The Detroit Red Wings have a long history since entering the NHL in 1926. Great players have come through and made an impact. 11 Stanley Cups prove that and head coaches are as big of a reason for that as the players.
When it comes to the team’s success, who gets the credit? The players or the head coach? The head coach has to bring several personalities together to try and win the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings have had 28 head coaches lead them to success but who is the best of that crop?
Scotty Bowman, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, became a household name during his time with the Montreal Canadians, winning five Stanley Cups (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979) over an 8-year coaching stint.
It was then that people became aware of how good of a coach he was. However, after falling out with ownership, he stepped down after the 1978-79 season.
Scotty Bowman is the greatest coach in Detroit Red Wings history.
After stops with the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, he found a second home with the Detroit Red Wings. He instantly became “the guy” and the Red Wings became serious contenders almost immediately.
Bowman changed the perception that the Detroit Red Wings had of being an average team and led them to success through his teachings and knowledge. While some of his tactics could be questioned, one cannot question the success he had in Detroit.
He was behind the bench for nine seasons and compiled a record of 410-193-88 for 918 points. His overall winning percentage was .655 % and the lowest that Detroit was in the standings under his leadership was second place.
In the playoffs with Detroit, he had a record of 86-48 for a .642 winning %. He won three Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, and 2002 while in the Detroit organization.
Bowman would win his second Jack Adams award, and only one with Detroit, during the 1995-96 season after the Red Wings went 62-13-7 for a winning % of .799%.
Bowman became head coach of the Red Wings in June 1993 and coached some all-stars and Hall of Famers along the way. Some of those players included Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Chris Osgood, Igor Larionov, Chris Chelios, Sergei Fedorov, and Brett Hull.
His practices, which some frowned upon, included playing mind games with line changes and telling players they would be traded if they did not perform to motivate them.
Bowman was an intense coach in every sense of the word but, like every coach, wanted excellence and got that from the teams he was behind the bench for.
Bowman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1991 and into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. After retirement, he would work again with the Detroit Red Wings as a consultant from 2002-03 until 2007-08.
He was a coach who got the most out of his players and it showed with success. He would retire from coaching with a record of 1,244-573-314 for a winning % of .581. Those 1,244 wins are the most all-time by an NHL head coach.