By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – Longtime Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had been closing in on this mark for a while, and Tuesday night it happened. Babcock got his 414th win and now has more than any other coach in the team’s illustrious history.
Scotty Bowman had 410 wins with the Red Wings, and Jack Adams was the previous leader with 413.
“The win tonight’s way more important than [breaking the record], but what I would say to you is these are things you think about in the summer, and I’m thrilled,” Babcock said after the game. “Number one is, in order to do it you’ve got to be there a long time … For me to be in my ninth year, 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 had plenty of accomplishments before breaking the wins record Tuesday. His career record with the Red Wings entering this season was 352-154-68. Babcock was the first coach in NHL history to lead his team to 50 or more wins in each of his first four seasons, and he won 400 games more quickly than all but two coaches ever. Babcock started with Detroit in the 2005-2006, and Sporting News and SI.com have named Babcock the Coach of the Decade.
Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose NHL-leading team the Red Wings defeated recently despite this season’s slew of injuries, said Babcock probably does not get the credit he deserves because Detroit has often had so much talent. This season, because of health issues, the veteran talent has not been there, yet the Red Wings have routinely toppled some of the strongest teams in the NHL and will still make the playoffs.
“I’m one of those guys that believes that he’s certainly deserving of being mentioned in the [category with] Jack Adams,” Julien told NHL.com. “We’ve seen [Babcock] here for many years with good teams, and we all know that when you have good teams sometimes you don’t get the recognition you should. Those good teams and those good players are just as hard to handle as the other scenarios, but he’s been overlooked because of that. Now he’s had a team where he’s had tons of challenges and he’s got them in a playoff spot.
“To me,” Julien added, “that’s a heck of a job from a coach.”