After leading his team to 51 wins and the Eastern Conference title in the regular season, Rangers coach John Tortorella was named as one of three Jack Adams finalists.
Tortorella joins St. Louis' Ken Hitchcock and Ottawa's Paul MacLean as fellow nominees for the award, given out each year to the league's best coach.
Heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the top-seeded Rangers expressed their support of the man that helped get them there with his fiery attitude and straight-forward coaching style.
"I think he deserves it," said forward Marian Gaborik. "When he became the coach, he gave us a system and everyone seems to be buying into it right now. He's very demanding -- he tries to squeeze the maximum out of his players -- and it has seemed to work. Especially this year."
Gritty center Brian Boyle said Tortorella can be "stern" in delivering his message, but is adept at communicating to each player their role on the team and what is expected.
"He's helped me a lot, obviously. He turned me into an NHL player," said Boyle. "Very deserving."
Veteran Mike Rupp said Tortorella reminds him of former Devils coach Pat Burns. Both coaches know how to handle the high's and low's of a season and treat the players accordingly. That has helped establish a high standard of play for a grinding, physical Rangers squad that has overachieved already this season.
"That's a good read by a coach," Rupp said of Tortorella's ability to manage the team's psyche throughout the course of the season. "Our team never gets complacent, and that's important."
This is Tortorella's third Jack Adams nomination. He finished second in voting in 2003 and won the following year in 2004, when his Tampa Bay Lightning team won a Stanley Cup Championship. The winner, as voted by the NHL Broadcasters' Association, will be announced at the NHL Awards show this June.