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Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness named a Jack Adams award finalist

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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The NHL is continuing to announce daily finalists for the upcoming awards show in June. Today’s finalists announcement was for the Jack Adams Award. If you’re unfamiliar with this award, it’s awarded each year to the top coach in the NHL, and the winner gets voted by the National Broadcasters’ Association.
The finalists for the 2024 Jack Adams Award are Rick Tocchet from the Vancouver Canucks, Andrew Brunette from the Nashville Predators, and Rick Bowness from your Winnipeg Jets. As I did when Connor Hellebuyck was nominated for the Vezina, I’ll break down the other nominees credentials before taking a look at what Rick Bowness has accomplished this season with the Winnipeg Jets.
Starting with Rick Tocchet, the coach of the Vancouver Canucks. Tocchet may be the favourite to win the award at the moment, seeing the early reactions on social media. Rick Tocchet is currently in his 1st full season with the Canucks after taking over mid-season last year. It was quite the turnaround for the Canucks this season, and Tocchet led the team to a record of 50-23-9.
Tocchet’s Canucks won the Pacific Division, improved by 26 points from last season, and improved in pretty much all categories both offensively and defensively. Rick Tocchet is a first-time finalist for the Jack Adams Award and could be the 3rd Canucks coach to win the award. Tocchet could become the 1st Canucks coach to win the award since Alain Vigneault back in 2006-07.
The other coach nominated beside your Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness is Andrew Brunette from the Nashville Predators. Brunette has some recent history with the award, being the runner-up back in 2021-22 when he was coaching the Florida Panthers. Brunette, like Tocchet, is in his 1st full season with the Predators. The Predators went 47-30-5 this season and qualified for the 1st wild card spot in the playoffs.
The highlight of Brunette’s season was helping lead the Predators to an unexpected franchise-record 18 game point streak, going 16-0-2 from mid-February to mid-March. That stretch of games improved the Predators statistically in all categories, and positioned the Predators comfortably in a playoff spot for most of the rest of the regular season. The Predators have never had a coach win this award, so Brunette could be the 1st Predators coach to win it.
Last but not least, the 3rd finalist for the Jack Adams Award is the coach of the Winnipeg Jets, Rick Bowness. The response to his name being in the conversation for this award was a bit of a surprise seeing the early reactions on social media. Some other names mentioned that may have been “snubbed” from being a finalist include Edmonton Oilers coach Kris Knoblaunch, New York Rangers coach Peter Laviolette, and Dallas Stars coach Peter DeBoer.
Despite the noise on social media, Rick Bowness has proven himself as a deserving finalist in his 2nd full season with the Jets. Bowness helped lead the Jets to a 52-24-6 record, good enough for 2nd place in the Central division. The Jets didn’t have as much of an improvement as a team like the Canucks, but they did improve by 15 points from last season. The 52 wins tied the Jets record for most wins in a season in franchise history.
Out of the 3 finalists, Rick Bowness was the only 1 out of the 3 to miss an extended period of time during the regular season. Not only is Bowness one of the oldest coaches in the league, but he unfortunately had to deal with several off-ice concerns this season. He missed 4 games in March because of a medical procedure, and he missed 11 games early on in the season to tend to his wife who suffered a seizure. Bowness is a 1st time finalist and the Jets have never had a coach win the award.
It’ll be interesting to see who ends up being the winner of the Jack Adams Award this season. This NHL season has seen an unusually large amount of mid-season coaching moves, with nearly half the teams in the league making some sort of coaching change. Despite this, there have still been several positive coaching stories, including those of the finalists selected for this award. We’ll see who ends up winning this award in June, and a big congratulations to these men behind the bench who play a big part in help guiding their teams to victory.

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