- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

CALGARY, Alberta — Tampa Bay’s John Tortorella and Calgary’s Darryl Sutter are the first finalists for the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL’s top coach, to meet in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1989. That’s when Calgary’s Terry Crisp defeated Montreal’s Pat Burns.

Calgary’s Jarome Iginla and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis are the first finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league MVP, to tangle in the finals since Edmonton’s Mark Messier and Boston’s Ray Bourque in 1990, a series won by the Oilers.

Tortorella or Sutter will become the 14th coach of the post-expansion era (the last 37 seasons) to win the Cup on his first trip to the finals.

USA, USA

Tortorella is trying to join late Hall of Famer Bob Johnson as the only American coaches to win the Cup. Johnson guided Pittsburgh to the title in 1991 before succumbing to cancer that fall. The last American coach to reach the finals before Tortorella was Washington’s Ron Wilson in 1998. The only Americans who have played in these finals are Tampa Bay’s Ben Clymer and Calgary’s Chris Clark, Craig Conroy and Jordan Leopold. Lightning backup goalie John Grahame also is American.

Lost amid the fuss over the Flames being the first Canadian team in the finals in a decade and trying to be the first to win the Cup in 11 years is that before that downturn, Lord Stanley’s prize had near-permanent residency north of the border. The only American team to win the Cup from 1984 to 1993 was Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992. In the 50 years from 1944 to 1993, Canadian teams won 35 times, including 21 of 26 from 1944 to 1969.

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