First thing's first: Rod Brind'Amour should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
That this is even still a discussion point in 2021 is puzzling, but that's another column for another day.
This piece is about another deserving honor for Brind'Amour: the Jack Adams Award for "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success." In layman's terms, that's the NHL coach of the year, which is voted on by the NHL Broadcasters' Association, and for the 2020-21 season, Brind'Amour is a worthy recipient for that award.
The argument could have been made for Brind'Amour to receive recognition in either of his first two seasons as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, especially in 2018-19, when he led the team to a second-half resurgence and its first playoff berth in a decade.
Now, though, is the time for Brind'Amour to receive his due, and there is no better choice for the Jack Adams Award this year, something that 17 of 28 NHL general managers polled by The Athletic agreed with.
Let's dive right into the stats.
- The Canes finished with a 36-12-8 record and 80 points in 56 games, which ranked first in the Central Division and third in the NHL
- The Canes won a division title for the first time since 2005-06 and came within three points of winning the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history
- Brind'Amour owns the best points percentage (.631) by a head coach in franchise history
- Brind'Amour captured his 100th win as head coach in his 173rd game, the fastest coach to reach the century win mark in franchise history and the 12th fastest in NHL history
- Brind'Amour is the first coach in franchise history to earn a playoff berth in his first three seasons and is the only coach in franchise history to win at least one playoff round in back-to-back seasons
Pretty solid resume, right?
If that's not enough, here's what his players have to say.
Vincent Trocheck: "He's been incredible. I can't really say enough great things about Roddy. He's been awesome to play for, one of my favorite coaches to play for ever. He brings passion to the game. He's a great player's coach. He makes sure we're all prepared every night. Even just coming into the locker room before the game giving his pregame speeches, it seems like every night he has something new to fire us up. Every game, like how does he keep doing it? He comes in here and makes me want to run through a brick wall night in and night out. He's been awesome."
Sebastian Aho: "He's honest. He can be tough, but he's fair. You know he can expect players to work for him because he does that for the players. He probably puts the most work in of any coaches. He's a great leader for us. … You ask every player on our team and any people in our organization, and they could say [he deserves the award]. His impact for this organization and team and individuals is huge. The work he puts in and the leadership, the whole culture is pretty much him. It's been awesome having him as a coach for the past three years."
Nino Niederreiter: "He's definitely a terrific coach. We're very fortunate to have him. The whole coaching staff prepares us very well for each and every game. There's no doubt he should be in consideration for what he has done since he's been here."
Brady Skjei: "He's an unbelievable guy first. He's a guy you want to play for and a guy you want to win for. He treats everyone with respect. If I had a vote, I'd definitely pick him."
Warren Foegele: "I don't think it's just this year. The last three years he's been unbelievable. You can see how every single guy on this team rallies behind Rod. It's an absolute pleasure to play for him. We all respect him so much."
Jordan Staal: "He's been an unbelievable coach since he started. … He's a very good person, a great coach and a great role model. The details of coaching are there, as well. He knows how to push guys. He understands the game because he played the game. He has the respect of the room. He's got everything. It showed this year in how we played in a group for him."
That about says it all, no?