TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Jon Cooper was named one of three finalists for the NHL’s Jack Adams Award, given to the coach who has "contributed the most to his team’s success," the league announced Tuesday.
Cooper, 46, led the Lightning to 101 points and a 46-27-9 regular-season record, which resulted in the franchise’s first postseason appearance since the 2010-11 season. They finished second in the Atlantic Division before the Montreal Canadiens swept them in a best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.
"I would say more excited than optimistic," Cooper said on April 24 when discussing his anticipation for next season. "Optimistic — I think there’s a little bit of doubt in there."
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy also were named finalists. The winner will be announced June 24 in Las Vegas.
Cooper guided Tampa Bay through plenty of turmoil. Last June, the Lightning moved on after a compliance buyout of long-time franchise staple Vinny Lecavalier. Then center Steven Stamkos, one of the NHL’s premier young talents, broke his right tibia during a loss to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11. In March, captain Marty St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers after weeks of speculation that he wanted out of the only team he had known since the 2000-01 season. In April, goaltender Ben Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist, was lost for the rest of the regular season and playoffs after dislocating his left elbow.
Cooper, the former coach of Tampa Bay’s American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse, New York, was named former coach Guy Boucher’s replacement in March 2013. Cooper guided the Lightning to a 5-8-3 record to close the 2012-13 season before beginning his first full NHL campaign.