Lindy Ruff jokes Jack Adams Award should be renamed

Elliotte Friedman joins Gene Principe to talk about the upcoming vote to expand the NHL to Las Vegas, and explains why his Calder vote could be somewhat controversial.

LAS VEGAS — Lindy Ruff joked recent history suggests the Jack Adams Award could do with a new name.

“It might have to be changed to ‘coach for the year,'” said the Dallas Stars bench boss.

Ruff, Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers or Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals will be honoured as the NHL’s top coach for the 2015-16 season at the league’s awards show in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

And while two of the last three winners lost their jobs soon after taking home the trophy, all three of this year’s nominees said that just comes with the territory.

“I don’t worry about that. It’s part of it,” said Trotz, who led the Capitals to a 120-point season. “One of reasons I think (the firings) have happened is that usually the winner of this has had such a great season (and) it’s hard to duplicate.

“A lot of times the expectations are unrealistic and the media and fans expect the next level. You don’t sneak up on anybody anymore. The target’s on you. You never get the (opponent’s) B-game, you get their absolute A-game.”

Paul MacLean won the Jack Adams with the Ottawa Senators in 2012-13, but was axed just 18 months later, while Bob Hartley took home the honour last season only to be let go in May after the Calgary Flames missed the playoffs.

“The history of this award isn’t great for coaches,” Gallant said with a smile at Tuesday’s media availability. “It’s great to be nominated with Lindy and Barry — two great coaches and two great guys.”

Among the other nominees up for awards set to be handed out at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino are Chicago sniper Patrick Kane, Dallas captain Jamie Benn and Pittsburgh counterpart Sidney Crosby, who are up for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player. Kane and Benn are also nominated along with Washington goalie Braden Holtby for the Ted Lindsay Award as the voted on by the players.

The Norris Trophy is between Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty of Los Angeles and San Jose’s Brent Burns.

The Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie will go to Holtby, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop or Jonathan Quick of Los Angeles, while the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year could go to Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid or Chicago’s Artemi Panarin.

Ruff led the Stars to a 50-23-9 record, good for tops in the Western Conference and second in the overall standings in 2015-16. He was also nominated for the Jack Adams in 2006 and 2007 when he was with Buffalo.

“There were a lot of real good jobs done this year by different coaching staffs,” said Ruff. “I don’t really feel it’s an individual award. It’s an award that takes more than just one guy to get you there.”

Gallant, meanwhile, led the Panthers to top spot in the Atlantic Division and a franchise-record for points (103) and wins (47).

“It’s all about getting better,” said Gallant, nominated for the first time after going 47-26-9. “I know I wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for my assistant coaches and my team and my management staff.

“It’s not about what Gerard Gallant does as the head coach.”

Trotz guided the Capitals to a 56-18-8 mark and the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top team in the regular season, setting franchise records for overall wins and road wins (27).

“There’s so many good coaches, I don’t even know how you vote on it,” said Trotz, twice a nominee while with Nashville. “It’s a team award. Any coach that’s been up for this award knows how hard your staff works to make it happen.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.