John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets won the Jack Adams Award, presented annually to the coach who contributed most to his team's success. The other finalists were Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers and Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Torts finished first with 267 votes, beating out Babcock (182) and McLellan (181).
Torts came to Columbus in the 2015-16 after the team fired former head coach Todd Richards as the team started 0-7. Torts spent the rest of the season trying to build positive habits into a team that had struggled for them for several seasons.
This offseason, Torts committed to working hard with his team to build a winning group. He had mellowed from his previous stops, no longer a subject of outbursts in the media, but his fire and desire to win was still there. He helped the Blue Jackets come out of the gate strong, navigate a 16 game winning streak, and saw the club first in the league at the New Year.
Torts oversaw one of the most drastic turnarounds in NHL history that didn't involve adding a superstar. He led the team to 108 points, 50 wins, and that aforementioned winning streak, all franchise records.
Torts thanked his family "for going through crap" while he works with the team. He took a dig at the media saying he "wouldn’t be up here if it was the media." He also took time to thank the front office and his assistant coaches for their support. He also mentioned how fortunate he was to coach the guys here.
Torts is rumored to be working on an extension with the team, and his views and work ethic seem to have meshed with the team here in Columbus. He appears to be here to stay. On a team with so much youth, his value cannot be overstated.
Congratulations on an excellent season, Torts!