No Trophy for Carbo
Habs coach beaten out for Jack Adams Award by Capitals bench boss Boudreau

By Pat Hickey, Montreal Gazette, 6/13/08, excerpted

MONTREAL - Guy Carbonneau said it's "fun and exciting" to be one of the finalists for the Jack Adams Award, which goes to the coach of the year in the National Hockey League.

But Carbonneau, who finished second to Washington's Bruce Boudreau in the balloting conducted by NHL broadcasters, said it's different from the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which he won three times as a player.

"Being a finalist (for the Adams) is recognition that you're doing something right, but the Selke is different because it's something I worked for years to be in a position to win it," said Carbonneau, who won the Selke as the NHL's best defensive forward in 1988, 1989 and 1992, and was runner-up on two other occasions.

"I was told that I had to work on my defence and I did," Carbonneau added. "I had some control over it. I've only been coaching for two seasons."

Carbonneau was recognized for his role in the Canadiens' turnaround during the past season.

After missing the playoffs in 2007, many pundits picked the Canadiens to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. But the Canadiens finished first overall in the conference before losing to Philadelphia in the second round of the playoffs.

Carbonneau said the Canadiens surprised many people, but he wasn't among them.

"I thought we should have made the playoffs last season, but we had some injuries," Carbonneau said. "We made some changes in the offseason and I said we were good enough to make the playoffs and we did."

Part of the Canadiens' success can be attributed to Carbonneau's growth in his second full season as the Canadiens' head coach.

"I think I was better prepared to deal with situations," Carbonneau said. "In my first season, I wasn't sure how players would react to certain situations. This year, I had a much better idea. And I think I was a better bench coach. I was calmer."

While Carbonneau played in a different era, he said he had no problem dealing with the players of today.

"Times change," he said. "My father treated me differently than the way I treat my kids. It's the same with players."

Carbonneau played 19 seasons in the NHL and there was an expectation that he would make a seamless transition to coaching.

But Carbonneau's first job after he retired in 2000 was evaluating the Canadiens' young talent. He spent part of two seasons as an assistant coach in Montreal and then took a front-office post in Dallas.

"Coaching was always in the back of my mind," he said. "I knew that I wanted to stay in hockey in some capacity because that's what I know best. From the time I left home at 16, hockey has been my life."

He signed on as an assistant to Bob Gainey with the understanding he would become the head coach for the 2006-07 season.

"The timing was right and the big factor in my decision was the chance to work with Bob Gainey," Carbonneau said. "I had played in Montreal, I had a house in Montreal, I was very comfortable here."