One-thousand games from Scotty to Lindy

(WECK 1230) — When Scotty Bowman was relieved of his duties as Sabres general manager on Dec. 22, 1986, the team was in absolute turmoil. Gone was Bowman without a real sniff of the Cup despite doing well in St. Louis and Montreal beforehand. Team legend Gilbert Perreault scored nine goals in his first 14 games only to retire with the team off to a horrid start. The young team was struggling and one of the last decisions made on Bowman’s watch was Perreault’s successor as captain:

Lindy Ruff.

Barring something horrific, Ruff will coach his 1,000th game this evening. He’ll be just the 11th coach to do so in NHL history. Where does he stack up with the other 10? I’m going to guess far better than many critics would guess, but you be the judge.

1. Scotty Bowman (2,146 games, 1,248 wins, 574 losses, 314 ties, 10 OT losses)

– St. Louis (67-71), Montreal (71-79), Buffalo (79-80, 81-87), Pittsburgh (91-93), Detroit (93-02)

– Nine Cup wins, 13 Cup Finals, 16 conference finals,  playoffs in 28/30 seasons

2. Al Arbour (1,607 games, 782 wins, 577 losses, 248 ties)
- St. Louis (70-73), NY Islanders (73-94, one game in 07-08)
- Four Cup wins, Five Cup appearances, 10 conference Finals, playoffs  in 16/23 seasons

3. Dick Irvin, Sr. (1,449 games, 692 wins, 527 losses, 230 ties)
- Chicago (28-31), Toronto (31-40), Montreal (40-55), Chicago (55-56)
- Four Cup wins, 16 Cup Finals, playoffs in 24/27 seasons

4. Pat Quinn  (1,400 games, 684 wins, 528 losses, 154 ties, 34 overtime losses)
- Philadelphia (78-82), L.A. (84-87), Vancouver (90-96), Toronto (98-06)
- Two Cup Finals, four conference finals, playoffs in 14/19 seasons

5. Mike Keenan (1,386 games, 672 wins, 531 losses, 147 ties, 36 overtime losses)
- Chicago (88-92), NYR (93-94), St.Louis (94-97), Vancouver (97-99), Boston (00-01), Florida (01-04), Calgary (07-09)
- One Cup win, Four Cup finals, Six conference finals, playoffs in 13/20 seasons

6. Ron Wilson* (1,269 games, 587 wins, 505 losses, 101 ties, 76 overtime losses)
- Anaheim (93-97), Washington (97-02), San Jose (02-08), Toronto (08-present)
- One Cup finals, Two conference finals, playoffs in 8/16 seasons

7. Bryan Murray (1,239 games, 620 wins, 465 losses, 131 ties, 23 overtime losses)
- Washington (81-90), Detroit (90-93), Florida (97-98), Anaheim (01-02), Ottawa (05-08)
- One Cup Finals, One conference final, playoffs in 14/17 seasons

8. Jacques Lemaire (1,213 games, 588 wins, 441 losses, 124 ties, 60 overtime losses)
- Montreal (83-85), New Jersey (93-98), Minnesota (00-09), New Jersey (09-10)
- One Cup win, One Cup Finals, four conference finals, playoffs in 10/16 seasons

9. Jacques Martin* (1,195 games, 565 wins, 444 losses, 119 ties, 67 overtime losses)
- St. Louis (86-88), Ottawa (95-04), Florida (05-08), Montreal (09-present)
- Zero Cup Finals, two conference finals, playoffs in 11/15 seasons

10. Brian Sutter (1,028 games, 451 wins, 417 losses, 140 ties, 20 overtime losses)
- St. Louis (88-92), Boston (92-95), Calgary (97-00), Chicago (01-04)
- Zero Cup  or conference Finals, playoffs in 8/13 seasons

11. Roger Neilson (1,000 games, 460 wins, 381 losses, 159 ties)
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Toronto (77-79), Buffalo (80-81), Vancouver (81-84), Los Angeles (83-84), NY Rangers (89-93), Florida (93-95), Philadelphia (97-00), Ottawa (01-02)

12. Lindy Ruff* (999 games, 487 wins, 370 losses, 62 ties, 62 overtime losses)
- All with Buffalo (97-present)
- One Cup Finals, Four conference finals, playoffs in 7/12 seasons

Watch Ruff’s 1000th game with myself and Brad Riter LIVE from Dave and Buster’s for the UB Hoops tip-off show. Meet the players and coaches and hang out with me.

Email: nickonweck@gmail.com

3 Responses to One-thousand games from Scotty to Lindy

  1. Eric says:

    Puts it in perspective. He’s right in there.

  2. Olga Tennis says:

    Interesting that none of the 1000 win coaches stayed on a single team. The closest would be Arbour, who actually won stuff. While the hapless Sabres keep their coach and GM forever.

  3. Shaun says:

    There has actually been 18 coaches to reach 1000 games coached. Pat Burns, who recently passed away after a 3rd battle with cancer, coached 1019.