BUFFALO, N.Y. – Not only did Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center pull the Red Wings closer to qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, it also marked a coaching milestone in franchise history.
The win gave Mike Babcock win No. 414 to leapfrog legendary coach Jack Adams, who earned his last regular-season coaching victory in a 20-season career more than 67 years ago.
“The win (Tuesday) is way more important than that but I would say to you these are things you think about in the summer and I’m thrilled,” Babcock said. “No. 1, in order to do it you got to be there a long time. Jack Adams was there a long, long time.”
In his ninth season in Detroit, Babcock has compiled a 414-197-90 record with the Red Wings, who are trying to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for a 23rd consecutive time.
While the coaching mark is big, passing his mentor, Scotty Bowman, who guided the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup titles – and holds the league’s all-time coaching wins record – was much more meaningful. Last week, the Wings' 3-2 win over Tampa Bay lifted Babcock passed Bowman, who compiled a 410-195-88-10 record during his nine-season coaching tenure in Detroit.
“Tying Scotty Bowman was something just because I know Scotty was there 10 years and for me to be in my ninth year,” Babcock said. “What it tells me is that my kids got to go to high school in the same town and that doesn’t happen for an NHL head coach very often, so I’m thankful.”
Babcock began his NHL coaching career in Anaheim in 2002. That season he led the Mighty Ducks to the Stanley Cup finals where they lost to the New Jersey Devils in a seven-game series.
Babcock’s 483-career wins ranks sixth among active NHL coaches.
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