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On the strong relationship between winning the Jack Adams and getting really good goaltending

Paul MacLean

Paul MacLean speaks with the media after being named head coach of the Ottawa Senators hockey team during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Tuesday June 14, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)


In the wake of Paul MacLean’s firing in Ottawa, we just thought we’d send a little note to the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association, which has the responsibility of voting on the Jack Adams Award. You know, the same award that MacLean won in 2013, only to be out of a job less than two years later.

We’re not saying MacLean didn’t deserve to win that year; in fact, he did an excellent job with a roster that ranked among the lowest in total payroll, not to mention all the injuries Ottawa had to endure. He’s a good coach, and it’s easy to see him back behind an NHL bench soon.

At the same time, you can’t deny MacLean got the benefit of some outstanding goaltending in 2013. The Senators had the highest team save percentage in the NHL that year, at .933.

And that’s been a common theme when it comes to recent Jack Adams Award winners.

Patrick Roy (2013-14): Avs had fifth-best team save percentage, at .919.
Ken Hitchcock (2011-12): Blues had highest team save percentage, at .929.
Dan Bylsma (2010-11): Pens had eighth-best team save percentage, at .917.
Dave Tippett (2009-10): Coyotes had seventh-best team save percentage, .918.
Claude Julien (2008-09): Bruins had highest team save percentage, at .922.

To be sure, a well-coached team that plays with structure is bound to make its goaltender’s job easier. But Lightning bench boss Jon Cooper, a Jack Adams finalist last season with -- hey, that’s interesting -- Vezina finalist Ben Bishop between the pipes, definitely had a point when he said, “Goaltending can make coaches look good.”

Case in point, how good is Roy looking this season? The Avs’ team save percentage is bottom 10 in the league, and their 9-12-6 record reflects that.

Say, wasn’t Semyon Varlamov a Vezina finalist last year?

Yes -- yes, he was.

Related: A brief post on the unpredictable nature of goaltending