret Hedican could return this weekend, too ... Sorry, but in light of his hair-pulling incident nearly two weeks ago, a $2,500 fine to Vancouver's Alex Burrows for punching Edmonton's Zack Stortini from the bench this week wasn't enough. That act, no matter who it is, should be a one-game suspension.

You don't say

"What do you want me to do, be a full-time fisherman?. Why wouldn't I want to be a part of an organization I have pride in? If you think I'm a quitter or you're insinuating that you should bail out when things aren't going well, you don't know a hockey player and you don't know me."

-- Colorado head coach Tony Granato after being asked whether he expects to return next season.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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