Trotz again named a finalist for NHL's top coach award

Friday, April 29, 2011 at 12:31pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – There’s no telling how many times between early October and mid-February that Nashville Predators general manager David Poile sat opposite coach Barry Trotz.

Not once did Trotz demand a replacement for center Matthew Lombardi, who sustained a season-ending concussion in the season’s second game. Poile eventually got one when he traded for Mike Fisher but even without that type of player Trotz managed to keep the Predators competitive.

“I try to work as closely as possible with Barry, but having said that a GM has to do his job and a coach has to do his job,” Poile said. “Barry has to take what I and our scouting staff can provide him with.

“He’s never come to me and said, ‘This isn’t going to work,’ or ‘We need this,’ or ‘We need that.’ … He works with what he has. He never plays the ‘poor me’ excuse. He just goes out and has a very professional, very even-keeled and a very business-like way of getting the job done.”

He also does it well enough to be considered one of the best at it.

Trotz on Friday was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. It was the second straight year he was named one of the top three in an award that recognizes the coach who has "contributed the most to his team's success.”

The other finalists, as determined in a vote by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, were Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault and Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma.

The winner will be announced June 22 as part of the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

Vigneault has been a finalist twice previously, with two different teams, and was the 2007 winner in his first season with Vancouver.

“That’s a reflection on the quality of the players, the coaches and the staff you work with,” Vigneault said. “It’s really just a team recognition in my mind.”

Trotz’s team was a fluid throughout much of the 2010-11 season as it lost a total of 248 man-games to injuries. Four players missed 24 straight games or more and 14 different forwards missed at least one contest.

“It was difficult in the sense that you didn’t know if the next guy could step up,” Trotz said. “They did. That’s a credit to the guys in the room. … We just adjust and the guys stepped up and got it done.”

The Predators finished fifth in the Western Conference and earned their sixth playoff berth in seven seasons. They were third in the NHL in goals allowed.

“He’s been here for so long – that tells a lot,” goalie Pekka Rinne, a Vezina Trophy finalist said. “He’s been a great coach for many, many years and I think that’s why he has so much respect in this locker room.”

As far as Poile is concerned, Trotz’s consistency over the course of his 12 seasons speaks volumes about the coach’s performance, particularly given the fact that Trotz typically refuses to speak up on his own behalf.

“I think the fact that you’re nominated for anything two years in a row must mean you’re doing things consistently well,” Poile said. “Our club has been through a lot – not that other teams haven’t. … It’s just another example of what he continues to do.”