Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Finally some love for Rick Bowness: Midway season Jack Adam’s candidates
By Goose1 month ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL! We have reached the halfway point of the Winnipeg Jets’ season, and the team is on top of the National Hockey League. But you already knew that, dear reader. The Jets will have been leading the NHL for a full week by late Friday night and early Saturday morning.
We all know that this is a full 82-game season, and the Jets, in the past, have been piss poor due to a multitude of reasons in the latter half of the season. I’ve been saying since Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit got their games up to speed this season. The crown jewel that at the center of Kevin Cheveldayoff’s Jets is the head coach, Rick Bowness. Without the current head coach and Scott Arniel, we would not be discussing an elite team on top of the NHL or even the Central division.
Bowness had to over come a major hurdle early on this season. The medical emergency his wife experienced had the coach missing nearly a month of hockey. Yet he built such a healthy culture in the locker room and system that worked for the team on the ice that the team was able to thrive under associate coach Arniel during Bowness’ absence.
Since Bowness’ return behind the bench the team hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to 5-on-5 play. The Jets are 2nd in goals for during 5-on-5 play with 97 goals. The Vancouver Canucks are in first with 111. The Jets are right in the middle of the NHL when it comes to their expected goals for which is only 84.3.
It’s not just the offensive coming from almost every Jets player it’s the team defence too. They are number one in the NHL by a country mile when it comes to goals against at 5-on-5 which is 54. That is ten fewer than the the second place Florida Panthers who have allowed 64 5-on-5 goals. Source on these stats moneypuck.com
Most importantly through the first half the season Bowness and his staff have clearly communicated their high standards of play to the players and they have bought in to it. A lot of people had this team marked down as a fringe playoff team who might win a single round of playoff hockey to now being an elite team in the NHL who is in the core group of teams who are cup contenders this season.
Let’s remember Bowness is holding his team accountable without Kyle Connor their greatest offensive threat. Coaches roll in with a system and make changes as they need to, but Bowness goes above and beyond that and it looks like he is the ultimate off ice leader that this team has needed for years.
This could be the first season that Bowness goes to the NHL All-Star game as either a coach or a player. The guy has been around the NHL for five decades and is finally rising to the top.
Solely based on the first half of the Bowness should be a finalist for the Jack Adams award the coach of the year. If the Jets finish in the top five and ahead of the Canucks he should win it.
Who could contend for the Jack Adam’s with Bowness? Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet and Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella would be my two other picks. Much like the Jets these two teams had no business being where they are right now. Especially Tortorella and his Flyers through the first half of the season.
The Flyers currently hold the first wildcard playoff spot in the east and could very easily be in third in the Metropolitan division if the NHL points were changed up to the 3-2-1-0 points system. I don’t know a single soul who had the Flyers doing anything more than barley miss the playoffs. Tortorella has taken a group of losers and turned them into winners.
You add in the history in the NHL of Tortorella and eastern biases when it comes to award voting. He could be the front runner if the Flyers play with the same swagger in the back half of the season.
Tocchet has taken the Canucks from the joke of the Western Conference to a serious contender. Like Bowness, he has been able to get the best production out of all his players. They have changed two-thirds of their defenders in the last year, and the adjustments were made to keep Vancouver rolling and be even better than they were.
If my memory serves me correctly, the Canucks were supposed to be in the same place as the Jets at the start of the season—just barely making it to the playoffs and probably losing in the first round. Yet, they are right there with the Jets in the core of teams that can be considered cup finalists.
My early on votes would go
Tortorella first in voting
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