Philadelphia Flyers' Craig Berube Strong Candidate To Win NHL's Coach Of The Year

By Steven Smith
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nearing the end of another exciting season of NHL hockey, much of the award talks are beginning to swirl. Arguments about who should win MVP and the Vezina Trophy fill the atmosphere of bars everywhere. Perhaps the most intriguing award, though, is the Jack Adams trophy. For those of you who don’t know, the Jack Adams trophy is awarded to the league’s “best” coach. I put best in quotations because, like all other awards, it’s not always given to the right guy. Not to mention there’s a lot more that goes into it than a simple record at the end of the year. So with plenty of candidates on board, where does Philadelphia Flyers head coach Craig Berube stand?

Date back to last season where his story pretty much began. He was an assistant to Peter Laviolette at the time. It was a season where the Flyers finished second to last in the division. Fast forward to the beginning of this season. The Flyers were off to a miserable 0-3 start and things looked bad — real bad. I personally thought the Laviolette firing was a little premature, but look what Berube has done.

He now has the Flyers playing their best hockey in two seasons and sitting in third place of a revamped and more competitive Metropolitan Division. He’s got his team playing more disciplined. He’s helped figure out the Flyers’ goalie woes — for now. Most impressively, though, he’s listened to his gut more often than not. He’s done things his way, and quite frankly, it’s working. He hasn’t listened to the media or the fans and all their suggestions. He’s made his own line changes, and for the most part, the Flyers’ offense has been blossoming.

When it’s all said and done, though, he probably won’t bring it home. He’s definitely a worthy candidate, but the fact of the matter is that there are a few guys who are more worthy.

You have your obvious guys coaching the top teams in the league. You know, teams like the Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks. To me, however, there are two guys that really stick out. Not just because of their record but how they’ve brought their teams back to the top.

One of my picks to win the trophy is Patrick Roy — probably like a lot of people. It’s a valid choice, though. Roy has taken one of the league’s more youthful and inexperienced teams and made them a Western Conference powerhouse. The Colorado Avalanche finished dead last in the west last season and second to last overall. This season, it’s a completely different story. Roy has steered Colorado to what will be its first 100-point season in a decade.

It’s really hard to take away what Jon Cooper has done with the Tampa Bay Lightning as well. He’s sent them in a complete 180. Tampa Bay missed out on the playoffs last year but is in prime position this year and very well could win the cup. Despite losing Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline, Tampa Bay has still managed to dominate. When they lost Steven Stamkos for an extended amount of time earlier on in the season, they were still neck-and-neck with the league’s best.

My guess is that it will go to one of those two coaches.  There is still plenty of hockey to play, though, so we’ll have to wait and see. Who do you think will win the Jack Adams trophy?

Steven Smith is a Philadelphia Flyers writer for  Follow him on Twitter and “like” him on Facebook.

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