BOSTON - The National Hockey League announced that Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has been named a finalist for the 2020 Jack Adams Award, given annually to the coach who has contributed the most to his team's success as voted on by the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association.
The other finalists for the award were Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella and Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault.
This is the second time Cassidy has been named a finalist for the award, having finished second in the voting in 2018.
Cassidy helped lead the Bruins to the Presidents' Trophy, awarded annually to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. The Bruins finished the regular season with a 44-14-12 record for 100 points in 70 games, six more than the next-highest team (St. Louis Blues, 94 points in 71 games). It is the third-straight 100-point season for the club. The team's point percentage through 70 games (.712) is higher than each of their previous two seasons (.652 in 2018-19, .683 in 2017-18). In addition to leading the league in points, the Bruins also ranked first in the NHL in wins (44), regulation wins (38) and goals allowed per game (2.39).
"[Patrice Bergeron's] been through it, [Zdeno Chara's] been through it, Tuukka [Rask], so that part was more about the mindset of: new year, turn the page, but still remember that we have some unfinished business is kind of how we've approached it," Cassidy said when asked during a Wednesday afternoon conference call with the other finalists about how the team rebounded so well from last season's Stanley Cup Final loss.
"Early in the year our record was excellent, the way we played wasn't, I've got to admit. We won some games, but we got away with some sloppy play and eventually we did find our game and started playing the right way. I felt a lot better about it halfway through the year. I think getting some breaks early on helped us a lot get through what could have been a difficult time.
"But again, a lot of professionalism in the room, so at the end of the day it wasn't a real difficult task. It was just trying to refocus and talk about the things we needed to do this year. It didn't change a lot, we didn't reinvent the wheel, we tried to play Boston Bruins hockey and pick up where we left off and be better than our last game. It's worked out for us so far and hopefully we'll have that attitude going forward."
Under Cassidy's guidance, the Bruins were recipients of two other prominent regular season awards - the William M. Jennings Trophy and Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak combined to allow just 167 goals through 70 games for an NHL-best average of 2.39 goals per game. Forward David Pastrnak became the first Bruins player to win the NHL's goal scoring trophy, tying Alex Ovechkin with a career-high 48 goals this season.
In his three full seasons as head coach of the Boston Bruins from 2017-20, Cassidy has helped the team rank in the Top 10 in nearly every major statistical category: 143 wins (2nd), 319 points (2nd), 3.21 goals per game (6th), 2.52 goals allowed per game (1st), 24.9 power play percentage (2nd), 82.6 penalty kill percentage (T-3rd) and 50.8 faceoff win percentage (T-9th).
"A lot of that credit goes to the players who get it done on the ice," said Cassidy. "I believe if we don't have the strongest leadership group in the league it's easily in the top two or three. Good staff, a good mix of personalities has allowed us to delegate very well and get along, go to work every day and enjoy each other's company. It's been a nice stretch here, but I know it's a results-oriented league and what have you done for me lately? Our focus now is just get ready, get ready for our next games against, well,Torts and then AV in Philly for the round robin. Hopefully be ready to go when the playoffs start and that's our goal right now."