Bruce Cassidy Deserves The 2022-23 Jack Adams Award
I know what you’re thinking already. The Bruins broke the win record and Jim Montgomery is basically a lock to win the award so why should I bother reading this post. Maybe you’re right. However, I just think that maybe the straight forward process isn’t the correct one in this instance. If we’re being real, Bruce Cassidy deserves the 2022-23 Jack Adams Award and it’s a shame he’s not getting the credit he deserves.
Let’s start by making an analogy. What if Cassidy is the Bill Parcells and Montgomery is the Wade Phillips? What if Cassidy is the Jimmy Johnson and Montgomery is the Barry Switzer? This isn’t meant to disparage Montgomery. He’s clearly a qualified hockey coach and really helped turn the Bruins’ season into record breaking. He should absolutely get the praise he deserves. However, I’m not sure any of it is possible without Cassidy.
Montgomery has essentially admitted that he kept Cassidy’s defensive system in place and simply unleashed his style of offense. There is actually a piece on The Athletic (don’t bother clicking. Just mentioning for context) that Montgomery kept all the defensive tactics in place. Being the defensive coordinator for a record breaking side should matter for coach of the year voting, right?
Keep in mind, Montgomery took over a Bruins team that made the playoffs every single year Cassidy coached them in Boston. Yes, they took a leap but it’s also a team that won 51 games the year prior. It’s also a team that convinced David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron to return for pennies on the dollar. It’s also a team that’s added Dmitry Orlov, Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnet Hathaway, Pavel Zacha, and Hampus Lindholm in the last year and a half. With the short sample of Lindholm being maybe the exception, it’s undeniable this team has improved since Cassidy departed. Taylor Hall is playing third line left wing. Boston also got a 61 goal scoring season by the best winger in the NHL, David Pastrnak. I want you to consider that.
The Golden Knights missed the playoffs a year ago. The same thing that plagued them a year ago happened. The VGK were hit hard by the injury bug. Maybe more than any other team that didn’t sabotage themselves by acquiring Max Pacioretty. Check this cheese out.
- Mark Stone: 39
- Shea Theodore: 27
- Alex Pietrangelo: 9 with a family medical emergency*
- Jack Eichel: 15
I can also include guys like Reilly Smith, Nic Roy, and Zach Whitecloud, etc to that list. Nevertheless, the team’s four best players and highest paid guys missed a significant amount of time. Vegas not only one the Pacific but also won 51 games and clinched the best overall record in the Western Conference.
I’m not done.
The VGK also got zero games out of Robin Lehner. Vegas won the Western Conference while shuffling through five different goalies. I’ve just never heard of such a thing. It’s something that would have sank 99% of teams. Go look at the Devils from a year ago. Bad goaltending sank a really good team to the bottom for another year. Vegas overcame it and it has everything to do with Cassidy’s system (and partially their really good blue line). These goalie stats are ridiculous.
Logan Thompson: 21-13-3, 2.65 GAA, .915 SV%
Adin Hill: 16-7-1, 2.45 GAA, .915 SV%
Laurent Brossoit: 7-0-3, 2.17 GAA, .927 SV%
Jonathan Quick: 5-2-2, 3.13 GAA, .901 SV% (Kings numbers .876 SV%)
Jiri Patera: 2-0-0, 2.50 GAA, .929 SV%
Just stupid good. Logan Thompson was undrafted. Adin Hill has been terrible in every other location and just had the best year of his life. Laurent Brossoit started the year in the AHL and is a nobody. Jonathan Quick has aged. He was also night and day better compared to earlier in the year with the Kings. What the VGK goalies did this year feels almost impossible. Except it happened. They basically didn’t blow a third period lead all season and that’s the mark of a well coached team. They wouldn’t have won the West if they did. Food for thought.
Bruce Cassidy won’t win the Jack Adams Award but he should. Regardless, what’s clear is that this has turned into a home run hire for the Golden Knights. I can’t imagine what this season would have looked like if he wasn’t behind the bench. It would have looked a lot like it did this past year. A year in which a lot of people projected them to be a bubble team.