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Sullivan snubbed again for Jack Adams

The Pens’ bench boss is again on the outside looking in at the three finalists for NHL coach of the year

NHL: APR 24 Penguins at Flyers Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NHL announced the top three finishers for the Jack Adams, and Mike Sullivan still finds himself not named as a finalist for the award voted on by broadcasters.

There is typically a common theme every year among Jack Adams finalists, and that continued this year. It’s usually composed of a team who out-performed expectations, a team with the Vezina trophy winner (funny how the league’s best goalie makes a coach look good) and the Presidents Trophy winning coach.

That held this year, with Calgary getting great goaltending from Jacob Markstrom and being a surprise team, New York was poor at even strength but had Igor Shesterkin to bail them out at almost historic levels, and the NHL’s top team in Florida.

Then in a year or two, when the luck dries up and the goaltending level slips a little, the Jack Adams winner typically finds himself fired and everyone wonders, “wow he just won coach of the year like 18 months ago, how is he out of a job now?”

Time will tell if the cycle will go full circle based on how the voters decided on just who was the “best coach” this year, while looking past other stable coaches like Sullivan and also worthy names to consider like Boston’s Bruce Cassidy (whose defensive system yielded great results for the Bruins, despite personnel looking average at best after a few top players).

Coaches like Sullivan, Cassidy and Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour (who the shine has apparently worn off for broadcasters now that he just has a steady, excellent team without and flashy storylines) probably all did way better coaching jobs this season, yet often are left on the outside looking in.

Amazingly, Sullivan has yet to be a finalist for the award in his seven seasons as Pittsburgh’s coach. Expectations are always high coaching Sidney Crosby and having a good team, and Sullivan has yet to be able to coach up his goalies enough to stand out among his peers, apparently.