Several of those names are Flyers. Barber joins Fred Shero (1973-74), Pat Quinn (1979-80) and Mike Keenan (1984-85) as winners of the Adams Award, voted by league broadcasters.
"This trophy might have a bite on it in the future, but I am very honored to be selected," said Barber, who worked 29 years as a player, scout and assistant coach before finally getting an NHL head coaching job with the Flyers this past season. He led the AHL's Phantoms to the Calder Cup championship in the 1997-98 season.
"I just kind of hit a point in my life that I needed a change," he said of moving from scouting to coaching back in the mid-1990s. "I just kind of got hooked [on coaching]."
Barber lauded Shero and Quinn last night as two coaches who molded him as a player.
"Fred Shero gave me the opportunity to play," Barber said. "I was young and raw. He complemented what I needed to get done. I'll never forget that and it is always still in my mind."
Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur were runners-up to Buffalo's Dominik Hasek for the Vezina Trophy, given annually by the league's general managers to the top goalie.
Barber, succeeding Craig Ramsay on Dec. 10, took a struggling club and turned the season around with an aggressive forechecking style that saw the Flyers finish with 100 points and the fourth overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit's Scotty Bowman and Ottawa's Jacques Martin were the other finalists for coach of the year.
Barber's acceptance speech was rather long, as he thanked a litany of people.
When he was done, Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean, who hosted the event, quipped, "And to think that the Flyers only got 70 pep talks. It just seemed like 82."
Joe Sakic of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche won three awards - the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the most gentlemanly player from the members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the outstanding player from the NHL Players' Association.
The other awards, voted by the hockey writers, went to:
James Norris Memorial Trophy (top defenseman) - Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit.
Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie) Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose.
Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) John Madden, New Jersey.
King Clancy Trophy (humanitarian contribution to hockey) Shjon Podein, Colorado.
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) Adam Graves, N.Y. Rangers.
Stars. Dallas will not exercise a $7 million option for forward Brett Hull next season.
Hall of Fame. Mike Gartner, ranked fifth in career scoring with 708 goals, Jari Kurri, Dale Hawerchuk (who ended his career with the Flyers in the '95-96 and '96-97 seasons) and Russian great Vyacheslav Fetisov were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, as was Pittsburgh general manager Craig Patrick, the architect of the Penguins' two Stanley Cup teams.
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.
Tim Panaccio's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.