CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames have never been about one player, coach Bob Hartley has professed all season long.
The Flames aren’t about one coach, either.
Hartley, along with Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators and Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers, are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Jack Adams Award, presented to the head coach who has ‘contributed the most to his team's success,’ the National Hockey League announced Wednesday.
But Hartley was quick to share in the nomination.
“I really believe that it's a team honour,” saidHartley, whose press conference was interrupted by assistant general manager Craig Conroy and a custom-made ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. “Looking at the management, looking at ownership and management that believe in not only me but we brought in (associate coach) Jacques Cloutier at the same time we brought in (assistant coach) Marty Gelinas, (assistant coach - video) Jamie Pringle has done a wonderful job, Clint Malarchuk was there now it's (goaltending coach) Jordan Sigalet, we brought in one of my former players Dominic Pittis as a skills coach, we have (strength and conditioning coach) Ryan van Asten and I could go on and on.
“Looking at out medical staff, looking at our equipment fast and looking at our players -- we're moving in the right direction as an organization and that's what matters the most.”
Award winners will be announced June 24 in Las Vegas.
Hartley led the Flames to a 45-30-7 record in 2014-15, a total of 97 points and a 20-point gain over Calgary’s 27th-place finish a year ago. The mark is the highest jump among Western Conference teams and third-highest overall in the League.
It also helped the Flames capture their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009, a surprising achievement just two full years into a full-on rebuild.
It comes in Hartley’s third year behind the bench after serving as head coach in Zurich of the Swiss league.
He won a championship in his only season there.
“I challenge myself, I challenge my partners to learn every day,” Hartley said. “Looking at my experience in Zurich, Jacques Cloutier and I went there, we were looking for a challenge, we were bringing NHL experience I think we brought a lot of details but on the flipside just watching minor hockey practices, watching kids in the gym at six or seven years old and dealing with another culture.
“I can tell you today that I really believe that I came back from Switzerland as a better coach.”
Calgary also tied for first in overtime wins (9), second in third-period goal differential (+31), third in wins when trailing after 40 minutes (10), and fifth in points percentage when leading after 40 minutes (24-4-1, .923).
The Flames recorded the most blocked shots (1,557) in the NHL, too.