Hard to go against MacLean here. He took a team who finished 8th in the East last year, had pretty much the same roster, lost the #1 centre, dman and goalie and still had them sitting in a playoff position at this day.
a bit of a connundrum. Do you go with the guy who's doing amazing things with a pretty good roster (quenneville) or the guy who's doing okay things with a ****** roster (MacLean)? If both teams continue their success, it should be interesting to see how the votes split at the end of the year.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I voted for Boudreau. Quenville's Hawks have had the more impressive first half, but Chicago was considered one of the better teams going into the season. I don't think a lot of folks pegged Boudreau's Ducks to be running away with their division, and second overall in the entire NHL.
MacLean gets some honorable mention regard from me for keeping a team with that many injuries to key players in playoff contention.
queen then bourd. it's great what bourdrea's done with the ducks, but regardless of what was 'expected' of the hawks, they did something we won't see for a longgg time. the rangers were projected to be top 5(probably higher than that) in the league and they didn't do jack in the 1st half.
1.Michel Therrien- Canadiens de Montréal:
A coach that had alienated the last team he was on, reinvented himself and had a 15th place into a 1st place team. Just an incredible turnaround for the Canadiens and it shouldn't go unnoticed.
2. Paul MacLean - Ottawa Senators:
We do indeed have injuries to all three key positions but you can't ignore the close to 4,000 man-games of experience from Gonchar, Alfredsson, Neil, Phillips...that's a lot of stabilizing veteran presence and for that reason I'm leery of giving him the award. Now, if those four were replaced by 18-23 year olds with under 200 games of NHL experience, it would be a no-brainer. We've also been regressing of late and might be fighting for a playoff spot within a few weeks. If that's the case (we finished 8th last year) we'd be playing around expectations for the team. Last year we were picked to be 15th so I would wholeheartedly have given him the award.
3.Bruce Boudreau - Anaheim Ducks:
Absolutely fantastic run by the Ducks. Beauchemin has returned to old form, Fasth blossoming, keeping vets focused, Ducks team in transition from its old run to a newer brand and showing no signs of slowing down.
HM Joel Quenneville. - Chicago Blackhawks
Fantastic run, deserves full credit for that but let's see how the 'hawks do the rest of the sesason. Should get a ton of first-place votes.
Habs were picked by most experts between 13 and 15th in the East
anybody who actually picked that hardly deserves to be called an expert. The turnaround was quite obvious to predict. Maybe not all the way to first place, but it was clear the team would be in the 6-10 range at worst.