Monday morning while getting his team prepared for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Washington Capitals, Rangers head coach John Tortorella was named as a finalist for the Jack Adams Trophy, awarded annually to the top coach in the NHL.
It is the third time Tortorella has been selected as a finalist for the award, and the first time he has accomplished this feat as Rangers coach. In 2003 he finished in second place in the voting while coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning; and in 2004 he won the Jack Adams Trophy the same season he led Tampa Bay to its only Stanley Cup championship.
Tortorella is a finalist this season along with St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock and Ottawa Senators bench boss Paul MacLean. Torts guided the Blueshirts to 51 win and 109 points---both second most in franchise history, along with a first place finish in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.
"He's been great for us," goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said of Tortorella this morning. "He brings a lot of passion to this team, and when you play a lot of hockey---three, four times a week--you need a coach that passionate. He will challenge you, but it's in a good way. And you know what to expect when you get to know him because he's pretty honest about everything. I think it's a well-deserved honor, and he's been great ever since he got here. Good for him."
Tortorella was named the 34th coach in Rangers' history on February 23, 2009. SInce then he has won 145 regular season games, fifth most in franchise history. All told Tortorella has a 384-322-37-63 record in 806 regular season games as a head coach in the National Hockey League.
"It's a great honor for him," noted alternate captain Brad Richards on Monday morning. "He has worked with this organization the past three years to build something, and 51 wins this year is just a testament to him and the organization and how the players have bought in."