It would seem as if all the hard work that Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper put into crafting the young Lightning team this season is actually getting some of the tons of credit he deserves. The National Hockey League has announced the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, which is set to be awarded at the NHL Awards in June.
Now, for those of you who do not know, the Jack Adams Award is awarded every year to the coach who is “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”
Anyone who followed the Lightning this season knows that this more than applies to Cooper this season.
While the Lightning may not have experienced the run that they would have hoped for in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, being eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in four games in the first round, they certainly had a heck of a season, and that is without taking into consideration that they spent a majority of that season without one of their most valuable players.
Despite not having now-Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on the roster for nearly four months’ time while he recovered from a broken leg, Jon Cooper was able to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a record of 46-27-9, securing them a position in the post season.
If there is anything that can be said about Coach Cooper, it is that he knows what it takes to win. If you remember, back in 2012, he was the coach of the then-Lightning American Hockey League affiliate Norfolk Admirals that captured the Calder Cup.
It is very difficult to incorporate that much young talent onto an NHL roster all at the same time and bring about the kind of results that Cooper was able to accomplish. While this young team may not have made it all the way to the big game this season, I for one, have no doubt in my mind that when the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the ice next season, they will be ready to take on all comers.
A large part of this confidence comes from my faith in Jon Cooper.
Joining him as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award is Colorado Avalanche Head Coach Patrick Roy, and Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock.
The NHL Awards are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 in Las Vegas.