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Panthers' Dineen Still Favorite To Win Jack Adams

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 2:12 PM ET / Features
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Panthers\' Dineen Still Favorite To Win Jack Adams
The 2011-12 season reaches its mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But, NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

Now is the time when contenders begin separating themselves from the pretenders as conference seeds begin to take shape.
 
A key to establishing that success is direction from the coach as clubs seek the proper line adjustments and chemistry during the season's second half. It's amazing to think that since the quarter-mark of the season, there have been seven coaching changes (St. Louis, Washington, Carolina, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Montreal, Columbus).
 
There currently are eight active coaches who have an Adams Trophy on their mantel -- Dan Bylsma, Joel Quenneville, John Tortorella, Lindy Ruff, Alain Vigneault, Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien and Dave Tippett.
 
There's a good chance a few of them again will be in the running at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. In fact, NHL.com considers the Rangers' Tortorella worthy of a real good look. Here are the three who deserve the most recognition right now.
 
Winner
 
First-year coach Kevin Dineen has the Panthers still in the top spot in the Southeast Division. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kevin Dineen, Florida Panthers -- The first-year coach was our choice at the quarter-point and remains there at the halfway point as his Panthers still hold the top spot in the Southeast Division while sitting third in the Eastern Conference despite going 4-4-2 over their past 10 games. Dineen was hired in the offseason for one reason -- to help lead the team to its first Stanley Cup Playoff berth since 2000; so far, so good. If it happens, there isn't any question he'd be considered the favorite to win the Jack Adams.
 
Finalists
 
John Tortorella, New York Rangers -- In addition to the loss of defenseman Marc Staal for most of the first half of the season, Tortorella has had to deal with starting games in Europe, a long road trip while Madison Square Garden underwent renovations, and the glare of HBO's cameras in the run up to the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Oh, and there's the pressure that's associated with coaching in Manhattan, as well. Through it all, his club has remained steadfast and focused -- the Rangers are a League-best 18-1-1 when scoring first. It's possible Tortorella could become the first Rangers coach to win the award.
 
Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues -- Since taking over in November, all the 59-year-old Hitchcock has done in 28 games is go 18-5-5 to catapult his team into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. The team was 6-7-0 when GM Doug Armstrong replaced Davis Payne with Hitchcock. There's no question the Blues' roster was littered with talent, and with Hitchcock calling the shots, the transition has been a relatively flawless one. In the past, Hitchcock-coached teams have displayed structure, discipline, solid special teams and, most importantly, consistency. On top of that, Hitchcock has helped re-energize the fans at Scottrade Center as the club has won a League-leading 17 games on home ice (17-3-2).

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 51 17 21 14 38
J. Jokinen 54 11 27 12 38
J. Huberdeau 54 10 28 12 38
V. Trocheck 54 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 54 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 50 11 13 -4 24
A. Ekblad 50 10 13 20 23
B. Campbell 54 5 17 20 22
N. Bjugstad 39 9 10 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .928 2.17
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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