It was expected by many, and it has arrived.
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley has been named one of three finalists for the NHL’s Jack Adams Award, given to the league’s best coach each season.
Nicknamed “Bob the Builder” by local media, notably Herald scribe George Johnson, Hartley, 54, is a first-time nominee. He joined the Flames in May 2012, then had his first training camp cut short via a lockout. After his friend – and the general manager that hired him – Jay Feaster was let go before Christmas in 2013, many thought Hartley’s days were numbered. Feaster joked that if he had to fire Hartley, Bob would have to help him (Feaster) pack, too.
But Hartley was kept on, seemingly on an interim basis as interim GM Brian Burke assessed the situation. And after Brad Treliving was brought on as general manager, Hartley kept the Flames chugging along and ultimately, he was signed to a contract extension in December – just under a year after Feaster was let go.
Under Hartley’s tenure, the Flames made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and somehow, someway, found a way to stay in games late and steal points when every analytical argument suggested they shouldn’t have been able to.
For the curious, the Rangers’ Alain Vigneault and Nashville’s Peter Laviolette were the other two nominees.
Hartley joins NHL Foundation Player Award nominee Mark Giordano, Lady Byng nominee Jiri Hudler and Calder nominee Johnny Gaudreau as Flames representatives at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in late June.