by PuckStopsHere on 11/20/10 at 11:21 PM ET
As the season progresses, I am picking more and more initial leaders for the NHL awards. Today, I am looking at the coach of the year. Generally, my opinions on this award are out of synch with the hockey media who vote on the award. Generally, the media seem to pick the coach of the most improved team as coach of the year, when often that improvement is due to the players much more than it is due to coaching. Following that line of logic, the coach of the year will likely be one of Davis Payne, Terry Murray or Guy Boucher as St Louis, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay are some of the most improved teams in hockey. Past coaches of the year like Bruce Boudreau in Washington and Dave Tippett in Phoenix have no chance to be coach of the year because their team cannot improve enough for them to be candidates again.
At any rate, my coach of the year pick is none of the above. It is Mike Babcock of Detroit.
Babcock has proven that he is a top coach for many years. However, he has never been a coach of the year, in part because Detroit is too good a team to improve enough for their coach to be considered in the running. That is a pretty poor way to determine a coach of the year.
Mike Babcock is doing a great job while keeping an aging team at the top of the standings. Detroit has fewer losses than any other team (with five), though this is related to their having played fewer games than most teams. He is a top coach who does a great job keeping a very good team competitive year after year. He won’t be seriously considered for the Adams Trophy because his team is too good and that makes very little sense.
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