Top 10 Greatest NHL Coaches
Great players weren’t always born great players and teams aren’t great on their own either. They need nurturing and they need to learn, and usually the pivotal factor in their healthy development is the coach. Let’s see who some of the greatest teams in history had as chief in command.
10. Jaques Martin
He coached the Ottawa Senators from 1996 to 2004 bringing an expansion team with plenty of struggles to 3 division titles and 1 presidents trophy. He also won the Jack Adams award in 1999. In 2002, Jaques Martin made one of the classiest moves you’ll ever see, stepping aside in the last 2 games of the season so that assistant coach Roger Nielson could coach his 999th and 1000th game, becoming just the 9th coach in NHL history to reach that mark.
9. Glen Sather
Glen Sather was the Edmonton Oilers coach during their run of 4 Stanley Cups in 5 years from 1983-84 to 1987-88. Sather also won the Jack Adams once in 1985-86, the year Edmonton didn’t win the cup.
8. Billy Reay
Billy Reay coached the Chicago Blackhawks for 13 straight years! Although he did not win a cup in that stint he did reach the finals three times.
7. Pat Quinn
He has coached 4 teams for over 1300 games and 650+ wins. He’s also won the Jack Adams twice, in 1980 with the Flyers and 1992 with the Canucks.
6. Pat Burns
The only coach to win 3 Jack Adams awards, and all with different teams: one with Montreal in 1989, one with Toronto in 1993 and one with Boston in 1998. Pat also won a cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He’s posted 1000+ games and 500+ wins in his career. Sadly after surviving colon cancer and liver cancer, Burns has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
5. Mike Keenan
“Iron Mike” has coached 8 teams and led one New York Rangers team to the cup in 1994. They say his tough attitude towards players have earned him his nickname, but hey have also gotten him fired a few times, again he coach 8 teams. He did however win a Jack Adams award with the Flyers in 1984-85.
4. Al Arbour
He coached over 1600 games in his career but 1500 games for one team, the New York Islanders. He led them to 4 straight cup winning teams and over 700 wins.
3. Dick Irvin Sr.
He coached for 27 seasons, won 4 stanley cups (with a record 12 finals appearances) and obtained nearly 700 wins in the regular season. He coached a young Maurice Richard and saw him win 3 (of Irvin’s 4) stanley cups.
2. Toe Blake
His predecessor was Dick Irvin sr., so he had some big shoes to fill, but did he ever fill them right. In his 13 years of coaching the Montreal Canadiens he won 8 stanley cups, including 5 in a row, a record that still stands today. This may have been the only true dynasty the NHL has ever seen, or at least the most dominant.
1. Scotty Bowman
“Scotty” is the leader in games coached with 2146, games won with 1244, games won in the playoffs with 223. He won 5 cups with Montreal (4 in a row), he won a cup with Pittsburgh, and 3 more with Detroit, totaling 9. He’s also won 2 Jack Adams trophies, one with Montreal in 1976-77 and one in 1995-96 with Detroit.